Two brothers out of Virginia Beach named the Clipse graced the Hip-Hop world with three great (Classics? Should we discuss?) albums and several sensational mixtapes over a seven-year period. And although their patented swagger is still alive and well every time Pusha-T picks up the mic for a G.O.O.D Music track, all we as rap-heads want is a new album featuring both of the Thornton brothers bodying Neptunes beats.
Until that day comes, it’s never a bad time to go back and re-discover what made Pusha-T and Malice so great in the first place. In classic Primer fashion, what follows is 10 quintessential tracks that new and old Clipse fans need to know.
Push and Mal have been about that life from the jump. As is the Clipse way, nothing here is glorified, but presented in a straight-forward manner; listeners can make their own judgment as they hum along to the infectious, intimidating beat. Pharrell sums up the track (and the album, and the Clipse in general) pointedly within the first 10 seconds: “It’s Virginia, n***a. We do this in broad daylight. It’s a whole different degree of homicide, n***a.”
To quote Leo DiCapprio in Django Unchained, “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention.”
The Clipse’s radio-friendly money ballad caught them some major mainstream looks without compromising their style. Over a wonderfully minimalistic Pharrell beat, the brothers Thornton brought a certain degree of lyricism that radios generally don’t vibe with. If you want to pump quality rap into your next party without getting weird stares, look no further.
3. "Keys Open Doors"
Not that selling rocks was something to laugh at in the first place, but the beat here – saints singing and some lucid bells and whistles – elevates the matter to an epic realm that few can reach. Trap music for the Dante’s Inferno fan.
4. "Ride Around Shinning"
No, you aren’t dreaming. That’s just another hypnotic Neptunes beat, providing some excellent juxtaposition to Push and Mal’s barbed lyricism.
5. "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)"
Some live, slappy-happy drums and sh*t. When they aren’t rapping about slanging and trapping, the Clipse provide some of the most progressive party anthems the genre has heard. ‘Wamp Wamp’ still sounds slightly ahead of its time. And that Slim Thug feature is much appreciated.
6. "Popular Demand (Popeyes)"
Goddamn the boy's back,
For pushing a mountain of snowcaps to avoiding the Kojak
The pioneer of the coke rap,
I'm dancing with the stars, stepping on blow doing the toe-tap
Nothing but some good-natured chest-thumping here, but once again, Clipse just do it better. Proud piano loop? Check. Lyrics that make you wanna fire up a search engine to get more familiar? Check. Cam’ron guest verse? Cheeeeeck. Hit play and get cocky.
7. "I’m Good"
Roll down the windows and enjoy life with this one. Paying homage to Ice Cube’s classic “Today Was A Good Day” in both content and lyrics (“Today is a good day/ice cubes on the chest”), an infectious hook, bouncy, optimistic beat and great lyrics make for one of rap’s best “happy place” tracks.
8. "Roll With The Winners"
Donning their Re-Up Gang alias (Clipse plus Ab Liva and Sandman; if anything, this is Clipse +), some of the best tracks in Clipse history came from their incredible We Got It 4 Cheap series. How this track never dominated urban radio stations the country over remains a mystery, mixtape be damned.
Tough and cocky, thump this in your whip before your next time out and conquer the night.
9. "Daytona 500"
Another great We Got It 4 Cheap track, Clipse and friends flex over an elastic, looping, bass-y beat. Which is just a fancy way of saying “you should hit play.”
10. "Comedy Central"
It's no joke when three artists in their prime kick vivid coke raps equipped with punchlines.