Today in Hip Hop History: August 20, 2002
Virginia-based hip hop duo Clipse, comprised of Pusha T and No Malice, released their debut collaborative album Lord Willin’ in 2002. The album was completely produced by the hip hop producer duo The Neptunes, who also released it through their own Star Trak Entertainment. The Neptunes consist of hip hop producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Lord Willin’ also features the likes of N.O.R.E., Birdman, Lil Wayne, Kelis, Jadakiss, Jermaine Dupri, and Fabolous, among others.
Although Lord Willin’ is Clipse’s debut album, they previously had a debut that was shelved titled, Exclusive Audio Footage, that was never released.
Clipse surprised the hip hop nation with their initial single from Lord Willin’, “Grindin’,” over a banger beat from The Neptunes, which introduced the world to their sound. “Grindin'” was one of the 2002 summer’s most well-known songs and launched Clipse into overnight success.
Lord Willin’ focuses mostly on tales of drug trafficking and hustlin’ in the hood, as both members of Clipse can supposedly attest to the trials and tribulations. Previous artists like Jay-Z, Mobb Deep, and Big Daddy Kane clearly influenced Clipse and the themes of the album, with its darker elements and portrayel of street life.
Lord Willin’ sold 122,000 units in its first week of release and the album became certified RIAA gold on October 1, 2002 and RIAA Platinum as of 2007. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the R&B/Hip Hop Albums Charts in 2002. Lord Willin’ remains a solid debut release for Clipse, and is indubitably their best album to date.