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Riding around sweatin’

In a year of devastating, career threatening album leaks, the Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury has been remarkably well-protected. From what I understand, the album has been completed for quite some time now, but the only way to get your hands on a copy was to agree to give it a perfect rating in your magazine. (Zing!)

Alas, the cracka-ass crackas at Jive kept pushing it back further and further, and now the shit’s finally hit the fan – er, Internets. I picked up a copy yesterday (for cheap, natch) and wrote yet another one of my much-beloved album reviews of it.

Feel free to read it. That is, if you’re a reader. Hmm. . .

I’d be lying if I said I spent that much time listening to Lord Willin’ (you don’t even want to know what I was listening to in 2002), but I can appreciate it for what it is, which is one of the better and most influential hip-hop albums to come along so far this decade. Hell Hath No Fury? Not so much.

I know, I know: XXL awarded HHNF its coveted XXL rating – a distinction so rare it’s only been granted to the likes of Kanye West and Lauryn Hill. And the last Common album. (Anyone else noticing a trend?) It could be the case that I just don’t get it (wouldn’t be the first time), but Hell Hath No Fury really didn’t do it for me at all.

To be sure, the Clipse make Hip-Hop Like It Oughta Be. Word to the Mark McGwire-era St Louis Cardinals[1]. In an age when the actual art of rappin’ itself has become more of an afterthought than ever, Malice and Pusha T rap their asses off. No Weezy F Baby. Indeed this album is chock full of some of the gullier verses hip-hop has seen in a minute.

So what seems to be the issue, then, with Hell Hath No Fury? The Neptunes, obviously. It’s been a minute since Pharrell and the Asian fellow (we’ll call him Han) have done anything that anyone has liked. But this is after all the first time the ‘tunes and the Clipse have collaborated on a full-length project since Lord Willin’. How bad could it be?

Answer: Kinda shitty. I think we all heard the first two singles (“Mr. Me Too” and “Wamp Wamp”) and just assumed that they were shit sandwiches because they were, after all, the singles and singles have to suck balls as a rule. But, as it turns out, those two could very well be the two best tracks on the album, at least production-wise. None of the rest of these tracks are really that good and a few of them are downright grating.

Also, I never remember the Clipse rapping as much about bling bling as they do here. Parts of Hell Hath No Fury are like listening to a Big Tymers album, and there’s other unfortunate echoes of shitty southern rap throughout its runtime. Thanks to the trap hop movement, rapping about coke seems about as boring as it ever has, and it’s disheartening to hear the Clipse “borrow” slang popularized by the likes of Bun B and Paul Wall.

That said, crack rap was never really my thing anyway. It’ll be interesting to see the response to this vis a vis Lord Willin’ and some of the other recent crack rap works. For what it’s worth, Lord Willin’ > Thug Motivation 101 > Hell Hath No Fury. Again, tell me I’m crazy.

[1] See, Sickamore’s not the only one who can drop baseball references in his posts. And I don’t even watch baseball!

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