‘Lord Willin’ 14 Years Later: Ranking The Best Verses From Clipse’s Debut Album

For years, the general consensus has been that Malice was a far better rapper than Pusha T from the outset. I’ve even argued as much, making the point that Pusha was the weaker sibling until We Got It for Cheap: Vol. 2, where his ascent as the better half coincided with Malice backing off from rap due to his religion. Even Pusha once alluded to his brother being the better of the two in an interview with Vice.

“He just came into my room and gave me his book that he wrote,” Pusha T said. “And I was like, ‘Wow, okay, so now you wrote a book.’ And in my mind, I’m just thinking, ‘As my older brother, you know I can’t write no book, like you’re just trying to stunt on me once again or do something you know I can’t do.”

Today, for the 14th anniversary of the classic album Lord Willin’, I thought it’d be fun to revisit and answer the question of which Thorton brother had the most impressive verse on each track. I went through each song and picked out who had the best verse and what my favorite lines. The overall winner is located at the end of the article and the answer may surprise you.

1. “Intro”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best lines: “Playas we ain’t the same, I’m into ‘caine and guns/Chopard with the fishes, make the face lift numb”

First impressions are long-lasting and the younger Thornton brother immediately stole the show on the album’s intro. Pusha might be the younger brother but he rapped with the steez of a veteran who has zero fear of his older sibling. His verse oozes a confidence that Malice just doesn’t match.

2. “Young Boy”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best lines“See in my household it was quite unique/Playing hide and seek you might find a key”

Malice’s storytelling wins this one. The visual of a kid playing hide and seek and actually find a kilo of cocaine is as descriptive as it is hilarious. Gene schooled Pusha on some of the finer points of nuance and painting pictures.

3. “Virginia”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best lines: “I tried being humble, humble get no respect/Now the first sign of trouble, that’s a hole up in your neck/Plus, what I look like spendin’ my nights in jail/I could never be a thug, they don’t dress this well”

Can’t really go wrong with either verse on this one, but I didn’t want any ties so I sided with Malice. The menace of his verse is palpable and at the time it was originally recorded, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he might actually put a hole in someone’s neck.

4. “Grindin'”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best Lines: “I move ‘caine like a cripple/Balance weight through the hood, kids call me Mr. Sniffles”

It’s amazing how this beat never seems to age. Witty punchlines and arrogance were the order of the day and those words fit Pusha like tailored Givenchy clothing.

5. “Cot Damn”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best Lines: “I understand that the envy is part of the game/But make no mistake, you and I, we are not the same”

Malice’s delivery was super strong, giving every line additional weight that no exercise at Jenny Craig would be able to knock off. He really got in his bag here, mixing lyrical threats with bone-crushing punchlines and that’s why he got the nod over Push.

6. “Ma I Don’t Love Her”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best Lines: “And even if I did twist her/I promise I didn’t kiss her/Won’t shit touchy feely/Grudge on the floor like Mister did to Celie/No respect shown”

That Color Purple line just stole the show for me. Granted, it might not be an appropriate thing to laugh at but I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling at the visual of Pusha begrudgingly smashing a young lady on the carpet in that manner. The younger brother Thornton is basically saying, “even if I cheated, so what? I didn’t make love to her so it should be okay, right?”

7. “When The Last Time”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best Lines: “We was moving bodies before we hit the party/Before the DJ started cutting, I was already fucking”

Another one of those “toss ups” that I gave to Pusha because he had my favorite couplets on the song. In addition to the above line, “I wonder if it’s my “Whip Appeal”/or my Babyface” was equally slick. Pusha’s “Whip Appeal” was an impressive triple entendre, as he referenced the S&M line from earlier, was talking about the Babyface song and also alluding to his very nice car. Just sensational.

8. “Ego”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best Lines: “Even if it’s talk cheap/You know I can’t sleep on his word/Had to show him that I heard/All that duct-tape-tie-up talk put in reverse/Now it’s him who’s in a bind on the account of his words”

A song full of tough guy talk, primarily funny because both brothers are essentially saying “I feel threatened so it’s time for you to go.” Pusha gets the nod for his equal mixture of threats and hilarity.

9. “Comedy Central”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best Lines: “I never front, like I’m something I’m not/But being broke, well that’s just something I’m not/Y’all talk with hatred, but I live off that/And I lived off cocaine, way ‘fore I lived off rap”

Another hotly contested song between the two. I gave Malice the edge for the above lines because how it was delivered and how the beat cut off the make the end of the rhyme stand out.

10. “Let’s Talk About It”

Best Thorton: Malice

Best Lines: “I ain’t change the game hash, you know the name as/Malice in my wrist, like shattered stain glass/I generate them Franklin’s and Grant’s/Each ear look like a halogen lamp”

If there was a weak song on this album, “Let’s Talk About It” would probably receive the vote. Fortunately, the rapping salvaged it from being a total sore spot. Malice’s visual of walking down the street with halogen lamps on his ear saved the day.

11. “Gangsta’ Lean”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best Lines: “The cheeba got me in a slum sleeper/But when I try to leave her I just find out that it’s cheaper to keep her”

Malice wins because he’s rapping so convincingly about weed I forgot this guy wasn’t talking about a woman.

12. “I’m Not You”

Best Thornton: Malice

Best Lines: The whole damn verse!

Malice’s verse is top 5 in rap history and I’ll be happy to fade anybody who disagrees.

13. “Grindin’ Remix”

Best Thornton: Pusha T

Best Lines: “Playa looka here, I’m great in the kitchen like Corning cookware/Uncle Jemima, with my braids wrapped/And 3-minute recipes for cookin’ flapjacks”

A re-match on the remix finds Pusha once again edging out his older brother. Amazingly, he managed to spit something even meaner than he did the first time and while Malice doesn’t get left behind, he just couldn’t keep up.

Total Score: Malice – 7, Pusha T – 6