This is Bullshit

As a Clipse fan with waning interest in their musical output, I wanted to not invest much time or energy into thinking about this new mixtape. It was done for a magazine, in promotion for a clothing line and name drops Nah Right in a verse eight months after Mickey Factz or something probably did.

But seriously, when are we going to forever write off this rap group? They’ve released two generally garbage mixtapes this year, plus an “album” where half of the verses were directly lifted from a mixtape and placed over one Storch beat and a bunch of fake Storch beats and they asked you to pay them for it. For dudes who rhyme all day about 09 Benzes and Parada shades and Italy this strikes me as a supremely dick move. Where were you internet?

More importantly: do these guys have a fire anymore? Even in this era of trapper-not-rapper/got rich before rap, are they even trying? Yeah, they had great punchlines on both volumes of We Got It For Cheap; some of those verses are my favorite rap verses ever. But wasn’t the most galvanizing part of those tapes the fact that here were two dudes rapping their asses off for their lives basically? Maybe they were or maybe they weren’t. Maybe if those tapes never jumped off they’d have faded away forever to get rich off coke money. Or maybe they would’ve hung around spitting verses on N.E.R.D. records until Pharell finally got their album off. No one knows, but in 2005, when it felt like their careers— and lives— hung in the balance, it made for some really powerful rap music.

But the way they rap now, this is sloth rap. These are verses and ideas and styles and flows not just recycled, but back in your fridge again as another soda can. Say what you will about Wayne, but he’s still worth following because he’s still going places. Both him and The Clipse are arguably at the lowest creative points in their careers, but look back to December 2007. Wayne’s notably deviated from that time, both with awful stuff like his dialysis-esque attachment to AutoTune and with great stuff like “A Milli” and “Dr. Carter”. It’s entirely possible, and maybe even likely, that Wayne is going to snap out of his funk and return to rapping like he was two years ago. Does anyone— stans included— think that The Clipse, as they stand now as these self-fulfilled gluttons, are going to return to the rappers they were on We Got It 4 Cheap? (NB: I’m not saying Hell Hath No Fury because I think that album is plagued by lots of the problems that I’m outlining here, a few songs excluded) Even more to the point: does anyone believe that Clipse want to return to the rappers they were on “Zen” or “Cot Damn”? Even if circumstances prevented them being able to mentally return to that point, does anyone get the feeling that these two guys strive to be more than they are right now. I see this desire in Jeezy. I see it in Kanye. I see it in Ludacris. I see it in Boosie and Webbie and Freeway and even Gorilla Zoe. Wayne had that fire back when no one believed him when he said he was the best rapper alive, and now that he’s been validated, at least commercially, he hasn’t showed even the slightest hint of slowing down. These guys, they see frontiers. The Clipse, they seem pretty comfortable giving us the same tired rhymes over other people’s beats.

Anyone who has been with The Clipse since 2001, or even 2005, should resent them. If you’re one of those people, you should resent this bullshit they’re handing you. You should resent the fact that they’re going to whine about their third LP, that they’re going to suck you in, and that it’s going to be exactly like the shit we got this year. I would demand more from them— from us— but think about The Clipse in 2008. Is there a point?

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10 responses to “This is Bullshit

  1. “Even if circumstances prevented them being able to mentally return to that point, does anyone get the feeling that these two guys strive to be more than they are right now. I see this desire in Jeezy. I see it in Kanye. I see it in Ludacris. I see it in Boosie and Webbie and Freeway and even Gorilla Zoe.”

    I mean, I see Jeezy striving to be more and becoming less, but besides that, Ludacris??? Dude’s returns are so diminishing, it’s like his career is the fictitious invention of some economics professor trying to provide an illustration for the law of diminishing returns. Every single and album he makes is just a little bit worse than the last. He’s really mathematical almost in his gradual decline into total garbageness. Of course, while he does it, he insists that he’s becoming more and more artistic and that there’s some concept behind it all (remember how one side of Release Therapy was supposed to be about release, and the other was supposed to be about… therapy), all artists in decline do the same thing. That’s not a striving for more, that’s just b.s.

  2. i don’t know dudes. i haven’t heard theater of the mind and since most ppl have said that it sucks i don’t really plan on it, but he’s dropped a bunch of killer verses this year. the chamillionaire single, pop champagne remix, that track w/ t.i. on luda’s album (not top of the world), dey know remix. he had good shit this year.

    i didn’t even mean that though. mostly i meant that it seemed like luda realized he was putting out awful songs and tried hard this year to kind of restore his reputation. i guess his album is overblown but that’s not even really the point.

  3. Okay, he’s capable of still rapping aight on remixes that most of the world never hears and I forgot all about. The fact remains that on his singles, the face that he presents to the 99% of the world that never cared for his albums much and sees dude for what he is, a great singles rapper, he’s getting progressively worse. To the point where the hooks he gets from talentless wastes of promo like Chris Brown are the most enjoyable parts of his songs. ANYWAY, back to the subject, I was never crazy about the whole WGIFC series in the first place, could not understand what was so great about a gang of coke-related punchlines of varying quality delivered by two guys with roughly identical personalities, flows and voices. It’s really kinda like Big L on Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous, how many different ways can he say that he hits a lot of skins and makes a lot of ends before you start to get really bored? For me, I make it through about the second verse of “Put It On” before tuning that shit out. (For some reason, I feel differently about early mixtape Chamillionaire, but maybe because his punchlines are so bizarre, like the time he said he wore so much ice hoes thought he was raised by rich Eskimos. Ditto for JR Writer.) My interest in the Clipse runs out after Lord Willin and “What Happened To That Boy.” I know that’s very far from the consensus out there, but I’m quite confident that I’m right.

  4. Dude, I like this fucking mixtape. So Fly, Pop Champagne and Addiction are real steps forward in my opinion.

    I do keep waiting for them to get beyond or take coke rap in some new dimension and it was hard to care before much that they were dropping a new mixtape but having heard, I’m actually quite encouraged.

    There is something about rapping, and rapping, and rapping your ass off without any real artistic vision that is quite discouraging (see Luda, Joe Budden, etc.) so I’m quite glad they aren’t going back to the place they were with the Cheap mixtapes. I want a solid well put together album with hot beats and interesting songs with concepts, lyrics, the whole fucking package and they aren’t going to get to that by pretending that a dozen punch lines per verse is what it takes to make one of those.

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