Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Album Review: Clipse - Til The Casket Drops

As mentioned in recent posts, the VA duo that perfected coke rap has returned with a third release. The first two LPs were certified bangers, and the hip-hop world has endured many pushbacks and delays in anticipation for this album. Did Malice and Pusha T make it three in a row? Highs and lows, here we come.

The Highs

“Freedom,” the first track, is the perfect intro to a long-awaited album like this one. Sean C and LV provide a dramatic, pounding beat, complete with a pointed, distorted guitar rift, string hits, nice percussion, and a memorable vocal sample – “speak of freedom, sing of amber, waves of grain.” Malice and Pusha T lament about how their fame and fortune have affected them, and the lessons they’ve learned. Beginning his verse with the notion that “music ‘s been nothing more than a self-made prison,” Pusha T concludes with the phrase, “my critics finally have a verse of mine to jerk off to…I owe you all.”

Directly following is “Popular Demand (Popeyes),” probably the best song on the album, all things considered. The Neptunes provide a banger, showcasing a nice piano riff, horns, and fitting percussion. Pusha T and Malice provide the “father of coke rap” lyrics that fans have come to love, and Camron guests with his signature slow-yet-poignant flow.

Other nice tracks include the well-known singles “Kinda Like A Big Deal” featuring Kanye, “I’m Good” featuring Pharrell, “There Was A Murder,” where Malice and Pusha T showcase a surprisingly effective rasta flow, and “Door Man” and “Never Will It Stop.” Produced by the Neptunes and Sean C and LV respectively,the Clipse kill each beat in typical fashion.

The Lows

First, this album is only 13 tracks. For all the hype and anticipation generated by the pushbacks and delays, that is terribly short. A duo as acclaimed as this one cannot take such a long time between albums, hype the album the death, then come with only 13 tracks.

Secondly, while there is some quality work here, the rest of it seems filled out by throw-away NERD beats. Listen to “All Eyes On Me” and “ Counseling” and you’ll know what I mean. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly a let down.

The Good Word

To be sure, I can’t say this is a bad album. Although there were reports that the Clipse were looking to branch out and use different producers for the majority of the album, in the end they stuck with the Neptunes, which was definitely the right decision. The combination of Pusha T and Malice with Pharrell and Chad’s production is one of a kind; using a slew of different producers would forfeit the unique sound they produce.

For a normal artist, this would be a nice output, although short. However, we’ve come to expect a lot more from these two. The length of the album is disappointing, and although there are 4-5 nice tracks and 2-3 that are decent, the rest are uninspiring. Pusha T and Malice can do better; if anything, the next project should be longer.

Rating: 3 out of 5

- - J- JB

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