As loyal Popdust readers know, we are based in New York. As "Empire State of Mind" listeners know, Jay-Z is also based in New York, Kanye West probably stops by sometimes, and both have proven with Watch the Throne that they're not averse to spending large amounts of money on things. A pop-up store materializing in SoHo (201 Mulberry St.) to sell physical copies of the album? Of course we're there.
The Watch the Throne artwork covers all the front windows, making it seem like you're inside some large couture cube, and the album artwork's projected on the walls, and the Maybach from the "Otis" video is on display as advertised, prompting at least one astonished yelp from the trickling crowd. (Another attendee, Ricardo Aquino, on its place in the video: "I thought it was a shot at Rick Ross with the Maybach, but then they turned it into some death machine!")
Otherwise, the place is pretty bare and looks about like this. Observe, then read on for the rundown:
Days The Store Is Open: Three: today from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 to 6 p.m.
Items Available For Purchase: One: the Watch the Throne physical CD. That's it. In its defense, the album cover looks much better in person than on the Internet. Technically, you could participate in the auction for the Maybach, but Kanye West's running that--as far as we and the staffers I spoke to know, it's not taking place in the store. Rolling Stone suggests it's worth about $350K.
Number Of Large Crates Of Glasses Wheeled Into The Back During Our Visit: About a dozen or so, most of them for a private afterparty that Jay-Z may or may not be at (general consensus seemed to be "if he shows up....")
Ratio To Which Jay-Z Fans Outnumbered Kanye West Fans: 3:2. Kanye did outnumber Jay-Z in obvious fans, if you count the guy in the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy shirt.
Number of Times We Heard "Otis": 40-ish in the store--the video was on loop forever in the back until they switched to a stream of the album--then once while coming back. It's safe to say that when you read this, "Otis" will still be stuck in our head. Thanks, guys. Keep up the promotional saturation.