Let’s not sugarcoat the obvious: hip hop has become a bloated caricature of its formal self, and every time you have to program out a pointless skit on a rap disc, you’re fueling my argument. I mean, am I really supposed to take a gangsta seriously after they’ve scripted out a few “scenes” on a fucking music cd, detailing the imagery of their lifestyle, neighborhood, or profession before landing that lucrative record deal? Who has the balls to call bullshit here?
I’m betting that Clipse would call out every single rapper that’s filled their disc with redundant filler and songs “featuring” every motherfucking MC that happened to be in the studio the night it was recorded. They’ve completely liposuctioned the fat out of Hell Hath No Fury and brought gangsta rap back to the level it needs to be: uncompromising, uncommercial, and legitimately frightening.
Rather than go into the details of why it’s taken four years to follow up Lord Willin,’ lets discuss why HBO’s The Wire has a ton of critical praise but little in terms of actual audience. Work with me here, because I’m willing to bet that all of the glowing reviews blessed on Hell Hath No Fury will not translate into platinum certifications either. Both examples are deserving of accolades, no doubt, but both are typically too real to effectively market to mainstream audiences. So there you have it: Clipse’s latest is the sonic equivalent of The Wire. And while the white suburban youth like to dream about how awesome it is to be a hustler, they seldom consider the moral sacrifice it takes to get that ’06 Bentley Continental. Clipse does, and the journey doesn’t travel through the suburbs or lend itself well to radio programmers.
Part of this is due to the Neptunes’ production prowess, which is as barren as the street corner where addiction is traded to anyone with cash on hand. The minimalism is intentional, and it provides the perfect backdrop to contemplate the rhymes, which paint a more detailed picture than anything Pharrell Williams or Chad Hugo could create anyway.
The canvas, it seems, is selling cocaine. “I’m more in touch with the keys / Move over Alicia.” They’re declaring within the first minute, explaining that the rap game is “like child’s play / my show and tell.” Malice and Pusha T, the two brothers that make up Clipse, are convincing enough that the listener can believe that hip hop isn’t their primary source of income. Or, as explained before the fade out of “We Got It For Cheap,” “Record sales…digital scales…it’s whatever…we always at home…”
Thankfully, their home is a million miles away from my own because Hell Hath No Fury is one brutally honest document of what being a hustler is really like. And within the disc’s fifty minutes, you’ll understand how completely diluted rap’s current gangsta superstars really are.
Clipse’s shit is completely uncut.