Clipse, the first group to sign onto the Neptunes Star Trak label, are one of the best acts of the year. Their debut album, "Lord Willin'", has a lot of good and weak points but still comes out as a VERY solid debut. Malice and Pusha T draw you into their raps with off the hook rhymes and the dopest of beats provided by their mentors, the Neptunes. The first single off of the album, "Grindin'", basically tells their whole life story (drug dealing) in front of a grungy and very addictive beat. Most of Clipse's debut set is made up of songs like this. "Comedy Central" (no, it's not funny) which features DJ Clue's new rapper Fabolous, is a great track. Made up of the same formula as "Grindin'", it tells the game of dealin' while keeping it ultra tight with the layed-back beat and Fabolous's slow paced rhymes. "Virgina" is another "Grindin'" look alike, even though it has a more uptempo beat and deals with different subjects other than drug dealing. Basically, the only other "Grindin'" clones are the two remixes of the song itself. The regular remix is great, not only the excellent qualities of the original, but with off the hook rhymes by N.O.R.E and the Big Tymers. The 'Selector' remix is not worth your time. Yes it does have that good beat but the only people rapping are those foreign artists like Sean Paul.
A completely different type of rapping is shown on the more uptempo numbers of this album. "Cot Damn" is a great track (that guy that is featured in this CANNOT RAP). With Pharrell belting out those two title words, he sets up the chorus perfect for Pusha and Malice to kill the rest of it. "Ma, I Don't Love Her" is an uptempo pop-like single featuring Bad Boy's queen of R&B, Faith Evans (i have a feeling this will be released). "When The Last Time", the 2nd single released from the album, is a good club and party track, a perfect follow-up to the 1st single. "Ego" is just plain good, the awesome beat followed up by the kick a** rapping totally makes this a track worth listening to. "Let's Talk About It", a previously released single from Jermaine Dupri which features Clipse is the most upbeat single on the album. (NOTE: You can find this song on Jermaine's album "Instructions". You can also find the remix of it on the So So Def album "So So Def: Definition Of A Remix".) The last uptempo number you'll hear is "Gangsta Lean", where Pharrell of the Neptune's literally sings his soul out. This is one of those softer songs as well.
But, out of all the good songs on "Lord Willin'", my personal favorite has to be "I'm Not You", which features LOX rappers Jadakiss and Styles P. This is a tale of growing up rough and forfelling your dreams, which in this case is drug dealing for Malice and Pusha T. (That guy that is in this song along with 'Cot Damn', why the heck did they ruin half of this song with him, he CANNOT RAP.)
Even though there are so many good songs on "Lord Willin'", i gave it 4 stars because of the constant repeating of the same exact thing on almost every song. The message Clipse is trying to get through is: WE DO NOT LIKE TO RAP, WE LIKE TO SELL DRUGS, SO IF WE HAVE TO RAP, WE ARE GOING TO RAP ABOUT SELLING DRUGS.
I say Clipse did an alright job for their debut, let's hope Clipse's 2nd album will hold steady the awesome beats and phat rhymes that made them popular in the first place.