The Underrated: Clipse- Lord Willin'

1. Intro
2. Young Boy
3. Virginia
4. Grindin'
5. Cot Damn featuring Ab-Liva and Roscoe P. Coldchain
6. Ma, I Don't Love Her featuring Faith Evans
7. Fam-Lay Freestyle
8. When The Last Time featuring Kelis and Pharrell
9. Ego
10. Comedy Central featuring Fabolous
11. Let's Talk About It featuring Jermaine Dupri
12. Gangsta Lean featuring Pharrell
13. I'm Not You featuring Jadakiss, Styles P, and Roscoe P. Coldchain
14. Grindin' (Remix) featuring N.O.R.E., Birdman and Lil Wayne
15. Grindin' (Selector Remix) featuring Sean Paul, Kardinal Offishall and Bless

2002 was an interesting year for hip hop. Nelly vs KRS, Jay vs Nas, Eminem selling 9 million and beefing with Canibus, Scarface dropped a classic, the rise of 50 Cent and G-Unit, etc, etc.... The Neptunes were riding high after a few years of dominance, and their Star Trak imprint was in the process of growing. Clipse, who had released an earlier project "Exclusive Audio Footage" in 1999, was the main act on Star Trak(besides N.E.R.D.), and geared up to release this album in the summer of 2002.

Now, while some may not consider this to be truly underrated, it is a vital album. Lord Willin' doesn't get enough credit for kicking off the careers of the Clipse and of course Pusha T as a solo artist. This was the basis of it all. From the start of the album, you knew you were in for something different, as the beats and lyrical perspective were unlike anything we had truly heard before. Clipse got flack for talking about so much coke, but the way they put their words together, and how poignant and descriptive the imagery was has to be given credit. The intro here provides a nice idea of what to expect from the two MCs and both provide plenty of quotable lines. The past that the two have lived heavily influences their content and it showed from jump.

This is evident on the song "Young Boy", where both Push and Malice talk their experiences growing up surrounded by dope and the dealers. The sinister sounding "Virginia" once again touches on the upbringing that the two brothers had, with more of an emphasis on the location they were raised in, hence the title. The Neptunes provided a sick track for them to spit over here. The biggest song from this album was the landmark single "Grindin", which catapulted this album to gold status quite quickly and eventually to platinum. The sparse beat from The Neptunes mixed with some creative dope talk gave Clipse an instant hit.

"Cot Damn" was another great track where everyone came with solid verses backed by a very catchy Pharrell hook(he does quite a bit of work on hooks this entire album). I wasn't really a big fan of "Ma, I Don't Love Her", but with a Faith Evans assisted hook and a catchy melody, it served its purpose. Then after a pointless Fam-Lay freestyle, they hit with "When The Last Time", the 2nd single from the album, which was a club banger and a great song to party to for that time period. I wasn't a huge fan of "Ego" then and now, and I feel as if it wasn't needed on the album, but it is followed by one of the dopest songs on the album, "Comedy Central", which features both MCs and Fab at their best.

Usually, a song after 2000 with a Jermaine Dupri feature on it would make me shake my head in sadness, but I enjoyed the sounds of "Let's Talk About It". The song is meant to be fun, and it definitely is. Now, we get to the best one-two punch of the album, with "Gangsta Lean" and "I'm Not You", technically the last two songs on this album(since the final two after are just remixes). The sweet sounds of "Gangsta Lean" backed by an infectious beat, hook, melody and a breezy feel to it, completes the cypher to be the best song on this album hands down, and it should have been a single. "I'm Not You" is a rhyme fest with every MC bringing heat, and Jadakiss supplying one of his best verses here.

The last two Grindin' remixes are essentially pointless, but do come with some comedy courtesy of N.O.R.E. and Birdman's verses and Wayne actually kills it. The reggae remix, I barely listen to, and I don't know why they felt a need to include it, but it is the official final track on the album.

Overall, this album was extremely solid, with only one or two missteps. Some anthems, some greatness all came from this album, and it should definitely get much more credit, as it was definitely one of the better hip hop albums in 2002. Long Live Clipse.



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