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  • Interview: Clipse

    Mon, 18 Jan 2010 07:59:24

    Interview: Clipse - Clipse's Pusha T sits down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and <i>Dolor</i> author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about how to keep things hood with a hook...

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    Clipse aren't ever going to stop.

    Virginia brothers Malice and Pusha T relentlessly spit pure fire on their fourth full-length album, Til the Casket Drops. While flexing some serious muscle on infectious hooks, Malice and Pusha T keep things "hood" over the course of the record. "Freedom" is something of a true ghetto anthem in the vein of The Fugees. However, Clipse can also get booties shaking on the likes of "Kinda Like a Big Deal," featuring Mr. Kanye West. This is the kind of hip hop you can bump when you're thinking or when you're drinking…

    After an incendiary performance on Jimmy Fallon with The Roots, Pusha T sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to talk about how to write songs that make girls cry and how to write songs that make 'em dance in this exclusive interview.

    Til the Casket Drops definitely has a cinematic feel. If you were to compare it to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

    Damn, man [Laughs]! You know what? I don't want to say a movie because so many guys have done that, but I'd like people to see our growth on the album and that we still give you every aspect of the streets. It's still a street album, but it's also an emotional album at the same time. I feel like the record itself gives you that emotional side of the streets—the pitfalls, the things that happen, what goes bad and the turmoil from a family standpoint. You see it from the point of view of your friends—losing friends to jail and so on and so forth and losing relationships. It's also the competitive nature of being the street guy versus the industry guy. I don't know what movie goes with that. I can't say that, because there are two different perspectives on the album—mine and Malice's. I feel like there's a lot of remorse on Til the Casket Drops. I don't know what movie's like that. You tell me, what do you think?

    It's probably most akin to a Martin Scorsese flick from the '70s like Taxi Driver. You get to experience darkness, but there are also some funny moments. You get every aspect of the streets like Mean Streets.

    I look at it, and I think of movies like Carlito's Way. Even when Carlito's coming home and he's trying to go straight—he has that understanding now. I see a lot of that understanding in Malice. The album has two different perspectives. For me, you can't really put that into one movie [Laughs].

    You pack a lot of emotions into 13 songs. Would you say it's a very "human" album?

    Definitely human and definitely emotional! That's the consensus of everybody, especially people who know us. Girls will be like, "Damn, why do I feel like crying?" [Laughs] I'm like, "I don't know, baby." People will tell me, "To know ya'll and then to hear what you're saying on the record, I know that this hurt." I think our lives have been like an open book. You know a lot of what's going on in it anyway.

    Every song is connected, but nothing sounds the same.

    That has a lot to do with the production. We always put The Neptunes under the gun when it comes to making an album for us—as far as not only being different from everything that they've put out, but being different from everything they've given us. I don't want two songs that sound alike I can't afford it. Each song has to be something. You have to give me colors. I don't mean just blue and violet; you've got to give me blue, fucking red and yellow [Laughs]. You've got to give me colors that are different. That's what we did with them. We branched out with DJ Kahlil and LV. Those guys also just have that same raw energy that made a really good mesh. I was really happy with it.

    It's a really deep record too. It's easy to find something new every time you listen to it.

    I appreciate it!

    Was there a moment that you feel is really representative of this process?

    To me, "Freedom" encompasses everything. I think that song tells you everything. "Freedom" lets you know. "Life Change" lets you know. "Champion" is also one of those songs that gives you that feeling of where we are.

    What's the story behind "Life Change?"

    I love the record myself! It was something that Malice and Pharrell really gravitated towards. Malice and Pharrell had a conversation that spawned that record, and I came in on the tail end of that one. You have to tell every side of the story. We always have that record at the end of the album that sums up the whole thing.

    Listeners walk away on a positive note.

    I definitely think so. I think "Life Change" is very inspirational. It just gives you that feeling. It's all about the music for me. I'm in New York City right now, and I can't wait to go home. I have the coolest little writing journal. I love to just blackout in it, and I can't wait! It's like everything. I'm just taking on all beats and all types of shit and just spilling. That's all I want to do.

    Do you handwrite your lyrics?

    Hell yeah! To me, not too many people are good at freestyling. Everyone always talks about how they freestyle lyrics. Freestyling lyrics with no depth is stupid to me. That's corny. I can do that. I've done it, and it's never as detailed as it could be. Someone like Jay-Z that does that has mastered it. People try to mimic, but they don't understand, you can mimic the process but you have to master it to have that type of effect. I freestyle melodies. I'll find a melody by just vibing with a record, but not actual lyrics. That's a puzzle.

    Rick Florino
    01.18.09


    Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here



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