"Game Of Thrones"’ third season solidified the fantasy drama status as HBO's second most-watched series of all time (next to "The Sopranos"). But to draw even more viewers in time for the April 6 premiere of the show’s fourth season, HBO has tapped 10 rappers for a hip-hop and reggaeton mixtape, "Catch The Throne," for original songs inspired by the series and its themes of battles and power struggles.
The free compilation will be available for download on March 11 via SoundCloud at SoundCloud.com/CatchTheThrone, and features a mix of established stars and up-and-comers including Wale, Common, Daddy Yankee, Big Boi and Bodega Bamz. Wale raps the compilation's theme song, "King Player," which Billboard premieres exclusively below:
The other participating rappers composed tracks inspired by specific episodes from the show – Big Boi, Bodega Bamz and Magazeen for Season 1; Kilo Kish, Daddy Yankee and Dominik Omega for Season 2; and Common, Snow Tha Product and Dee Goodz for Season 3. Creative agency Global Hue helped HBO compile and execute the album, which will be marketed via media buys on Vibe, Complex, AllHipHop and World Star Hip-Hop, among others, and a planned HBO on-air vignette chronicling the making of the mixtape.
Lucinda Martinez, HBO’s senior VP of cultural marketing, says the network reached out to stated fans of "Game of Thrones" to help create a musical tune-in incentive for millennials who might be casual fans or as-yet-uninitiated to the GoT cult. "We wanted to drop it a month in advance because people tend to binge-watch – especially now that winter is here," says Martinez. "And the idea of having a bunch of artists create songs in different style with different interpretations of what 'Game of Thrones' is to them as artists could be an interesting way to get people engaged to watch it."
Some artists nerded out more than others – Common makes several allusions to Season 3's infamous "Red Wedding" in his track (which he will perform at HBO’s South by Southwest party on March 7), while Big Boi has already done the promo circuit for HBO, appearing at a "Game of Thrones"-themed party during NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans last month. "You’ll be able to tell which artists are into the plots in more specific ways, and which are there to celebrate the essence of what hip-hop is," Martinez says.
HBO has released commercial soundtracks for all three "Game of Thrones" seasons thus far, featuring original score by Ramin Djawadi and custom tracks by The National and The Hold Steady. But going the free route was essential in reaching the younger mixtape crowd. "We already know there’s a target that takes control and uses social media as am amplifier, so we wanted to give them outlet to share this with their friends in the best way to really target this audience."
Check out the 'Catch The Throne' track list below, revealed here on The Juice:
1. Big Boi - "Mother of Dragons"
2. Magazeen - "Iron Throne"
3. Bodega Bamz - "Win or Die"
4. Kilo Kish - "Magical Reality"
5. Daddy Yankee - "Born to Rule"
6. Dominik Omega - "Arya's Prayer"
7. Snow - "Fire"
8. Dee Goodz - "The Parallel"
9. Common - "Interlude/The Ladder"
10. Wale - "King Slayer"