Every Thursday we review albums that are considered “classic” in our “Throwback Thursday Review” series. This week it’s the classic fire flames debut from one of hip hop’s greatest duos: The Clipse’s Lord Willin’. Ahhh, this was the album that started it all for me. This was the very first hip hop album that I ever listened to, and Lord Willin’ was the album that got me into the genre for the long haul. This classic LP swayed me from groups like Fall Out Boy and Rise Against, genres like alt rock and punk rock, and I finally realized that rap and hip hop is the most complete genre in terms of all the factors that go into the making of an album and the complete product that is released.
At the time of it’s release, the Clipse were pretty unknown outside of Virginia; but luckily Pusha and Malice had some pretty dope friends. Maybe you guys have heard of them…….does Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo ring any bells? Well it should because anyone who knows anything about hip hop knows that those two are a production group that go by The Neptunes. Think of 50 hot songs between 2000 and 2005, I bet The Neptunes produced at least half of them. Guys are untouchable. By the time they did Lord Willin they had a good amount of hits like Rump Shaker, I Just Wanna Love U, Southern Hospitality, Beautiful, Shake Ya Ass, I’m A Slave 4 U, Pass The Courvoisier, N*E*R*D’s In Search Of, Rock Your Body, Like I Love You, Senorita, Excuse Me Miss, and Hot in Herre. So getting them to do their whole album was suuuuuuuuuuch a huge look for them, and boy they did not disappoint. Every track was impeccably produced, especially Grindin which really pushed Clipse into the foray of rap in America. Kids all over the country were making this beat on lunch tables, buses, you name it and freestyling over it. If this track dropped in 2014 it’d get more remixes than Control. Then the brothers went on spit their incredibly dope coke raps over these bananas beats for 50 minutes of greatness. EGHCK !
Virginia – This is a real hustler’s anthem where they talk about their beloved home state where they admittedly say: “I’m from Virginia, where, ain’t shit to do but cook/Pack it up, sell it triple-price, fuck the books/Where we re-up, re-locate, we off them rooks/So when we pull up, it ain’t shit to do but look”. Unlike many rappers, these dudes are really bout it bout it
Grindin – Like previously stated, this is one of the hottest beats in hip hop history. Clearly the title is a reference to them hustling and selling coke to make money and that’s what they go back and forth rapping about. My favorite part is Pusha’s second verse:
I move ‘caine like a cripple
Balance weight through the hood, kids call me Mr. Sniffles
Other hand on my nickel
Plated whistle, one eye closed I’ll hit you
As if I was Slick Rick my aim is still an issue
Lose your soul in, whichever palm I’m holdin’
One’ll leave you frozen, the other, noddin’ and dozin’
I’m grindin’ Jack
Ma, I Don’t Love Her – Although Grindin’ has a crazy beat, the one for this song is my personal favorite off the album. It has the classic upbeat Neptunes sound; I don’t know why or what it is, but when you hear a Neptunes beat, it reminds you of summer, all while still being a dope hip hop beat, its crazy how they do it. I defy you to blast this song in the whip in the middle of July and not bob your head to the beat, you can’t. Throughout this song Pusha and Malice are trying to convince their girl’s that they aren’t cheating on them and not to believe the rumors. And Pusha, being a gentleman says “Even if I did twist her/ I promise I didn’t kiss her”, so cut him a break ladies, even if he did fuck this chick, at least he didn’t kiss her.
When The Last Time – Suprise! Another crazy beat from the Neptunes on this one. A certified club banger and this song went on to be the Clipse’s highest charting single at #19. On the hook Pharrell brags about how he can make hits and just by hearing the song, it makes chicks want to get naked.
Comedy Central – This song is a diss to all those who claim to be bout that life and rap about the drug life when they never lived that life like Pusha, Malice, or Fabolous did. They talk about how it’s hilarious seeing all these guys rap about this life they never lead,
“Pusha T (Push-a-Ton)
Push a ton of that shit that makes ya nose run [Sniffle]
Yes I’m holding, whether it’s heat or coke in
In the door panel of my 4-wheel motion
Ain’t jokin’, but I laugh how other flows convince you
It’s money, it’s funny, it’s Comedy Central”
Although he wasn’t rapping at the time, if this song dropped in 2014 it would for sure be perceived diss at Officer Ricky Rozay, the ultimate fake.
Let’s Talk About It – It wouldn’t be a hip hop album with at least one song dedicated to the almighty booty. The beckons a very important question “You got a big ass bell? Let me see you jingle it baby”. This question may seem simple, but it holds a lot of power; just listen to what Pusha had to say on this topic:
She said “We can have more fun”, I said “How can we?”
Then she brought her girl in and ate her out for me, wow (Wow!)
All night sexin’, just think, this all came from one question
Well that escalated quickly.
Throughout the rest of the song the two get their braggadocio rap on and say they either have everything one could imagine, or if they don’t have it, they have enough money to buy it.
Gangsta Lean – Another staple of hip hop is a dedication to America’s favorite plant: weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. But this is a more inventive approach to the subject than we’re used to. The weed is personified as a girl that he is in love with. And they’re so high of this dank ass bud that they literally lean a bit when they walk. I need some of that shit ASAP
All in all, I don’t know how anyone who is a fan of hip hop and doesn’t love this album. From the crazy coke raps, to the amazing Neptunes production, to some of the best metaphors in hip hop; this album is an 11/10. Fans of this album should check out the Clipse’s follow up to this album: Hell Hath No Fury, which was also a bonafide classic. Unfortunately their third and final album: Till the Casket Drops had a few highlights but label problems led to a more pop album and it was only okay. If you are feenin for more Clipse beyond those two albums, your thirst will for sure be quenched by Pusha T’s 3 mixtapes and one album, all of which are amazing. But anyway, Lord Willin is for sure a classic and a must listen for anyone who has an interest in the genre.