The Clipse - Lord Willin'

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Virginia is the state for lovers. So, it's rather fitting that heads in Roanoke, Richmond and over in Newport News really adore their hip hop. But it wasn't until Missy Elliott and Timbaland boinged and zonked their way into the mainstream conscious that they truly had an MC to call their own. They finally have another. The Clipse, the gritty, powder-obsessed duo of Malice and Pusha T, is anxious to do for VA what Outkast and Goodie have done for GA--put their state permanently on the rap map.

"Grindin'," the team's sizzling Neptunes-produced monster, isn't their debut to the world, it just seems that way. Actually, the underground smash from a few years back, "The Funeral," was the first time most folks ever heard the Clipse. But for some reason, that cut never got love in clubs outside of Virginia Beach. The 2002 gutter anthem, "Grindin'," on the other hand, could get an old folks home in Austin, Texas, crunk. Now if for some odd reason that song's thunderous claps and ferocious clamors don't do it for you, there are plenty of other head-nodding opportunities orchestrated by those kooky Neptunes, including the hometown chant "Virginia," the string-ripped "Gangsta Lean," "I'm Not You," with the LOX, and the Fabolous-joined "Comedy Central."

The only thing not really funny with Lord Willin' is its content. Seemingly having a past filled with more drug selling than Walgreen's, Pusha and Malice can't stop talking about bricks, ounces and baking cake. Every song (including two remixes of "Grindin'") touches on some aspect of weight moving, and the shit grows a bit taxing halfway through. But you won't hear anybody in VA complaining about the lyrics. They're just happy to have someone from their side of the tracks--someone not named Timbo or Missy at least--making a lil' cream.

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