B. Cox looks back at Virginia rap duo Clipse's major label debut album Lord Willin' as it turns 20. The group, made up of brothers Gene "Malice" and Terrence "Pusha T" Thornton grew up in Virginia Beach and were close associates of producer Pharrell Williams growing up. After securing their first record deal with Elektra Records in 1996, their first album Exclusive Audio Footage which was scheduled to come out in 1999, was shelved when their first single failed to catch onto the charts.
In 2001, Pharrell, then a successful producer as one-half of The Neptunes (with Chad Hugo), signed Clipse to his Star Trak Imprint. With an album completely produced by the Neptunes, Malice and Pusha T spit hard life tales of hustling and drug dealing over the innovative production. The first single "Grindin" became their most recognizable hit and became a classic known for its infectious drums and the duo's street wise hustle lyrics.
The album was certified gold and established Clipse as an up and coming group to watch out for. It also helped to establish a new brand of "coke rap" in the 2000s that would become popularized and continued by some of their contemporaries later in the decade.
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Sterogum-Lord Willin' Turns 20
Soul In Stereo: Ranking the Best Songs on Clipse's "Lord Willin'"
Genius: Ever Since "Lord Willin'", Clipse Have Been Grappling With The Sins Of Their Past
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