NEWS

Album review: 'Til the Casket Drops,' by the Clipse

Patrick Varine

The Clipse's "Hell Hath No Fury" was hailed as a minimalist masterpiece, full of tense, twitchy beats that maintained a bit of mentor Pharrell's signature gloss and paired up well with Pusha and Malice's razor-edge crime narratives.

"Til the Casket Drops" picks up where "Hell" left off, and while it keeps the paranoid edge of its predecessor, there is a definite pop expansiveness to its beats, which come courtesy of (as always) the Neptunes, but also DJ Khalil and Sean C.

Things occasionally get quite a bit slower than the midtempo, icy rhymes on "Hell." Tracks like "Door Man" and "Champion" rock and sway with the swagger of rappers from farther south. But the dense clusters of minor-key synthesizers keep things very much Clipse-oriented.

"I'm Good" is probably the closest thing to a "Clipse party jam" you're likely to hear, with glam synth lines and vocal "yeahs"; "Never Will It Stop" hits hard and features a nice guest turn by Re-Up Gang associate Ab Liva, and the Kanye-West-assisted single "Kinda Like a Big Deal" rocks courtesy of a clickety-clack beat and a muddy guitar line.

"Casket" doesn't grab you by the throat the same way as "Hell," but it's also got a lot more accessible beats, while continuing the Clipse's tradition of dagger-sharp street-crime braggadocio.

Hear samples from "Til the Casket Drops" at Amazon.com.

Sussex Countian