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When 2002 came so did the infectious sound that was “Grindin” from the rap duo known as the Clipse.  Not since Raekwon has an artist been able to weave such intricate coke tales, and Virginia bred two rappers that were chefs at it.

From the success of Lord Willin’, shady business within the record labels put a halt onto their second offering.  Having to wait until 2006 to release the follow up Hell Hath No Fury, the brothers were evidently upset with their situation and made a transition to a darker sound which reverberated their particular opinion.

Now with the third offering, Til The Casket Drops, the two come together again to feed their sound to the masses.  Life has left them with bruises and scars being physically, emotionally and mentally and this album serves as an outlet to celebrate crossing the finish line, but being aware of what they had to go through to get there.

“With every line written/ And all I have given/Music’s been nothing more than a self made prison /I’ve taken inmate loses at the hands of this one/ My pen’s been the poison to family and friendships/ Now is time to mend Shyte/ Time to bring closure to/ The clear conscience of Pusha is long overdue/ Thinking to myself, what can I be owing you? / They only tell you great when they reminiscing over you.”

–Pusha T

Stepping away from their usual coke tales that brought them into the game, the Thornton brothers are clearly embracing the finer things in life.  To state things simply, the Clipse are aware of their status as rappers and have no problems with gloating about it.  Modesty is out of the window on tracks such as “Kinda Like A Big Deal” and “I’m Good” as Malice dares any competitors to try and match his finesse which he clearly feels is untouchable.

“Lights, camera, action/ The chain itself’s a damn distraction/ You claim the belt, the glory I bask in/ I be hoppin’ the ring, ni**as ya cash in/ It’s like stopping a train/ Ni**a think he’s stopping’ my reign/ Talk slick while droppin’ my name/ I’m puttin; yall to shame, diamonds in the little hand/ 50 percent splits I X out the middle man.”

– Malice

Although embracing the good life, the duo also show that some old habits die hard, but in this case, it provides great music.  Tracks like “Door Man” and “There Was A Murder” speak on the days of hustling and the momentary reward, as well as the potholes to watch out for.  As always, the Clipse gives the listeners a front row seat to the show.

“Those that break the code, we dig them holes/ What’s worse than a street ni**a that sells his soul? / Being the life we chose, we picked our roles/ Bad man stands, some fall, but never fold/ Gangsta turn informer when the jigs up/ The two mix up, mix up, Babylon boys get bodies left for pick up/ Blood cuddle, gun muzzle, guns couple/ Muzzle in mouth, he bring trouble.”

-Pusha T

Establishing the balance, they manage to deliver commentary of the realities of life and the fact that with the good comes the bad and even the ugly.  As the Clipse talk about the luxuries, they are also able to reflect on their past misdoings and come to the realization that we live in a world is in need for direction and choose to imitate what they see and hear, but need a teacher to truly guide them on the right path.  Cuts like “Footsteps” and the closing “Life Change” provide a moment of clarity.

“It’s not for you to do as I do, rather do as I say/ These footsteps could lead you astray/ Lead you a cell or lead you to a grave/ Either way, you may never see the light of day/ Don’t let my wrongs give you the right of way/ To emulate my past, escape the law’s grasp/ Told you the truth, yet who was I to brag/ Especially seeing how Kimani finds it hard to laugh/ I miss my homies, she misses her dad/ It weighs on my conscience and I hate conscious rap.”

-Malice

Usually known to not play well with others outside of the Neptunes, this go around, the Clipse bring rappers Yo Gotti, Kanye West and Cam’Ron along for the ride as they each hold their own against duo from Virginia.

Linking back up with Pharrell, the Clipse show exactly how to handle production from the Neptunes.  Since Lord Willin’ the two have been able to lace instrumentals from their fellow Virginia natives and show exactly what is supposed to be done with them.  For those that were putting a lot of doubt into the abilities of the Neptunes with their previous efforts, all negative connotations come to a close on tracks such as “Popular Demand” and “Champion” which leave speakers echoing their triumphant sound.

Til The Casket Drops could be called a return to grace, except for the fact that they never truly fell off.  Time away has only resulted positively in regards to their latest offering.  Always giving every side to the story, the brothers are ecstatic about their position now in life, but are also reflective of the road getting there.

It seems Pusha T was right after all on “Kinda Like A Big Deal”…Third time’s the charm, right?

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