One Thread Only: "One Song Only" Podcast Discussion


Touch the Sky vs. The New Workout Plan


Champion vs. Otis

As with most Graduation wins, it’s mostly because it’s pleasant and glitzy. The pace of this song has always gotten me amped. Also, there are only 3 Watch the Throne songs I like, and this isn’t one of them.

Spaceship vs. Ultralight Beam

I mean, if one Pablo song has to get past first round for me, it might as well be this one (note: Slow Jamz was capital-R Robbed). Chance might be the only rapper to make “gosh darn” work.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) vs. Dark Fantasy

Has anyone else pointed out that Dark Fantasy sounds like it’s going to end like 4 times before it actually does? It’s weird. Anyway, I’m a dirty Late Registration fan so this was probably easier than it should’ve been.


Also I’m 100% convinced that cdotharrison meant to put Gone but looked at the tracklist wrong and put Late instead. There’s no way. There’s No Way.


If there was a speedrunning community for songs, I feel like Art would be there. The constant discussions about song length are killing me its absolutely hilarious.


Oh my god, I am halfway through and we have only just started talking about the Diamonds.


It’s surprising then that Art doesn’t like professional rap speedrunner Twista :stuck_out_tongue:


Soooooo glad that one Pablo song has made it through.


Yeah listening now, Art “Not A Rap Purist” Tebbel is really building a brand here. I probably could have written out in advance what he was going to say about Ultralight Beam lol


The biggest takeaway from this whole series for me is Jay Z is an incredible rapper.


At the risk of sounding old, I totally agree with Art on song length, especially w/r/t rap. If your track is >5 minutes, there better be a good reason for it. Although that being said, I think ULB totally utilizes its length well.
This was a great episode, I loved the discussions about these songs and I’m excited for the inevitable bloodbaths in the next round.


Here’s the upcoming bracket, which is also the final bracket of Round 1 before we wrap back around to the top of the tournament for Round 2:


Heard 'Em Say vs I Wonder

Gorgeous vs Homecoming

Family Business vs Bound 2

N****s in Paris vs Late


Hey guys/girls/people, long time lurker in many forums but this will be my first reply to one…maybe ever? Hooray for internet socializing! Anyway I’m young enough that my Kanye taste/nostalgia mostly comes from the newer stuff so I can’t promise strong thoughts on anything earlier than My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I actually went through the bracket with some friends when it came out but I’ll jump in with the next match ups.

Heard 'Em Say vs I Wonder
No strong opinions here personally. I like I Wonder because I heard it first but that’s kinda all I got. Heard 'Em Say won in the friend bracket.

Gorgeous vs Homecoming
Oh dear lord sorry about the novel here. Gorgeous actually won my friend bracket entirely and it holds up incredibly to me. Love the production, love Cudi, love the old Kanye being able to talk about race a bit (“Jerome gets more time than Brandon”) and just having solid verses. But I have a lot of nostalgia for Homecoming. I’m a sucker for piano in a rap beat and wrote my last girlfriend a poem based on the first line and rhyme scheme (because we met when we were 3…terrible I know). But I have to give it to Gorgeous because it is just damn good. This was personally the hardest of the round 1 match ups for me.

Family Business vs Bound 2
Haven’t actually heard Family Business and I actually like Bound 2 so there ya go. But Family Business won in the friend bracket.

Ns in Paris vs Late
Going N
s in Paris for this one. Love the energy and the beat and Late was before my time. Everyone agreed during the friend bracket.

Sorry about this being so long. I’ll keep it shorter in the future now that introductions are out the way.


I’d really like to hear him define what a rap purist is because to me, complaining about song length and not enough rapping and also the lyric quality a lot checks all those boxes for me. Let me be clear, I’m not bothered by it, arts musical taste is his own, I just don’t know what he thinks a real rap purist is then.

Also, have they mentioned how gone should be in the bracket every single episode? It feels like it. (I completely agree by the way, and also if anyone is reading this on the cast, don’t take this as a dig/criticism, just a funny observation)

Heard 'Em Say vs I Wonder
Easy for me because I’ve never really cared about I wonder? It’s ok, I don’t hate it, just don’t really have a strong opinion.

Gorgeous vs Homecoming
Homecoming is great, and I’m from the Chicago area so I can kind of appreciate it, but Gorgeous’ verses are so good. I tire of the guitar riff over and over again but Kanye’s verses here are so strong. Great lines from Kanye RE: race (Jerome gets more time than Brandon/And at the airport they check all through my bag and tell me that it’s random, As long as I’m in Polo smiling, they think they got me/But they would try to crack me if they ever see a black me. and And what’s a black Beatle anyway, a fucking roach?/I guess that’s why they got me sitting in fucking coach)

Family Business vs Bound 2
Family Business is great. Love early “being real” Kanye. The beat is great, I love how punchy the drums are, especially in the car. Bound 2 is fine but I actually really really like Family Business, so it wins for me pretty easily.

N****s in Paris vs Late
Late is completely forgettable to me. I really like Late Registration and have heard Late dozens of times but had to go on genius and look at the lyrics to remember which song this was. Kanye just does everything that appears in this song better elsewhere imo. Paris is good, definitely suffers from being overplayed a bunch. It definitely isn’t as good as I remembered it being going back to it. The outro Kanye bit is still great though.


Whether or not a song feels to long or too short is entirely contextual to be honest, in any genre, whether the song justifies or not being as long or short as it is and stays entertaining, or interesting, or puts you in whatever place it’s trying to put you in for it’s length. Like, Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst is a fantastic 12 minute rap song that feels right at that length, and most of the tracks on Madvillainy are fantastic sub-2 minute rap songs which achieve what they need to achieve at that length. Don’t really know if being dogmatic about song length is even a rap purist thing as much as it is just being curmudgeonly to be honest.


Heard Em Say vs I Wonder - Heard Em Say is a nice, stylish song that overcomes the obstacle of having the Maroon 5 guy in it to actually be pretty good, I Wonder is a kinda nothing song, it’s not actively bad like some of the Graduation tracks but it adds to the feeling of the album being kinda grating to listen to despite having a plurality of individual songs that are legit great.

Gorgeous vs Homecoming - I don’t mind Homecoming, it’s pleasant and like Heard Em Say generally succeeds even with having the Coldplay guy on the hook (I’ve been known to like at least one Coldplay album, though), but Gorgeous fuckin’ rules. Some of my favourite Kanye verses ever.

Family Business vs Bound 2 - Family Business is OK, one of the weaker ones of the 3 or 4 songs exactly like this from College Dropout and Late Registration though. I’m very partial to Yeezus generally though, Bound 2 is most of the things I appreciate about late Kanye, it’s messy, kinda unfinished feeling, sometimes very terrible, sometimes kinda sweet and romantic, and contains the line ‘start a fight club, Brad reputation’ which fucking sucks and I love it. Into it.

N****s in Paris vs Late - Late is also a complete nothing song, agree with the theory that the guy who made the bracket meant to put Gone here but forgot which was which. Paris is one of the better WTT songs, again it’s so ubiquitous that it’s difficult to even think about but I still like it.


One of my favorite eps of the podcast so far! I was pretty OK with them flying through the first few match-ups, maybe because I agreed with them on all 3. I went with Dark Fantasy for the last match-up, but the long discussion around Diamonds made me reconsider a bit. It’s one of those songs that I know I’ve heard so many times, but the dive into the comparison made me think about it in a little fresher light. For what it’s worth, I also had the Remix in mind when doing my own bracket.

Next week’s match-ups are…a little odd for me.

Heard Em Say vs. I Wonder
Oh my goodness is I Wonder a bad bad bad bad song. No, thank you, I will absolutely take the Maroon Five guy. Which, to be fair, is a great song! One of the few times that Kanye has unabashedly swung for the pop fences and I’ve come away enjoying it. Especially considering…

Gorgeous vs. Homecoming
…really, Kanye? I gave you making a great track with Maroon Five guy, so you just like, run it back, but way worse? Homecoming and I Wonder are what I think of when I think of Graduation being a mostly garbage album. Drivel. Gorgeous, a song I’m fine with, takes it easily. This is actually one where I’d side with Art if he calls it too long. It just repeats too many times and I don’t find Kanye’s verses that memorable or Cudi’s hook that catchy. Not going to turn my nose at a Raekwon verse on a Kanye track, though, however brief.

Family Business vs. Bound 2
FB is another one where I’m like, huh? I could not for the life of me remember anything about this song. And listening to it again, yeah, I don’t find much worth remembering. Bound 2, meanwhile, is strong as hell. Amazing production. It’s got some really rough Kanye lines but also some all-timer quotables (no one should enter a mall without thinking “Rock Forever 21 but just turned thir-tay”). Hoping it gets through to give a little more weight to Yeezus in the next round.

N****s in Paris vs. Late
Ok, full confession time. This might’ve been the hardest matchup for me of the entire bracket. NiP is such a strong banger, overplayed or not, and to me is such an important step production-wise for Kanye as it leads right into the harsher palate he was going to work with for Yeezus. But…but Late. Oh, Late. I think I’ve listened to Late more than any other Kanye track except maybe Gone (which, yes, keep preaching, it should’ve been on here). I absolutely adore Late. I think it has the best string production on an album that’s chockablock with great string production, a fantastic sample flip, and Kanye in peak Late Registration form lyrically—boastful but with a chip on his shoulder, silly lines that make your groan but smile.
It’s totally illogical, but I am completely unreasonable about Late. Then, once I moved Late on to the next round after taking down a juggernaut like NiP, I knew Late was winning my entire bracket. I had about 3 or 4 other outcomes mapped out, but where my brain told me Flashing Lights or Runaway or Otis were more sensible choices to survive to the end, Late was my darling. I know it stands absolutely no chance of moving on in the show, but I hope it at least gets some kind words as it gets shown out the door. I mean, hey, Tyler the Creator called Late was his favorite Kanye track once, so that’s a damn good cosign if you ask me.


I’m still in the midst of listening but the surprise shade thrown at CritRole in the beginning there caught me so off guard I choked on my drink. Oh thank god I am not alone in this world. :joy:

Also “New Workout Plan” was maybe one of like two songs I eventually hit skip on when first listening to the bracket so thank you for so fittingly eulogizing it.


I was driving when I heard it, and I literally stepped on the brake pedal when Art said it.


This hurts me so much! Family Business Kanye is the Kanye I want most in this world. I’ll take family-man rap all day, any day!

Part of the appeal is how this song stirs up so many childhood memories: family barbecues, Easter Sundays, hugs and kisses from grandma, catching up (and fighting) with cousins, avoiding that aunt/uncle who asks too many questions and tires too hard to be funny, feeling too cool to hang around family but being drawn back because they’re well-meaning and supportive, etc.

Also, Family Business really epitomizes Kanye’s ability to sample a song and elevate it.


I don’t remember who said it early on in OSO but that remark about “Who told Kanye he was allowed to say d*ke and does he even know what it means,” but it comes up again in “Late” and like… yo Kanye whoever said you had permission to say it was wrong, mostly in part because dude you don’t know what it means.

Also “Gorgeous” is the better song but man I actually… really like “Homecoming,” including the hook.

  • Heard 'Em Say vs I Wonder
    • I feel pretty mixed about this one. I lean towards I Wonder because I do just like some of the lyrics more (Do you even remember what the issue is?/You’re just trying to find where the tissue is) because I think about some of them a lot in my brain. I can totally see Heard 'Em Say taking this because I Wonder is kind of a nothing track and it’s so baggy.
  • Gorgeous vs Homecoming
    • I just think it’s more fun to listen to. Homecoming is a bop but I do just enjoy listening to Gorgeous.
  • Family Business vs Bound 2
    • I’m not sure if I really like Bound 2! The beat is neat but I don’t really have much else to say apart from that. Family Business is an immensely depressing listen in the current era of Kanye but it makes me feel more than Bound 2 does.
  • N****s in Paris vs Late
    • Late kinda feels like a second I Wonder except the lyrics don’t stick with me as well here. The first song is the only Watch the Throne on Spotify (!). Even though I feel like it does contain some of the elements that frustrate me about present-Kanye (the very short “it’s provocative!” break in the song sticks out real bad now), it is just a more engaging song for me, personally.

Lots to dig into here – it’s pretty straight for me, but I can definitely see some good discussion here.


Regarding Kanye and d*ke, if the only thing he can think to rhyme it with is Klondike, maybe retire the word after you did that joke the first time? Because it’s not even an especially clever joke.