Friday, December 8

Album Review: Clipse


“Hell Hath No Fury”
Jive; 2006
9/10

There’s not much to say about the new Clipse album that hasn’t already been said, especially when the boys over at Cokemachineglow gave it such a thorough combing over. All I can really offer is the perspective of my experience. So here goes.

I didn’t listen to hip-hop until about a year ago. Even then, I was limited to Gorillaz, Danger Doom, and Madvillain, influenced mostly by one of my best friends’ obsession with MF Doom. I really only branched out in September 2006, amassing in a few short months an ample collection of Ghostface Killah, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Aesop Rock, Cadence Weapon, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, Sage Francis, and Snoop Dogg records. And while I enjoyed most of them, hip-hop was far from becoming my genre of choice. I always had my inhibitions; the albums were often inconsistent, the beats paled by comparison to the instrumentation of my indie rock favorites, and even the rappers often failed to have something meaningful to say.

“Hell Hath No Fury” destroys my inhibitions. Everything bad thought I’ve ever harbored about the genre was simultaneously blown away. This shit is the real stuff, and, when put up against all the hip-hop albums I’ve accrued to this date, I have yet to find one I enjoy as much—and this includes Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint”, Nas’s “Illmatic”, and Ghostface’s “Fischscale”.

The reasons for this are many, but at the forefront is the flawless production of the Neptunes. It’s nothing short of epic; the menagerie of steel drums in “Wamp Wamp (What It Do)”, the spaghetti-thin guitar line of “Dirty Money”, the traipsing accordion of “Momma I’m So Sorry”, the ferociously dirty synths of “Trill”, the dissonant, sustained chimes of “Ride Around Shining”—as a whole, it’s just barely short of perfect. Fresh and inventive, “Hell Hath No Fury” witnesses the best Neptunes production to date, moving beyond the industry standard of tired samples and cut-and-paste arrangement to a veritable art, on par musically with any other genre.

And Pusha T and Malice, the Virginia Beach brother-brother duo, do those beats justice. Their rhyme scheme is the least inventive element of the whole album, sticking pretty closely to the traditional AA-BB pattern, but its hardly something to complain about; keeping the scheme conventional gives their rhymes excellent flow and allows for comfortable wordplay rather than the sort of forced delivery that sometimes troubles rappers like Jay-Z. The brothers have an excellent command of their flow as well, lending each syllable the perfect amount of spite, style, flippancy, or urgency that it requires.

The subject of their rhymes, however, is really what everyone is talking about; it’s no secret that Pusha T and Malice are coke dealers, and that the majority of their verses are somehow related to that fact. They bring to light every aspect of life as a hustler, from the lavish lifestyle it provides (“Dirty Money”) them to the imitators it draws (“Mr. Me Too”), the guilt it plagues upon them (“Momma I’m So Sorry”), and the chance it affords the oppressed black population (“Hello New World”). I’m not one to overwhelm you with quotes (though trust me about half the album is full of memorable ones), mostly because the verses mean so much more in their respective context. But let me assure you that these boys and their guests tackle complicated subjects (albeit slightly morally bankrupt ones) with such style, honesty, and intensity that you can’t help but listen to them.

You know what, I’m gonna admit it—this review kind of blows. It’s hackneyed and amateur. But that’s why we post free songs for download: so that you don’t have to take my lame word for it. The point is that “Hell Hath No Fury” is fucking amazing, and anyone who likes hip-hop even in the remotest sense needs to get their hands on it… like, now.

Download:
Clipse - Momma I’m So Sorry
Clipse - Wamp Wamp (What It Do) [Feat. Slim Thug]
Clipse - Dirty Money

- Dominick Duhamel -

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1 Comments:

At 2:45 AM , Blogger Dave said...

well,

Fishscale is not the barometer of a Great Rap Record. It's about 2/3 of a Great Rap Record at best. Blueprint is kinda overrated too. Illmatic is the only real unimpeachable classic out of those, and I actually prefer Wu-Tang's 36 Chambers (my pick for the best hip-hop album of all time) and A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory, both of which I can heartily recommend to you as a white dude and lover of indie rock.

that said, this Clipse album makes me lose my shit in a 8.5+ kind of way. If it's not a classic (and we've had the thing for like, a week), it's pretty goddamn close.

 

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