Clipse – Til The Casket Drops [Album Review]

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It’s something of a tragedy that The Clipse are still, generally, largely remembered for their 2002 hit “Grindin’”. Whether it’s to do with their never ending label sagas or the unapologetic drug-fueled raps which limit their daytime radio spins, Pusha T and Malice are far from the many one-hit wonders which have graced (or disgraced) the Hip Hop world. Reigning supreme on the mixtape circuit, releasing two heralded albums with The Neptunes producing a majority of their work, can their third offering finally bring them back into the cipher of rap’s leaders?

Striking an unsurprising 70/30 balance of crime inspired rap to radio friendly songs, Till The Casket Drops is a world away from their darker but superior Hell Hath No Fury album. A moment of clarity sets the tone on the opener “Freedom”, giving the duo room to express frank verses on lost loves. Yet anyone who has remotely heard anything from The Clipse know that the sentiments would always be matched with their hardened, braggadocio rap and no track emphasises that more than “Kinda Like A Big Deal”. With an inspired Kanye West cameo and top production from DJ Khalil, this track sets the album alight. Whilst this and the Pharrell-featured “I’m Good” work effectively, their other ode to flossing, “Showin’ Out”, isn’t as effective and is lazily executed.

When switching back to telling hood tales on the reggae infused “There Was A Murder”, the VA boys return to form with another DJ Khalil beat. Sharing the production credits this time round, The Neptunes still provide an inspired score with Sean C and LV also adding their names to the rollcall of producers, although it’s the DJ who takes the points here for best production. In their two radio bound tracks, “Counselling” and the made-for-clubs “Eyes On Me” featuring Keri Hilson, The Clipse provide enough evidence that a return to mainstream radio is still on the cards with impressive cuts which leave no damage to their credibility as the ‘hood’s emcees.

Till The Casket Drops is a fitting third Clipse album. Whilst it falls short of their previous albums it sticks strongly to their blueprint of flossing, hustling and woman chasing. And with certain tracks looking set for releases, this could finally be the year when all of their Grindin’ finally pays off in the mainstream and within their rankings as heavyweights of rap.

Reviewed by Henry Yanney

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