Album Review: Catch the Throne – The Mixtape

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This is not an illusion brought on by some sort spell cast by Melisandre. No, HBO actually commissioned a hip-hop mixtape in anticipation of Game of Throne’s fourth season.

In the broad scheme of things, this mixtape has no real impact on the hip hop world or even the show itself. It’s purely a gimmick, meant to raise a few eyebrows and garner even more attention for the the show’s already highly anticipated return. Actually, it might be impossible to get GoT fans anymore excited for the return of the heroes and villains of the Seven Kingdoms.

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Yet, despite it’s gimmicky feel and superfluous existence, Catch the Throne is actually a really fun mixtape. It lacks the cheese factor a record like this could easily have. There’s no silliness — no guest spots from Peter Dinklage, no remixed dragon roars or extended overdubbing of the word “Hodor” over a sick beat. This is straight-up hip hop, lyrically influenced by the popular show.

The best cut is “Arya’s Prayer” by freestyle lyricist Dominik Omega. The track probably does the best job of being both about the show and a good, standalone hip hop song. ‘Arya’s Prayer’ is a complete re-telling of Arya Stark’s entire journey throughout the first three season of GoT. The track is produced and executed in a way that it becomes more of a hip-hop epic poem, perfect for a show set in the days where oral tradition and epic poems documented tales such as that of the youngest Stark daughter.

While no other track achieves the same synergy as “Arya’s Prayer” the majority are still strong and enjoyable. To no surprise, Big Boi and Common, the two biggest names on the tape, produce two of the best cuts — “Mother of Dragons” and “The Ladder” respectively. Yet, at the end of the day, sadly, none of these songs are going to stick with you.

Catch the Throne isn’t going to rock your world if you’re a hip-hop fan, you might not even add any of these tracks to your playlists, but it’s still a fun listen. Fans of the show, even if you casually dig hip hop, you’ll probably get a kick out of the mixtape.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites