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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

“I Guess Life In Jail’s But A Manicure Away”

posted by on February 19 at 12:51 PM

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RE-UP GANG
We Got It for Cheap Vol. 3: Spirit of Competition
(Re-Up Records)

****


Did you get the memo? Live nigga rap is back. The first two We Got It for Cheap mixtapes were manna from heaven, emergency food drops of more dope-related rhyme from street-hop masters Clipse, something to tide the fiends over till the feast that would be their forever-delayed sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury. That album finally dropped amid a white flurry of critical snow jobs, but, despite being a stunning follow-up, it didn’t find sales equal to the respect.

Which brings us to the third installment, leaked on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the first WGIFC mixtape credited to the Re-Up Gang (Clipsters Pusha T and Malice combined with Philly’s Ab-Liva and Sandman) rather than just Clipse, and rightfully so. As opposed to the sheer no-brainer supremacy of the brothers Thornton on previous installments, here Liva and Sandman easily match hardcore rap’s most fearlessly lyrical duo at every turn with a startling barrage of withering wordplay. Clipse deal in their only real subject matter—cocaine and all its attendant difficulties/rewards—with language and flow so graceful, vibrant, and imaginary that it makes rap’s most tired premise sparkle with originality.

But while WGIFC1 was aiight and WGIFC2 was a stone classic of hyperliterate coke-rhyme, both were the very definition of “hungry.” The most recent chapter, though, reveals a certain ennui, a bitterness about the success that’s constantly eluded them despite no shortage of Arctic Monkeys–type hype. Their rhymes—particularly Malice’s—have them (temporarily?) downshifted to glaring from the wings, rather than devouring the set: “I can’t wait for Skateboard to save me/My house in default, his house paisley/He’s not at fault, no, not vaguely/He’s on a yacht somewhere with Jay-Z.”

The fact is, Clipse & Co. have been consistently spoiling their fans with the kind of diesel-grade product that few else in this postskills rap landscape are distributing these days. Even on their worst day—which WGIFC3 certainly is not—one whiff of Re-Up’s raw will have your whole face numb.

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Download it here.

RSS icon Comments

1

The one thing I think is completely lacking from Vol. 3, that Vol. 1, and especially Vol. 2 had, is the inspirational, ass shakin' tracks? Where's "Zen" and "Hate It or Love It"?

Posted by Casey Catherwood | February 19, 2008 1:21 PM
2

yeah, they went kinda dark on this one...a lot of old Swizz Beats tracks and what not..

Posted by larar | February 19, 2008 1:42 PM
3

Nice. Ice. Lar.

Posted by BenS | February 19, 2008 6:22 PM

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