PRESSED ON FRUIT PUNCH COLORED VINYL WITH HAND NUMBERED OBI, LIMITED TO 2000 COPIES
The contemporary realm of hip hop music can be seen as polarized between two sides; mainstream versus underground, industry versus independent, at a base level boiled down to catchy sounds & infective hooks over higher quality lyrical content. These elements don't need to be mutually exclusive, but these days its rare to find an act that can please all sides of the discussion. Clipse are one of the few groups that successfully and consistently caters to both sides of raps splintered psyche, simultaneously serving the scene with upbeat bangers that get the club poppin & subwoofers rattlin while crafting clever quotable compositions deserving of repeated headphone submersions. Though their preceding official albums Lord Willin (2002) & Hell Hath No Fury (2006) made bigger splashes commercially, 2009s Til The Casket Drops is surely no slouch, a gem which deserves to be revisited with fresh ears.
Til The Casket Drops was a departure from the duo of Malice & Pusha Ts previous works in that it was their first LP not completely produced by The Neptunes. However, the celebrated team who brought us Grinding & Mr. Me Too still helmed 8 of the albums 13 tracks, thus dominating the soundscapes and aesthetic of the album anyway. With the remaining beats handled by Hitmen Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Big Pun, Ghostface) and Aftermaths DJ Khalil (Kendrick Lamar, Aloe Blacc, Eminem) clearly Clipse stock hadn't lowered in the game. While boasting notable vocal features from Kanye West, Pharrell, Camron, Keri Hilson, Yo Gotti & their Re-Up Gang affiliate Ab-Liva, Casket Drops leaves ample space for the core emcee duo of Pusha & Malice to shine in the spotlight, with verses revolving around each other succinctly in-synch and bonded by an exceptional creative rhythm only biological brothers could share.
Clipse have always delighted in dualities, juxtapositions and contradictions, unabashedly celebrating the capitalistic lifestyle and the grind as the kings of coke-rap, while taking hard looks at society's mores and those of their own individual journeys. We hear Malices eventual transition to No Malice taking form on this album as he found religion, warning others who might follow in his path on Footsteps: don't let my wrongs give you the right of way/ to emulate my past escaping the laws grasp while refusing to be pinned down in one lane: it weights on my conscience and I hate conscious rap. Meanwhile, Pusha T continues his lyrical ascent into the King Push persona with bars like pompous motherfucker, look what them jewels made me/ Im only finding comfort in knowing you can't replace me/ What a thing to say, but what am I to do/ I'm role-playing a conscious nigga and true is true/ Cocaine aside, all of the bloggers behooved/ My critics finally have a verse of mine to jerk off to decisively on album opener Freedom.
Out of print on vinyl since 2017, Get On Down is reissuing the final Clipse album on Fruit Punch colored vinyl in a gatefold jacket with cover art by KAWS and a hand-numbered OBI limited to 2000 copies.
A2. Popular Demand (Popeyes) feat Cam'Ron & Pharrell
A3. Kinda Like A Big Deal feat Kanye West
A4. Showing Out feat Yo Gotti
A5. I'm Good feat Pharrell
A6. There Was A Murder
B1. Door Man
B2. Never Will It Stop feat Ab Liva
B3. All Eyes On Me feat Keri Hilson
B4. Counseling feat Nicole Hurst
B7. Life Change