If you know nothing about the Clipse, then know that after trudging through label oatmeal –it was lumpy and murky, after all- and enduring all forms of industry politics, the Clipse are not angry, but armed; armed with regret, promise, and a chilling lesson that touches on the finer points of crack dealing and the troubles of trying to renew accidental fame.
More Fury, Less Remorse
With a back story that’s more suited for America’s Most Wanted than a Barbara Walters Special, viewers or guests should not be permitted, let alone asked to dare chime in on a story unique to only the owners of the experience.
Hell Hath No Fury is not as much about the Clipse as it is about the competition, circumstances, and character of their journey, respectively; it’s not about you, but you the artless imitator (“Mr. Me Too”), not about the money, but the source of that money (“Dirty Money”), not just about the vehicle, but about “ridin’ around shinin’ while I can afford it” (“Ride Around Shinin'”). It’s this almost care-free, reckless yet calculated agenda that puts the Clipse in a different element of which allows them opportunity and capacity to avow their purist lyrical leanings on “Momma, I’m So Sorry,” with basic rhyme patterns: “how the f**k you tryna chatter.”
Clipse–Hypochondriacs or Rapping Nomads?
Even, when they should be comfortable, they conduct nervous inquiries (“Funny how my neighbors think it’s not where I’m suppose to be…they think I’m cuter in jail“) or provide parachutes, “you ain’t gotta love me just be convincin’,” for their falling concern. In fact, these brothers are never comfortable, whether they play hypochondriacs (“They be thinking nice car, nice crib /I be thinking how long will these n****s let me live?”) on “Nightmares” or rapping nomads on “Keys Open Doors,” the urgency is dripping because the frustration has evaporated. Emotionally, the Clipse succeed feigning rock-hard focus by using matter-of-fact metaphors (“Peel money rolls until our thumbs get the paper cuts“) and maximizing the impact of their words.
The Neptune Effect
When they arrive at the intersection of action and reason, they talk about how they haven’t “spent a rap dollar in 3 years” and quickly, you learn that this album is not an emotional or sentimental keepsake, but a bottle of poison–that is too powerful and packaged too short and, really, too good. Pharrell and Chad (The Neptunes) don’t really provide epic big-diving beats; instead they disrespect orchestral composition with a complete perversion of technical precision by slapping eerie, wacky household sounds–clanging pots, screaming kettles, falling pans, and clicking oven timers–to the back of each song. It works perfectly. Just when the journey has listeners ready to start knocking on the doors of those despicable Jive executives, the album slips from your fingers, off somewhere with both brothers where it needs to be–in the owners’ hands.
The Bottom Line
Hell Hath No Fury is proof to fans and more importantly to the Clipse, themselves, of where they have been. Still, for a journey it seems more like a trip, (a trip, even) that has the Clipse testifying against all their mistakes and missteps all while sounding terrific and treacherous.
The album and, even, the Clipse, become the proverbial footnote to every no-name-turned-successful artist: you may just end up like the Clipse. And, while that recalls images of Pusha T threatening to lynch company executives, it also presents a more desirable alternative: you too may end up with an album as good as this one.