On August 20, 2002, Virginia rap duo Clipse dropped their first classic LP, Lord Willin', a hip-hop album packed with some of the most potent coke raps ever put on wax.
10 years later and a lot has changed. Both members of Clipse, Pusha T and Malice, still rap. However, while Pusha’s coke-influenced style hasn't changed much, Malice has found God, and only raps about righteous subjects.
Life+Times caught up with Pusha to reflect on the Lord Willin' album 10 years later. During the interview, Pusha drops some dope little tidbits about the project. Speaking on the LP's album cover, which you can see above, Pusha says:
"I wanna say that my brother came up with the cover. We were tryin’ to do something that represented the title really well, but we wanted to have something along the lines of the [“Sugar Shack”] painting in “Good Times.” That’s how we decided to do a drawing. Courtney Walter was our art director at the time—she sought out the painter."
One of the album's most famous tracks is "Intro," where both rappers announce their styles to the world. Speaking on that song, Pusha says:
"Whatever you hear first sets the tone of the album. It was really about establishing identity, and, like, putting our flag in the ground. We basically wanted people to understand and know where we were coming from—no one had ever seen this side of Virginia before. We knew that this music was a bit newer. Even though we had The Neptunes on our side and they were everything at the time, our criteria for The Clipse was outside of what The Neptunes were doing. Our first record out was “Grindin’."
Pusha also spoke on "Grindin," the album's first single and the song that launched the Clipse into another stratosphere. Apparently, the two were moments away from losing the song to one Jay-Z:
"I didn’t, but it was a record that I knew was gonna be way too innovative. I think it was probably the first time I rewrote a record — and a record that me and my brother honestly rewrote a couple of times — just because it was unorthodox, it was new. We were like, 'Wait a minute, where does the beat start? Where’s the verse? Where’s the hook at?' It really threw us for a loop.
The way it was presented to me…I was actually home and Pharrell was in the studio and he called me and he was like, 'Listen. Get up here right now. Get up here right now — I’ve got this record and if you’re not up here in 15 minutes I’m just giving it to JAY Z. I am. I’m giving it to him. If you’re not here in 15 minutes…I know you’re home. You’re home. You’re home. Your house is 10 minutes from here. That means you’ve got five minutes to get ready and get over here. If not, I’m giving it to Jay.' I couldn’t really deal with that. And I was there, needless to say, in 13 minutes (laughs)."
Cool interview, man. Now we think we're going to blast some Lord Willin'.