Clipse, the rapping duo of
Virginia brothers Gene "Malice" and Terrence "Pusha" Thornton, were discovered
by Pharrell Williams (one half of The
Neptunes) and recorded
Exclusive Audio Footage (1999), that was not released.
The ghostly single Grindin, immersed in a sparse soundscape,
propelled their first released album,
Lord Willin' (2002), that also contained the
driving James Brown-ian funk-soul jam with vintage saxophone riff
and the bouncy soul pseudo-ballad Gangsta Lean.
A formal balance between production and rapping yields
Ma I Don't Love Her, with a female choir reminiscent of vocal pop groups of the 1940s, and a New Orleans-esque melody;
the carnival atmosphere of Cot Damn.
No less intriguing, however, is the
disruptive anti-eloquent arrangement of When The Last Time.
After the two-volume mixtape We Got It 4 Cheap (2005), the brothers
Hell Hath No Fury (Star Trak, 2006), a sonic jewel produced by the Neptunes that better emphasized their ferocious act.
The elegance of the sound and the elegance of the rapping perfectly
counterpointed each other.
Highlights include the comic exotic skit Wamp Wamp,
the insistent Dirty Money and
the pulsating Chinese New Year.
But perhaps even more telling is how the
chopped-up rhythm is enhanced by a dysfunctional accordion in
Momma I'm So Sorry.
Less impressive is the venture into conventional soul balladry of
The melodic peaks are hijacked by a
Latin-electronic blend (Hello New World) and
scifi-synth and cricket-y buzz (Trill).
Alas, they lost their bite on
Til the Casket Drops (2009), produced by DJ Khalil and Sean C & LV.
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