Hell Hath No Fury – The Review
November 18, 2006
Hell Hath No Fury is one of the best named albums ever. This is a fiercely pissed off album. It all but dares you to crack a smile as you listen to it. Everything is subterranean, glaringly focused and totally airtight. No room to breathe, for the verses, for the listeners or participants in the drug world that is so vividly talked about.
The only beats with any levity on this album are those for “Mr. Me Too” and “Dirty Money”. The first is a minimalist masterpiece in the mold of and on par with Snoop’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and the other, not much busier features a repetitive but entertaining little guitar thrill and the words dirty money, dirty money whispered over and over again. “Mr. Me Too” is hella fun, and “Dirty Money” isn’t too bad either, but this is not nearly enough reprieve from the dense claustrophobia of the rest of the album. “Wamp Wamp” features a relentless assault of steel drums and other percussion that whip up an orgy of fury and motion. It’s a fitting background for some of the album’s most inventive and enjoyable lyrics:
“No hotter flow dropper, since Poppa, you penny ante niggas see I know copper. Left the game on a high note, flow opera.” – Pusha
“I got the wamp, wamp, when I move it, it’s still damp. Mildewish, I heat it, it turns glueish, cools to a tight wad, the pyrex is Jewish!” – Malice
“Ain’t Cha,” has insistent drums, furious pacing and chimes but still isn’t as amazing as “Wamp Wamp.” The opener, “We Got It For Cheap, “is a percussive, hollow drum led declaration of intent allowing the Clipse to review the game as it is and their place in it. Every beat on the album but the aforemenntioned though, wallows underground. Even when enjoyable, like on “Hello New World’s” distorted synth goodness, these are not cheerful beats and while that is a sign of the Clipse unwillingness to compromise and mindset as the album was made, they definitely drag the album down.
I’ll get to the point. What is wrong with this album is it’s joylessness. The Clipse are XXL as rappers and lyricists. The hunger is zombie like in it’s intensity, the flow is opera (can’t say it better), their intelligence and dedication to metaphor and grace in expression is Shakespearean. But they hang all of this talent around too spare a frame. Even fan boys of lyricism need real hooks. Repeating “Keys open doors” like a tourette’s sufferer over a funeral beat does not entertainment make. Like I said, lyrically all these tracks are unquestionable – “Bitch never cook my coke. Why? Never trust a whore with my child. At you make believe rappers I smile, CanalStreeting my style.” – Pusha . See what I mean? There’s humor here, but it’s all very black humor. Blast this track out your ride and folks will get it twisted and start looking around for a hearse.
Where are the anthems? Even the R.E.U.P.G.A.N.G. chant that held the WGIFC mixtapes together is mostly missing from this album, leaving you nothing to sing along to or help you connect to the razor sharp rhymes. And with beats like “Trill’s” fucked upsynths leaching the joy out of your soul, there is very little to enjoy as you coast from ultra sharp boast to ultra sharp threat.
Let no one tell you Hell Hath No Fury is mediocre. Everyone of those beats I just dissed is a magnificent work, technically proficient and exciting in its own way. They’re just frequently impossible to enjoy. The album is furiously conceived, impeccably executed and way ahead of the game in many ways. It is also totally uncompromising, refusing to pander in any way, even if that means refusing to entertain.
Anyway, I think the next Clipse album should recorded in record time and be ready by say, next Summer. Their skills are at or close to their peak and I don’t think any other rappers in the game have the talent or intelligence to make a better album than these guys are capable of. They just need to keep the imperative that their work is entertainment. It’s not enough to make fierce and truthful music. It must also somehow keep the audience engaged and entertained. They did thatsuccesfully by jacking other people’s enormous beats on the WGITFC mixtapes and can do it again if they accept that this album was a nice therapy session and they still need to make the album that will win the people.
Oh and the last thing is subject matter. Eventually the Clipse are going to have to move away from cocaine rap. I can’t wait for them to figure and surmount that challenge. They made a really good start in that direction on “Hello New World:
“I ain’t coming at you, quote, unquote, famous rapper, who turned positive, try to tell you how to live, but this information, I must pass to the homies, if hustling is a must, be Sosa, not Tony. We can all shine, I want your wrists lit like mine, neck and ears, I want it lit like mine, foreign cars, stick shift, six gears like mine, anything that keep momma from crying, visiting you behind that glass while you awaiting sentencing, cause the judge is saying life, like it ain’t someone’s life” – Malice
Magnificent. I can’t wait for the next time.
UPDATE: This, actually, is the definitive album review