Hip-Hop Block Reviews The Clipse’s latest Album, “Til The Casket Drops”
Nowadays, there aren’t any good hip-hop groups anymore. When I think of great hip-hop groups, I think of names like Run DMC, Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs, Naughty by Nature, and so forth. However, after a three-year hiatus, Clipse, formed of brothers Pusha T and Malice, are back with their new album Til the Casket Drops.
In 2002, the song “Grindin” hit the scene and was an instant classic single. This song was the precursor to all the hustle to get it songs such as “Hustlin” by Rick Ross in 2006. Following a great start, the group went through a marketing slump. They shopped for record labels without doing the necessary homework and ended up with an unsatisfactory grade because their albums hit the shelves too late.
Even after label problems, the critically acclaimed group dropped a classic- Hell Hath No Fury. Hell Hath No Fury was just the sixth album to receive a “XXL” rating (equivalent to 5 stars) from hip-hop magazine XXL. Even Reasonable Doubt, arguably the greatest rap album of all time ended up with a rating of 4.
Clipse are back though, but somehow, someway it seems as if they never left. Teaming up with a group of musical/instrumental geniuses, the Neptunes, who are known primarily because of Pharrell, the Clipse have the making of a great album set in stone with beats, but it is solely upon Malice and Pusha T to solidify greatness with their witty wordplay and lively lyrics.
Once you crack open the CD, after unwrapping the paper of course, the opening track sounds like a lullaby. Just lay back, look up at the ceiling, close your eyes, and hit play. “Freedom” produced by Sean C and LV throws the Clipse and ally-oop. Let’s see if they can catch and slam-dunk it on their verses.
“Never mind my car/ Careful what you wish for/ Behind every curtain/ The devil and his pitchfork/ Jealousy I ask thee/ What is this for?/ How was I to know/ I was happy being piss poor” Malice liberates his verbal ability over the intro track.
The next song is their first single featuring Pharell and Cam’ron. This song not only makes your head bob, but it also helps the shoulders get into it as well. With Pharrell on the hook and the hype man, this is a aural pleasuring track.
“I tax it/ Like Uncle Sam/ From the Jungle fam/ Where n**** bundle grams” Cam’ron stays true to his regular recipe of the hustler lyrics, but luckily Pharrell gives the song a “Pop” enough feel to it to appeal to not just pushers.
“Spittin fire on the PJ in my PJ’s/ Fire Marshall said I took it to the Max like TJ/ Y’all ain’t peep, I said Marshall’s replay/ I’m like the black Marshall meets Jay.” Those few bars spit by Kanye on the song “Kind of a Big Deal” are strong enough to carry the weight of the song and shows us listeners that featuring-rappers-do-better-than-the-rapper-whose-song-it-is has been prevalent in rap lately. Kanye makes a bold statement saying he is Eminem meets Jay-Z, though.
“Counseling” produced by the Neptunes is a gem. Caution- this song is an attempt to justify misogynistic rap.
Pusha T, after Pharrell says, “He needs counseling” raps asking for open ears. “I used to be all about a phat a**/ Then I found a cutie with a flat a**/ Good head (intelligence), nice smile, but a flat a**/ Two out of three, s*** I couldn’t let that pass”
Malice adds a little comedy to the song saying, “So many chicks, I can’t pick a favorite/ My shrink even say, my behavior sick/ the hips to how shorty lick her lips/ Just a few thoughts that come to mind when I reminisce.”
“Life Change,” the last of the 13 songs on this album, kicks some knowledge to us about how lives change after experiencing or witnessing the faults of another person.
“Where I’m from, see us guys don’t believe in love/ Can’t believe what they doing to my n*** Buff/ Facing time, 25 to life. 25 the same thing as life” Pusha T offers us an alternative to a troubled life on his verse.
“I had left my family forsaken/ A trouble soul whose heart was also achin’/ So much dough, but my spirit ever so vacant/ Foul and flagrant I was taken off course/ But now I see clearly with the family of four/ Never did I deserve a two-seater Porsche/ Heart filled with remorse, my heart was such a mess/ Now I’m back on board due to the Lord’s GPS” Malice gives hip-hop heads hope after his verse ends.
Til the Casket Drops is a favorite. Third time is always a charm and with their third album dropping today, we can only hope that they keep hip-hop alive by making good music until their casket drops.