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Hell Hath No Fury  Hear it Now

RS: 4of 5 Stars

2006

Play View Clipse's page on Rhapsody

The new Clipse album sounds a hell of a lot like the last one. Neither rapper Pusha T nor Malice exhibit much personal or artistic growth -- or star power, for that matter. All the songs are about selling cocaine and driving sports cars, with no R&B divas anywhere in sight to give listeners a break.

So why is it one of the best hip-hop albums of the year? For one, nobody gets the beats -- dry, hard and evil -- that Clipse get from Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. (As Pusha and Malice say themselves, "We Got It for Cheap.") The clappity-clap and synth line of "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" hit the back of your head, where the nerves bunch up. The speedy synth drum hits of "Ain't Cha" could raise the beats-per-minute of hip-hop radio single-handedly. The queasy "Chinese New Year" groove has the tension of somebody busting into a room with a gun.

It's almost enough to make you think MCs are completely unnecessary, except that Pusha and Malice complement the Neptunes, and each other, perfectly. The similarity of the duo's voices gives the music a subtle push and pull -- the brothers pick up on the other one's verses like they were harmonizing. Since their 2002 hit "Grindin'," they've captured the mind-set of the hungry, midlevel dealer: "You're trying get that big chain, ain't cha?" they ask, "You're trying to save for the Range, ain't cha?" No matter how much they talk about their Lotus, they still sound on edge, a little paranoid that they could be broke tomorrow -- more Bodie than Marlo Stanfield, if this were The Wire. A word of advice: Take it easy, fellas. You have the good stuff.

NATHAN BRACKETT

(Posted: Nov 27, 2006)

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