Royalty will be served this weekend in Atlantic City, when hip hop's reigning monarchs - Jay-Z and Kanye West - bring their lavish show to town.
The twosome, who are touring behind their hit album, "Watch The Throne" (Roc-A-Fella), will make a stop on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Boardwalk Hall.
Even in the realm of superstar pairings, the combination of Jay-Z and West is pretty unique.
The former is the most popular solo artist ever, with more No. 1 albums than Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley. The latter is a critical favorite who is not afraid to court controversy with his raps and public appearances - remember when he stole the spotlight from Taylor Swift a few years back at "MTV's Video Music Awards"?
Happily, critics say, their appearance is more about the music than the hype.
"For more than two hours, the pair played tug of war with their biggest hits, matching the concert's visual brio beat for beat, rhyme for rhyme," writes Chris Richards in The Washington Post about their Nov. 3 performance at Verizon Center in the nation's capital. "At one point West shouted, 'I want you to remember this night for the rest of your lives!' Done."
Given the competitive nature of hip-hop, the apparent warmth between them is as surprising as it is seemingly genuine, writes Newsday's Glenn Gamboa.
"Their collaboration is even more remarkable because it comes in hip-hop, an artform that has battling built into it and a business that has used beefing between rappers as a marketing strategy," Gamboa writes. "However, their friendship and mutual respect has apparently made this unlikely union possible."
Jay-Z, in a documentary about the making of "Watch The Throne," describes West in brotherly terms.
"I've seen him from the beginning to where he is now," he says. "To see how he's grown as a producer and an artist, for me on another level, is enjoyable. I'm watching a guy I pretty much minted become his own guy with his own opinion. It's fantastic."
West, during one of the recording sessions, seemed to marvel that they were sharing the same creative space.
"Sitting in here in the studio two hours out of London, it's really setting in on me that I'm actually doing a rap album with Jay-Z," he tweets. "I was in the audience at Hard Knock Life Tour!!!!!!!"
Those attending their current show can expect an elaborate stage set complete with giant video cubes, lasers and other special effects - but never enough to diminish their star wattage.
"Somehow, all that visual razzle-dazzle never curdled, setting this tour high above the stage-cluttering spectacles that Lady Gaga, Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas and even Taylor Swift have made the industry standard," Richards writes. "Instead of tickling retinas for the sake of it, this concert's imagery consistently fed the mood and message of the music.
Whether performing tracks from "Watch the Throne" or their deep catalogues, these rap kings are relentless in the push to please their court.
"Taking turns, each rapper performed their songs in batches of two or three or four," Richards writes. "There were no momentum-sucking interludes, no insufferable costume changes, no bathroom breaks or any of that nonsense. Just 37 songs back to back to back. Fans never had a chance to sit down."
Watch the Throne
WHO: Jay-Z and Kanye West
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday,
WHERE: Boardwalk Hall,
HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $59.50, $109.50, $149.50 and $250, are available at the Boardwalk Hall box office or