Welcome to the Jungle (Jay-Z and Kanye West song)

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"Welcome to the Jungle"
Song by Jay-Z & Kanye West
from the album Watch the Throne
ReleasedAugust 8, 2011
GenreHip hop
Producer(s)Swizz Beatz

"Welcome to the Jungle" is a song by American hip hop recording artists Kanye West and Jay-Z, from their collaborative album Watch the Throne (2011). Additional vocals are provided by Swizz Beatz and Acapella Soul, and Swizz Beatz also produced the song. It plays an interlude afterwards that samples "Tristessa" by Orchestra Njervudarov. The song was praised by music critics, with Jay-Z usually pointed out as the main star. Rolling Stone listed it as the 20th best song of 2011.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The interlude that plays after the song as part of the same track contains a sample of "Tristessa" by Orchestra Njervudarov, which is also sampled after "No Church in the Wild" and "New Day", as well as before "Illest Motherfucker Alive".[1] Despite it sharing the title of famous Guns N' Roses single "Welcome to the Jungle", the song does not sample it or have a similar sound, but Jay-Z describes himself as "black Axl Rose" in reference to one of the band's members.[2] At one point, he references the death of Michael Jackson with the line: "Rest in peace to the leader of the Jackson 5".[3] The majority of the rapping throughout the song is contributed by Jay-Z.[2] In the track's introduction, West references a line from "Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 1)" by Outkast.[4]


The track's producer Swizz Beatz, who also provided additional vocals on the song, described working with West and Jay-Z on the album songs "Welcome to the Jungle", "Who Gon Stop Me" and "Murder to Excellence" as "like being in the studio with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson at the same time".[5]

Critical reception[edit]

"Welcome to the Jungle" was met with acclaim from music critics and Jay-Z's verses were cited as the highlight by many of them. Erika Ramirez of Billboard described the track as being where West and Jay-Z both "shed light to the darkness of their lifestyle".[6] Jay-Z's rapping on it was viewed as the highlight by Tom Breihan of Pitchfork, since he pointed out that "On "Welcome to the Jungle", Jay, never a tortured pop star, actually says, "I'm fuckin' depressed."" as being an example of when "[him] and Kanye address matters beyond their bank accounts" on the album.[7] His presence was viewed as the highlight by Brian Josephs of Complex too, since when comparing Jay-Z's rapping to Swizz Beatz' production, he described Jay-Z as being "who the song mostly belongs to".[8] Popdust wrote that "Jay kills it on his two lengthy [verses]", but pointed out Swizz Beatz' usage of the line "Goddammit" as being the track's "most quotable line", though the line was described as "hardly groundbreaking" by the site and Jay-Z was pointed out as undeniably being the best performer.[9]

The song was listed at number 20, out of 50, on Rolling Stone's best of 2011 list.[10]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Welcome to the Jungle" spent a total of three weeks on the US Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and peaked at number 4.[11]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Produced by Swizz Beatz
  • Recorded by Noah Goldstein at Tribeca Grand Hotel, NYC and at (The Mercer) Hotel, New York and Ken Lewis and Brent Kolato at (The Mercer) Hotel, New York
  • Mixed by Mike Dean at (The Mercer) Hotel, New York
  • Keys: Mike Dean
  • Instruments by Ken Lewis
  • Additional vocals: Swizz Beatz, Acapella Soul


Chart (2011) Peak
US Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles (Billboard)[12] 4


  1. ^ Watch the Throne (PDF digital booklet). Jay-Z and Kanye West. Universal Music Group. 2011.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b Perpetua, Matthew (August 9, 2011). "Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'Watch the Throne': A Track-by-Track Breakdown". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Halperin, Shirley (August 11, 2011). "Kanye West and Jay-Z Presented with Giant 'Watch the Throne' Platinum Plaques (Exclusive Photo)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Soderberg, Brandon (August 23, 2011). "Track by Track: 'Watch the Throne' Pt. 2". SPIN. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  5. ^ Horowitz, Steven (August 17, 2011). "Swizz Beatz Speaks On Contributions To Jay-Z & Kanye West's "Watch The Throne"". HipHopDX. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  6. ^ Ramirez, Erika (August 8, 2011). "Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne': Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (August 11, 2011). "JAY-Z / Kanye West: Watch the Throne Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Josephs, Brian (August 8, 2018). "Every Track on 'Watch the Throne,' ranked". Complex. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  9. ^ "Jay-Z And Kanye West's "Watch The Throne" Reviewed: "Welcome To The Jungle"". Popdust. August 8, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "50 Best Singles of 2011". Rolling Stone. December 7, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Jay-Z Welcome To The Jungle Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 10, 2018.

External links[edit]