Back with their new album, the Clipse’s new album gives us little to think of, except for the hints that they’ve changed as people – but not as artists. From their breakthrough song “Grindin’” to their release of several mix tapes off their project group The Re-Up Gang, the Clipse continues to put out music for the streets that ends up getting little success with the streets as well as the mainstream hiphop community. Even under the wing of the most successful hiphop producer Pharrell, this group has gain some sort of success but don’t get the kind of success that makes us miss this group when they don’t release a commercial album.
So they’re back with their third album Til The Casket Drops, and they fall short yet again.
They are still spitting that coke rap, which is barely seen in the rap industry anymore without some sort of substance behind it. However, The Clipse makes minimal efforts in their music to connect the drug game to any lessons in life. They did manage to grow with some substance in their music, which is about growth as an artist and person of celeb status, not about the drug stuff and dealer life that listeners need as a balance to understanding.
There’s no significant improvement in flow or style of rapping from the Clipse, which is expectant of anyone who hasn’t put out an album in three years with Hell Hath No Fury. Malice and Pusha T continue to flow like it their past mix tape series I Got It For Cheap, which doesn’t give the listeners much entertainment.
What saves them from this alum being a total flop is the production by the Neptunes. Of course Pharrell, with the wonderful resume’ he has – from the innovative “Grindin’” beat for the Clipse to his popular hiphop/rock/pure madness band N.E.R.D. – there is no way these fellows under Pharrell’s wing will have some lame beats. Unfortunately Pharrell provides them with production that is only good enough to keep heads bopping but insignificant. The other producers in this album, DJ Khalil and Sean C & LV, doesn’t give much either.
There are some great featured appearances in Til The Casket Drops, including Cam’Ron, Kanye West, and Pharrell, all of which provides some sort of push for them to seem like their stepping outside of their usual crack music. Unfortunately, these guest artists weren’t enough to keep them out of the streets, as well as keep sales for this new album up.
Best Song: A tie! “Doorman” was a cool little shout out to their former producer/manager who is currently in jail for robbery and gun charges, but still fell short since they had to stick to their guns of selling drugs. However, it’s a song outside of their usual, so it’s their most creative song. And this next song is chosen because I have a weak spot for an artist's revelation and confession in their music. “Life Change” had a nice hook on it, good moral standards, and some lyrics folks can actually think about. It’s about growing up after distractions from fame, forgiveness from Malice to his family, and changing their ways after a life of trouble. Why couldn’t the Clipse make that the theme for this album?
Worst Song: “Eyes on Me” is a failure to be a club banger. The beat is fun, Keri Hilson even did well for a guest artist, but it was just something unexpected from the Clipse. Not that unexpectancy disturbs me, because if any artist decides to step out of their comfort zone the song will go unusually hard. Instead, it’s just an awkward song about a night out with Pusha T and Malice, and ultimately irrelevant to the album’s direction.
Star's Grade: C-