||From the Vault...
"The Neptunes Present... Clones"
© Star Trak/Arista Records
Year of Release: 2003
Light Your A**
Blaze Of Glory--
It Wasn't Us--
Rosco P. Coldchain
It Blows My Mind--
F**k N Spend--
The Don Of Dons
(Put De Ting
Put 'Em Up--
The Neptunes related sites:
"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,
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
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.
© WSVNRadio.net. All rights reserved.
Review or any portion may not be reproduced
without written permission. Cover art is the
intellectual property of
Star Trak/Arista Records
and is used for reference purposes only.