Never mind the hiatus and dispel the myths

If The Wire was a rap album instead of a television show, Hell Hath No Fury is what it would sound like. With HHNF, the Clipse do for crack rap what The Wire did for crime dramas.

Both genres normally present titillating tales of drugs, sex, violence and money. Both are rooted in fantasy and tend to encourage a twisted voyeurism. Both involve unsympathetic villains—villains that are crude caricatures as opposed to complex human beings. Villains that serve as receptacles for fetish, scorn, fear and loathing.

The Clipse and The Wire similarly reject lazy, sensational depictions of the cocaine game. They counter stereotypes with craft—with highly intelligent, informed writing. [1] And with emotion—with evocative narratives that force the audience to feel, to empathize.

HHNF is a dark, brooding album. It’s music drenched in disappointment, seething with rage, stabbed with regret and guilt and paranoia.

In this context, the fruits of hustling—the whips, watches and women that dirty money buys—exist as a cold consolation, and nothing more. The riches are fleeting (“ride around shinin’ while I can afford it”), the females are fake (“you ain’t got to love me, just be convincing”), remorse is a constant companion (“to little brother Terrence, who I love dearly so/if ever I had millions, never would you push blow/never”), the terrain is treacherous (“they be thinking nice car, nice crib/I be thinking: how long will they let me live?”), and peace of mind is forever out of reach (“I creep low thinking dudes trying to harm me/hoping my karma ain’t coming back to haunt me”).

The Neptunes’ detached, futuristic beats serve as the perfect backdrop for all of this. The stark score—which, admittedly, wouldn’t be very interesting on its own—establishes mood without for a moment distracting from Pusha T and Malice’s poignant storytelling.

It must be noted that, somehow, HHNF isn’t even remotely depressing. There’s an aggressive energy to the project—a vigor, a visceral push. The album is shot through with something like hope.

Clearly, after years in the hell of label limbo, the Clipse are back with a vengeance. They’re out to win ears, and minds, and hearts. And who’s going to stop them? Not a cot damn one of you.


[1] And by intelligent, I mean brilliant. Seriously. I’ve probably listened to HHNF a dozen times now and I’m still picking up on new references. Jeepers creepers can those Thornton brothers rap.

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  • 420PURP


  • brown125th

    Bol needs to take notes from you on this blogging shit. Good Post.

  • DC

    The lyrics are pretty good.

    But man… I’m not feeling most of the beats. The Neptunes finally kick it up at the end with Trill and Chinese New Year, but I can’t ignore the craptastic beats earlier on in the album.

    Shame that the Neptunes are ruining this album for me.

  • al bundy

    i will try to cop that album


    It has dropped… it’s called leaked just search for it.


    Nice post agree 100% damn this lived up to the hype

  • Therapist


    but its not classic…

  • The Bizness

    album is definetly a one to watch this year.

  • Rey


    Careful, Tara.. I’m pretty sure they dock the pay of any bloggers around here that still like any rap that came out after 1995…

    …unless it’s Lil’ Wayne, of course.

    In any event, ‘tween yours & Meka’s review, I might just plunk down $10.85 at my friendly neighborhood Best Buy to check this out–my disdain for crack rap is being pushed to the side by my desire to support people that can actually rap.


  • Belize

    Hmmm…Im a cop it strictly off the strenght of this review..u got me on the Wire..didnt know u like that gutter shyt Tara..Good Post!

    P.S. If it gonna start typin in caps like ur bff

  • Tray

    “And by intelligent, I mean brilliant. Seriously. I’ve probably listened to HHNF a dozen times now and I’m still picking up on new references. Jeepers creepers can those Thornton brothers rap.”

    Um, maybe it’s just me but I don’t see what’s so intelligent about their lyrics. Could someone offer ONE example for me?

  • thatdukeSuave

    Uh, they just can’t understand or phathom my demeanor
    Unapproachable appearance to how I pack the ninas
    Out of two, Clipse they say Malice the meanest
    Got love for guns and caine, let nothin’ come between us
    You miss took me for a rapper huh
    Well that makes me an actor, cause I would rather clap a gun
    And buck on them niggas who hate
    Who wanna be in my shoes, live my life, but can’t carry my weight
    I understand that the envy is part of the game
    But make no mistake, you and I, we are not the same
    Naw bitch I’m liable to splatter ya shit
    Light up ya world, ’til you start to stagger and shit
    Watch how them hollows straight, rattle ya shit
    And I leave it to y’all, to freestyle and battle and shit
    That’s not me, I’m more at home wit the chrome
    Or that play wit the yay, moving 12 for a zone, I’m gone

  • thatdukeSuave

    thats not even one of their best, just some quick shit for ya. Read up on em!

  • jacquez
  • http://whocareswhatpeoplethink thecollinb

    “More like Sosa, less like Tony”
    that pretty much says it all….think above the average

  • thatdukeSuave

    Also check their ‘pass tha mic’ skills:
    Red rum, red rum (such power in the tongue)
    Never in the wildest, (was he talkin to them)
    Style on niggaz, (but feel it to the numb)
    Japanese thread, (brought flavor to these bums)
    Consider me the savior, (look what the lord gave ya)
    My celebrated presence (like the return of Rayful)
    Frolic in the snow, so playful
    (And revivin the track) like we flowin through jumper cables
    (What duo) you know (get XXL kudos) while coppin off Coolio
    (Classic shit) we mastered this, (left for dead) I’m back, (I’m Lazareth)

  • Kanye





  • weezybaby

    this album is not what i expected

  • Young A. Simmons

    albums i’ve bought this year:

    Game Theory
    Food and Liquor
    Doctors Advocate

    albums i will buy:

    The N
    Blue Carpet

  • Tray

    That shit that “thatdukesuave” posted was supposed to be intelligent? It was okay…

  • thatdukeSuave

    yeah my bad, those were examples more of their lyrical prowess than intelligence. but they do drop sick metaphors and shit that needs rewinding to really understand what they sayin

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Not so fast…who are they making their music for…obviously its not the fans…and if so…never knew there was so many drug dealers amongst us…I am tired of this crap…and from what I heard they aint move ish back in the day(couple of years ago…maybe 5 plus)…Im not feelin it…like preachers do on sunday…give me something I can nod my head in agreement too…just a thought…juuuusssst a thought…Sure Jeezy tatalks about it too but he also injects the struggle into it which is why the streets and the hood can relate…all they do is talk about movin it and seeing cake…thats fantasy…i dont want fantasy i want reality…I Luv it…

  • Bol

    >If The Wire was a rap album instead of a television show, Hell Hath No Fury is what it would sound like. With HHNF, the Clipse do for crack rap what The Wire did for crime dramas.

    Best lede evar?

  • Corinne

    Hmmmmm Tara, maybe I should give this another chance?…..but Bol said!…, i guess I can listen to a couple more sample songs to see what’s up.


    tara has the best blog on xxl!
    job well done ma!

  • Mr.Me

    (What duo) you know (get XXL kudos) while coppin off Coolio

    ^^^lol. Its Julio not Coolio. Coolio smoked crack he didnt sell it.

  • thatdukeSuave

    Yeah, that makes more sense. I thought it just went over mah head! Thx


    I don’t believe for one second that anyone other than hipsters in Brooklyn are going to pick this up..

    “Keys Open Doors” is pretty piss-poor and people have been touting that as one of the better songs on the album..

    People talk about their lyricism and I understand that lyricism exists other than punchlines, but I don’t see it.

    The verse’s and quotes typed out above are color-by-numbers bullshit. Honestly, other than their single-minded focus on cocaine, they aren’t bringing anything to the table.

    Also, there was a direct coorelations with the Neptunes rise to popularity and the fall of quality hip-hop.. If the Neptunes didn’t do beats for the clipse, you would have never heard of them in a million years.

    They would be on here on some “ -go listen” shit.

    Lastly, I heard they are really from WEST Virgina….

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    There are no rough neiborhoods in West Virgina…

  • 110 street

    i am a street dude with goods help i was abel to get this job with a computer in front of me me saying that i just dont like therer musik,there flow is soso, and they have no styler justt my opinion.

  • 110 street

    god my bad

  • 110 street

    ive been to va too i lived in hamton and newport news some of thewm niggas can spit,but they dont do it for me

  • gluvnast

    people always have problem when something different from the norm comes out…

    i guess y’all wouldof shitted on “criminal minded” when it 1st debuted…

    this is the futuristic version of that album…with all it’s musical ruggedness, street bravado, and hardcore lyricism like the KRS’s debut

  • allnice

    Yo, why do niggaz sweat the Clipse so hard? They are just a poor clone copy of Ray and Ghost on that Cuban Linx shit. The only thing different about them is the beats, and that is the Neptunes. I don’t see why cats like them, but I guess they got the whole only decent rap group from DC/VA area cult status.

  • Koran

    I feel ya

  • DEE

    albums i’ve bought this year:

    Game Theory
    Food and Liquor
    Doctors Advocate

    albums i will buy:

    The N
    Blue Carpet


  • Sushi K

    Clipse is definitely a love it or hate it thing. I go back and forth on the Neptunes a lot but I like everything I’ve ever heard by Clipse. I’ve only heard maybe three tracks off HHNF but I will get it.

    Their lyricism is real and very welcome. I don’t know about the presence of “intelligence” here (nor do I care) but they’ve certainly got the grimy, cinematic street knowledge over hypnotic, abstract beats. Works for me, as it did for Ghost and Rae.

    If there is any justice in the [music] world, Clipse should go ??? platinum. Good luck gentlemen…

  • Sushi K

    also co-sign the albums bought / to be bought list above.

    Add to it:

    Mr Lif-Mo Mega – Love this shit!
    Masta Killa-Made in Brooklyn – smooth… underrated
    Method Man-4:21 – dude! stop pissing off the press and your record label, go and charm them fuckers to promote your shit better… just a thought. Then again Def Jam’s promotions budget probably got reallocated to make that snazzy Jay-Z video. Duh! Better luck next time.

    TO GET
    De La Soul – Mission Impossible mixtape!! – thanks YN
    Ghostface – More Fish – duh
    Mos Def? – is that this year?

  • Were Read 2 Def

    They are just a poor clone copy of Ray and Ghost on that Cuban Linx shit.

    ^^^Take out the POOR and blend in Mobb Deep and you have the Clipse.

  • Were Read 2 Def

    I agree that a lot of the Neptunes beats and especially the hooks by Pharrell are terrible and suspect for the Clipse. But the beats on “Keys Open Doors” and “Riding Around Shining” are PERFECT for them. That’s their sound. It’s like they need that Mobb Deep “Hell On Earth” or “The Infamous” sound.

  • gotitforfree

    tara, this is a great blog entry but a classic case of overanalysis and making much more of something than there really is to it. you forgot to mention that clipse also glamourise and glorify the shit out of coke and do it with a glint in their eye. and a lot of the hooks on this are wack, and several of the beats are too. this isnt as good as it should have been but hey its been a shitty year so i suppose we have to take what we can get


    great album, not better than lord willin, but great album. not classic due to the inferior beats that don’t quite fit the clipse at times, otherwise great album, haven’t stop listening.

  • DEE

    can you listen to this album from beginning to end?

  • Mordechai Sunshine

    I’ve been a fan of the Clipse since Lord Willin and have nearly every track the two have ever released.

    Hell Hath is AMAZING.

    One of the top 3 releases of the year.

    Still dissapointing.

    We were expecting more and no one wants to admit that.

  • Vindi

    Some of the production is really how could i say WTF is this but when Pharrell get’s it right he get’s it right

  • in va now

    HHNF is no where near classic

  • Ayo

    This album was dope but in terms of crack rap

    1. Ready To Die
    2. Reasonable Doubt
    3. Only Built For Cuban Linx
    4. Thug Motivation 101
    5. Lord Willin
    6. Hell Hath No Fury
    7. Trap Or Die

  • D

    I like the Clipse, but we need a variety of topics.