From the Vault...


The Neptunes
"The Neptunes Present... Clones"

© Star Trak/Arista Records

Year of Release: 2003

track listing
  • Intro
  • Light Your A**
    On Fire--
    Busta Rhymes
  • Blaze Of Glory--
  • It Wasn't Us--
  • Frontin'--
  • Good Girl--
    Vanessa Marquez
  • If--
  • Hot--
    Rosco P. Coldchain
  • It Blows My Mind--
    Snoop Dogg
  • Half-Steering...
  • F**k N Spend--
    The High
    Speed Scene
  • Loser--
  • The Don Of Dons
    (Put De Ting
    Pon Dem)
    Super Cat
  • Hot Damn--
  • Put 'Em Up--
  • Pop Sh*t--
    Dirt McGirt
  • Popular Thug--

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    The Neptunes related sites:
    The Neptunes Website
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    The Neptunes
    "The Neptunes Present... Clones"

    From Billboard Magazine, September 8, 2003 issue, Charts section:
    Neptunes Ride No. 1 Wave

    After contributing to No. 1 albums by several other artists, the production/songwriting team known as The Neptunes gets its own. With a first-week total of 249,000 copies, "The Neptunes Presents... Clones" easily leads The Billboard 200, with a 91,000-unit margin over last issue's chart champ, Alan Jackson.

    The Neptunes quietly emerged from Virginia Beach at the turn of the century and quickly became the hottest producers within the rap industry, then the entire pop music industry. The peerless duo began their ascendance in the late '90s with a few party-themed hits: Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got My Money" (1999), Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass" (2000), and Jay-Z's "I Wanna Love U" (2001). The Neptunes crossed over from rap to pop in 2001 and began producing tracks for the likes of Britney Spears ("I'm a Slave 4 U"), *NSYNC ("Girlfriend"), and Usher ("U Don't Have to Call"). In addition to these pop stars, the duo continued producing hits for the biggest names in rap, working with everyone from LL Cool J ("Luv U Better") and Busta Rhymes ("Pass the Courvoisier") to Bow Wow ("Take Ya Home") and Nelly ("Hot in Herre"). Furthermore, the Neptunes began their own rap-rock group, N.E.R.D., and introduced another one, the Clipse. By this point, the duo Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo had become the pop-rap industry's most demanded producers, on a par with other big-name producers like Dr. Dre and Timbaland, if not perhaps even supplanting them. Their debut album, Neptunes Present... Clones (2003), confirmed their across-the-board popularity, topping Billboard's album chart and moving roughly 250,000 units during its first week. Amid all of this success, they continued to churn out hits, most notably alongside Justin Timberlake ("Rock Your Body") and Snoop Dogg ("Beautiful") as well as for their longtime standbys (Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss") and even themselves (Pharrell's "Frontin'").

    The Neptunes' debut album consists of various artists contributing 17 songs, which would actually debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts in September, 2003. With popular rap artists such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and the newcomer Ludacris, The Neptunes even contributed their own creativiy, by providing 2 of their own groups, N.E.R.D. and The Clipse. After listening to the Clones CD, it really depends on how you truly enjoy rap music. Read on...

    Busta Rhymes' "Light Your A** On Fire" doesn't really appeal, it's just another rap song with the boom-de-da-boom, and fast rapping lyrics. Likewise, The Clipse's "Blaze Of Glory" is just another common loud rap tune. Maybe I'm not a fan of the loud, boom-de-da-boom rap, but it seems that this is the direction this album is going. Ludacris' "It Wasn't Us" is a bit annoying. I can see this song being a dance club favorite, but that's about it.

    However, Pharrell's "Frontin'" has potential, it has a good soul/rock rhythm, and can even be compared to the early years of Prince. Another good potential is Vanessa Marquez's "Good Girl" -- it's easily compared to the lateryear dance tunes by Janet Jackson.

    If you like Nelly's "Hot In Herre," you'll enjoy his contribution called "If." Both songs have the same style, yet "If" is a little bit slower in tempo. Like "Hot In Herre" for me, I'd have to give it more listens to enjoy it. Rosco P. Coldchain (great name!) ("Hot") is smooth, yet it's a sleeper. It's alot better than the loud boom-de-da-boom rap songs heard earlier. And speaking of the boom-de-da-boom, it returns with Snoop Dogg's "It Blows My Mind."

    Now for the Rock section of the album...
    Is Spymob's "Half-Steering..." a RAP song or ROCK song? It may have some rap-styled lyrics here-and-there throughout the song, but it definitely has a pop rock sound in general; a very pleasing song, as it breaks away from the common boom-de-da-boom rap style. The High Speed Scene's "F**k N Spend" has an Alternative Punk style, another refreshing break from the common rap. Being less than 2 minutes in length, it is just enough of a breather. N.E.R.D.'s "Loser" is another rock-styled song; as like Spymob, it has a definite 1990s Pop Rock sound, mixing a little bit of rap with the Alternative Rock sound. "Loser" could even be compared to the music of Lenny Kravitz in some places.

    We now continue with our regular scheduled RAP program...
    Fam-Lay's "Rock N Roll" is nothing compared to it's title. It's another rap song, and another zzzzzzz. Somehow the infamous line "It's Your Birth-day" in 50 Cent's "In Da Club" comes to mind here. Super Cat's "The Don Off Dons (Put De Ting Pon Dem)" is another song to skip. He maybe trying to do his best Sean Paul imitation, with the Jamaican-rap lyric style, but this song just doesn't cut it. Even Ini Kamoze ("Here Comes The Hotstepper") does a better job than this. "Hot Damn" by Clipse is another bad one. (Who is it in this song that sounds like a James Brown wannabe in between verses? "Hot Damn.. It's a new day..." That was the only appealing part of this song.) N.O.R.E.'s "Put 'Em Up" can be another dance favorite, but it's not a song that would be favored for me. I'd prefer to dance easy and slowly, not to the steady boom-de-da-boom of this song.

    ...Looking at the track list... 2 more songs to go...

    Oh lord, not another one... Dirt McGirt -- "Pop Sh*t" Yes, the common boom-de-da-boom continues... 'Nuff Said...

    Lastly, another boom-de-da-boom'er... "Popular Thug" by Kelis. Her vocals are not that bad, but it has the rapping of male vocalist Nas that keeps the boom-de-da-boom alive...

    OK, that's enough...

    Whether the tempo is medium or fast, the loud boom-de-da-boom tunes are NOT the standouts on Clones. It has a few good moments, ("Frontin'," Vanessa Marquez, and the "ROCK" section). I can only give this album review 2 stars. An OK rating, it may not deserve the #1 debut status, but it does reflect on today's commonday musical style. Rap has been here for a while, and it has no indications of disappearing, as Disco did. Like other musical styles, there are some good and bad Rap. Mostly bad rap is heard on Clones, and a few good rap tunes, and a different approach with the "Rock Section." Bad-mouthing Rap is just as common as how many bad-mouth any other musical style. But the bad Rap heard here does place this style at the bottom of the list, and makes the listener want to look elsewhere -- to another musical style, or try to listen to another popular Rap artist in today's music entourage. Or in some cases, going back to the older decades of music.

    But, in the back of my mind, are the songs from Clones and some of today's #1 pop songs going to be truly remembered as an Elvis or Beatles #1 and the likes?

    The Answer: Boom-De-Da-Boom.... NO.

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    Previous Review: #894
    Reader's Digest--Favorites From The Classics: Johann Strauss, Jr.
    Next Review: #896