Clipse – Lord Willin’

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“Grindin’” is the best song here, yet it’s only good, not great; wouldn’t even make it to my list of top 5 Clipse songs. It’s good because of the production: minimal yet hypnotically huge; that drum sound that Pharrell cooks up could’ve easily have been the sample of car doors slamming shut before the gang hits the town to holla at girls and other no-good shenanigans and that synth line is the album’s best hook. They announce “The world is about to feel something / That they’ve never felt before” at the start of the song, and they’re absolutely right, and when the beat was recycled into a worse song in J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” two years later, it still sounded fresh. But it’s not great because a) neither Pusha T or Malice have found their voices as rappers yet; they sound completely interchangeable with one another (listen to this song and then listen to the best song off Hell Hath No Fury or even Til the Casket Drops if you don’t believe what I just said) and a bunch of lines are either resoundingly dumb (ie. “Patty cake, patty cake, I’m the bakers man / I bake them cakes as (pause) fast (pause) as (pause) I (pause) can”) or trying desperately hard to be smart but end up dumb (“From days I wasn’t able, there was always (‘)cain(e)” is one of the most forced double entendre’s I’ve ever heard) and b) a good minute of the song is dead weight; when they decide to drop an extra hook carrying that high-pitched “Grindin’”! – yeesh.


But this is their worst album and here’s a bunch of reasons why: some of the beats on the album sound interchangeable with one another because they’re all built out of the same things (ie. compare the horn hooks of “Young Boy” with “Cot Damn” (the album’s greatest draws after “Grindin’” regardless); compare the guitar lines of “When the Last Time” with “Comedy Central”) and for that same reason, they often play themselves out before their 5-minute (!!!) runtimes are up (the much-aligned Til the Casket Drops is exempt from both of these criticisms). Elsewhere, you have to deal with “Ma, I Don’t Love Her,” wherein Faith Evans wants to or tries to sing a hook but doesn’t and both rappers rhyme words with each other because they have no idea how to handle women at this point in time. Also: two annoying remixes of “Grindin’” containing people you wouldn’t mind shooting on site. In the album’s defense, a lot of people have made grand huzzah’s about how Lord Willin’ contains more punchlines than lyrically similar albums from the 90s like Raekwon, Mobb Deep or the like, but hello! This isn’t a good thing! Especially when neither rapper or any feature they bring on here are able to cohesively weave in said punchlines into the verses and hilariously hypocritical because those same people are often the first to cry foul when mainstream hip-hop ten years later are practically all punchlines. Frankly, “I love her like I love my dick size” is worth more than anything anyone says on this album. Peace.

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