CD Review: Clipse, Til the Casket Drops (with video)

One is tempted to quote the entire opening salvo on Virginia rap duo Clipse's new album — Til the Casket Drops, out this Tuesday on Columbia Records — to give you a sense of the themes MCs (and brothers) Pusha T and Malice are stressing this time around, but an excerpt will have to do: "Music's been nothing more than a self-made prison / I've taken inmate losses at the hands of this one / My pen's been the poison to family and friendship / Now it's time to mend shit / Time to bring closure to / The clear conscience of Pusha is long overdue." For a group that earned their rep delivering the most brutal and inventive lyrics about selling crack ever recorded, the new tone is startling. And while Clipse dismisses message-driven hip-hop ("I hate conscious rap"), throughout Casket they flesh out their nihilistic get-money braggadocio with heartfelt rhymes about imprisoned comrades and hanging with the kids.

They've also brightened up their sound.