Balls Out, Righteous, Hilarious
One of my favorite ladies calls me and yells, "What it do!?" into the phone. Every day. A salutation torn from a Clipse song ("Wamp Wamp") is always appreciated, especially this week, as I've been in something of a Clipse coma. I'm revitalized in my gaytarded enthusiasm mostly because Clipse is showing signs of crawling away from Pharrell (I like Pharrell's art gallery production habits but enough already) and touring the skirt hem of America with their underhyped and overwhelming '06 record Hell Hath No Fury.
The song "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" as well as the fun-but-meh "Mr. Me Too" are the singles from this album, their most recent (and one that was held captive by Jive, a label they're on by accident of shameful music company amalgamation). These tracks don't touch the rest of the record—Hell Hath No Fury is so good that I daydream, when I'm riding the bus, about screaming the lyrics at the very top of my lungs, just screaming and screaming and grabbing my nuts (figuratively) and screaming some more. If I were more balls-out (figuratively), I probably would, so badly do morning commuters need to hear "Ride Around Shining" and "Dirty Money" and "Hello New World." And what a perfect record, of deeply grounded self-assuredness and a bitching sense of humor, for a proper sort of girl to lose her shit to.
The Clipse gentlemen, Malice and Pusha T, are brothers, born in New York and released into the adult world as Southerners. When siblings are so unconsciously cool, it's doubly intimidating—my friends Anna and Adrian share the same kind of effortless Rumble Fish familytensity. Lyrically the Clipse are steady, sure and righteous—they have no trouble rivaling the returned-to-form spectacle of Ghostface Killah—but also bitterly funny, putting a darker spin on the kind of spit-take skits enjoyed by Philadelphia's jokey blipsters (using "blipsters" means I'll get a higher Google index next week, so eff off) Plastic Little.
The sadness with Clipse is that their plain, nearly wholesome approach to rap is often forgone in their working relationships and adherence to coke rap (I don't care how relevant or honest it is, cokeheads are boring to everyone who isn't fucking them, and then her too, five minutes later), trappings that obscures their genuine talent. They stick close to long-time friend Pharrell, but they don't need him, or his branding, or his never-ending and self-serving Wrath of Retail. What these boys can do alone, what they probably did do alone, would be interesting to hear. That said, pending collaborations look more promising, like the motherfucking MOVIE they're making with the guy who did motherfucking SHOTTAS. The We Got it 4 Cheap mixtapes—shit, even the notion that they're still honing their stuff for mixtapes with their buddies as the Re-Up Gang—also suggest that until now they've been apprenticing with Pharrell and his "boutique" approach to life and art and are about ready to rip it open on their own. I hope.
Clipse with Brother Reade and Them Jeans at House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583; www.hob.com. Sun., 8 p.m. $17.50-$20.
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