The worst shit ever, if you don’t live in Haiti, is when you receive an email from some publicist douche hounding you to review an album you don’t even have.
It’s not necessarily my intention here to put anyone on blast, but one of the more recent and one of the most egregious examples of this was Till the Casket Drops, the most recent album by the Clipse. This actually took place a few weeks ago, perhaps during Kwanzaa, but there hasn’t been shit to hit the Internets in weeks now, other than random throwaway bullshit like that mixtape of Big Pooh from Little Brother rapping over those ’08-era Black Milk, Prince beats, and that Wu odds and ends collection put together by DJ Mathematics, which I might actually have to “cop.” Aside from the Wizard of Poetry, the Wu have been on a bit of a roll lately.
I was reminded of the Clipse just now, when I caught the video for their song “Freedom,” which is the proverbial tits. And it got me to thinking I might actually need to check out Till the Casket Drops. I wasn’t gonna bother, because that last album they put out wasn’t worth a shit, and everything they put out in the interim made it sound as if they’d fallen off even further. I know Hell Hath No Fury received the coveted XXL rating, usually only reserved for Lauryn Hill albums, in this very magazine, but I’m pretty sure that was the work of a rogue white staffer, David Mays-style. Then-editor in chief Elliott Wilson later went on to dis the album, in the blog he used to write for this site. And you know it’s every day he appears to have an opinion on anything other than his own greatness. He must have felt duped. As I once mentioned on this site, I enjoyed the production on the first single from the next album, “Kinda Like a Big Deal,” but the Clipse’ raps on that weren’t very strong. People were seriously debating if they’d been outrapped by Kanye West. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the album.
But then there’s this song “Freedom.” It could be that they purposely put one good song on the album, to dupe people with discerning tastes into thinking the rest of the album is that good. The rest of the album could just be a buncha Neptunes bullshit. Or should I just say a buncha songs produced by the Neptunes? The dead giveaway is towards the end of the first verse, when the younger one says something to the effect of, “I finally wrote a verse good enough for bloggers to jerk off to.” No homo. In that verse, it’s not like he’s talking about anything other than the same shit he always talks about, so I can only assume that what he meant is that this is the first time in ages that he put a significant amount of effort into his songwriting. Let me know if you find any flaws with my thought process here.
If only I had a copy of the album, I could find out for myself.
Here’s the thing: It’s not like I’m upset that they didn’t think enough of me to send me a copy of the album, or that I couldn’t steal the album very easily, if I wanted to. It’s just that the promo cycle for this album has been so rife with bullshit, and I’m surprised that, as long as I’ve been around now, people would even approach me with some shit like that. Apparently, I haven’t diligent enough in my effort to keep the honest ones honest.
Let me explain. With an album like the Clipse’ Till the Casket Drops, there isn’t even a such thing as a promo copy, at least as far as I know. These labels don’t want to run the risk of mailing CDs, or god forbid emailing mp3s to critics, lest the shit end up getting uploaded to the Internets. As if the shit’s not gonna end up on the Internets anyway. What year is this, 1999? That isn’t even one decade ago. That’s two decades ago! Plus, they eventually figured out that, if you forced critics to review an album after only listening to it once or twice at a listening party, in a room full of thirsty-looking dreaded n-words and chicken wings, the reviews would come out that much more positive. Even if the album clearly sucks balls, it’s not like someone’s gonna stand there, with the artist and the TIs right there in the room, and say as much. Even if a critic did have the sheer balls to dis an album they heard at a party like that, they just wouldn’t get invited to the next party.
As I stated at the outset, it wasn’t my goal here to single out the Clipse. Most if not all major label artists these days do this shit, and I do kinda feel bad abut singling out the Clipse, since their albums sell as if they contain some audio form of the human papillomavirus. And they do deserve credit for soliciting the opinion of a credible music critic, namely myself. The problem is, they only did so a while after the album hit stores, and even then they didn’t bother to send me a copy. Was I supposed to buy the album myself, or was that a tacit permission to steal from them? To think, I could go to jail for trying to do one of these artists a favor. I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on here: The album underperformed in the marketplace, and now they’re desperate for any pub they can get on the Internets, even if it’s from Bol. Well, they’ll just have to settle for this.