Like the drug they spit numerous bars about, the Clipse make music with a similarly addictive quality. Sneaking the Road Til The Casket Drops onto the internet just as the year had begun to wind down, Malice and Pusha show us once again how they stayed relevant for four years, even with the those crackers at Jive not playing fair.
While my memories of their successful We Got it 4 Cheap series are a bit hazy (can you blame me?) they emerge here sounding as good as ever rocking over a variety of beats. Some you will recognize, like their great take on “Pop Champagne” one of two tracks featuring the now only other member of the Re-Up Gang, Ab-Liva. Can anyone hip me to what went down with Sandman? No one disappoints, but Liva sounds especially sweet on this track with both his flow and voice blending well with the minimalist Ron Brownz track.
With the tape serving as a promotional tool to their clothing line Play Cloths ("Stop searching for the E cause the O is long, I spell it how the fuck I want") we are treated to a fair amount of self promotion, but in exchange we don’t have an annoying DJ shouting all over the tracks! It’s interesting to hear the Clipse embrace so much of what is getting a lot of rappers labeled as “hipster” rap. Maybe they are grandfathered in, or maybe those who take the time to label this shit are scared of ‘em?
While mixtapes emerge by the handfuls anymore, Malice and Pusha keep this a personal affair. At only tweleve tracks, two of which are interludes, they waste no time getting right into it with them rocking over a great beat on the “Intro.” Over some deep drums and an organ they do what we have come to expect from the Virginia Beach duo:
I cut it just right like when I parallel park“The Haters Wish” finds them tackling “Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 4” to, again, great sounds. The nature of the beat is the perfect back drop for them to get aggressive with the doubters. I don’t know how much of the “talk” is just to maintain an image, but if ever there were rappers to believe have done what they claim on wax I think we’re listening to them. On another note, as much as I love this joint, I can’t get Wayne’s auto tuned refrain from his take on this beat out of my head – what’s up with a remix?
My hands in the white like on them parallel bars
The coke that I push is as pure as a childs heart
I still take part
I can’t even say formally
Til the casket drop
Or cops corner me
Oyster rollie watch
White diamond adorning me
You better cry for yourself
Ain’t no sense in you mourning me
The hits just keep on coming with “Big Dreams” mashing as hard as it did on day one! Lauren London makes a quick cameo leaving a voicemail for the duo asking for a song for the girls, they happily oblige. “So Fly (Now We’ve Had Her)” features a stuttering beat that’s emptiness is as important to its success as the right sample is to a song. Guaranteed to get the chicks on the dance floor shaking what they got, I’ll never understand how girls ignore the content of songs and then get mad when they don’t get any respect from their man. This isn’t the best example of the Clipse usually introspective look at the streets, but everyone needs a break and it is the perfect escape from the realities of life.
The Re-Up Gang unites one more time here for their take on “Swagga Like Us” to far better results than 99 percent of the countless attempts. They grab Lupe’s “Dumb it Down” for what they call the street version, “Numb it Down.” Not a merging of emcees you would expect, they give Lu a shout as the first dude to rock Play Cloths on stage before updating his track, which not even Lupe could get mad at after even just one listen.
That one listen will be all you need to know that this will be on repeat for awhile! Like the white they rep for their music is a hell of a drug you can’t escape. Good thing it’s free.