Robert Lopuski “got the call” from Kanye West and Jay-Z to shoot behind-the-scenes footage of the pair as they recorded “Watch the Throne” over 2010 and 2011. The result is an 11-minute “documentary” of the “making-of.”
“I had to drop everything to fly out to Sydney. I didn’t have any equipment with me. So I asked Kanye’s team if it was cool to put in a rental order– like, could you guys get some stuff down there for me? I wrote up a list: I need a camera, a mic, a stand, the simple abc’s, and they said don’t worry, we got it,” Lopuski told Paradigm. “A few days later, I show up and none of it is there. So I went on a crazy four-hour tear around Sydney, finding whatever pieces of equipment I could get my hands on.”
Yeah. And it kinda shows. The result is very low-lit, and it’s got bad sound, and very little is revealed about the actual “creative process” of the “Throne.” There’s a good scene of Jay-Z running over his rhymes for “Why I Love You,” and I’ll never fight a scene of Beyonce in jeans walking slowly around a lawn looking out the sea. But otherwise, it’s a pretty restricted “look” at two of hip-hops biggest names ever.
I would say to the handlers that there were certain things that I needed to do: turn on lights, get slightly better access, possibly stage a better setup photographically.
They said ‘no, we can’t do that.’ Could I sit down? Could I put lavs on them? I know you guys are recording the album, but could I record their conversations? ‘No, you can’t do that.’ Can I set mics up in the room to record the room? ‘No.’ Do you think while I’m here, I can do sit-down interviews with them…maybe get something that I can at least use audio wise? ‘No. They don’t feel like doing interviews,’” Lopuski said. “The job was challenging professionally because you’re thrust immediately into the inner circle yet not allowed to capture the inner workings properly.”
Watching it is challenging too. Russell Crowe makes a cameo and drinks the Kings’ wine, because he’s mentioned in Kanye’s lyrics.
Lopuski knows this crew in part because he worked on visual effects for “Cadillac Records,” in which Beyonce starred.