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Lord Willin'

by Clipse

Released August 20, 2002 via Star Trak / Arista Records

Reviewed August 11, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Grindin’ (69%), Ma, I Don’t Love Her (35%), Virginia (31%)

Clipse, the duo of brothers Pusha T and No Malice, paired with The Neptunes, the duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, might as well have qualified as a group of their own. First working on what was intended to be Clipse’s debut, Exclusive Audio Footage—an album that was set for release in 1999, but got shelved and never officially released until 2022—the pairs worked in tandem and made absolute magic throughout the 2000s. Williams and Hugo led the production front on Clipse’s first three records (counting the shelved debut), and handled almost two-thirds of their fourth (third released) and final album. Virginia might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of hip-hop powerhouses, but The Neptunes and Clipse made that the case from the second that Lord Willin’ dropped in 2002. The Neptunes brought both flash and grit in their beatwork, bringing bounce through the use of funky keys and digital synths alongside some hard-hitting drums. It brought an unexpected sense of pop sensibility to an album that was largely dominated by Pusha T and Malice’s overindulgence in lyrics about drug dealing and general bravado. Boasting in their riches and the coke dealings that serve as the foundation for their earnings, both emcees float across each and every single beat with a “lovable asshole” personality that few could beat. Often complemented by Pharrell on hooks, Lord Willin’ further leans into this balancing act of fun, catchy, pop rap juxtaposed with raw, real, and gritty street rap. It’s splitting hairs to argue over their equally great follow-up album, Hell Hath No Fury, but there shouldn’t be any debate that Clipse and The Neptunes crafted an all-time debut with Lord Willin’. – Dominick (9/10)

Dominick: 9/10 | Jacques: 9/10 | Alan: 8.5/10

Jared: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8/10 | Daniel: 7.4/10

Community Reviews:

So underrated and underappreciated. It's not just the innovative production throughout, or Pusha and No Malice's ridiculous chemistry and ability to conjure these sinister soundscapes with ease; it's the fact that they never settle. Each track is so focused on a new idea whilst being so sharp, it allows the listener to find a new track every listen. Iconic record. – @andre_vital_pardue (8.6/10)

The brotherly rap duo of Pusha T and No Malice sent shockwaves amongst hip-hop landscape with their debut, becoming a commercial and critical success 20 years ago. They teamed up with the Neptunes to create an hour long rapfest with fun, vibrant production and boastful bars revolving around drug dealing and sex. Whereas the hype nature of the beats excite and probably helped contribute to the album's success, it sadly limits the rapper brothers ability to delve deeper into the emotional repercussions of their considerably bodacious lifestyle. Regardless, a great record – @tylerwilliam.s (8.3/10)


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