SXSW: Clipse

Categories: Clipse, SXSW

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Clipse
Mohawk
Rhapsody Day Party
Thurs. March 13

There are construction workers standing on the balconies of the half-finished condos across the street, staring intently at our boozing/taco-scarfing/networking asses as we bask in a cool breeze and guzzle free Coors. I cannot tell if they are forlorn or merely amused. Regardless, an insistent jackhammer joins the clamor as Pusha-T and Malice tear into "Momma I'm So Sorry," both more shrill and excitable onstage than on record, but redolent with the same ominous egomania that makes even a chorus of "Mama I'm so sorry I'm so obnoxious" sound like a boast. I don't think they're sorry. Call: "What we got, y'all?" Response: "We got it for cheap!" Pretty great, lively, responsive crowd, given the circumstances. (It's 4:30 in the afternoon, etc.)

This fine afternoon they're closing out Rhapsody's yearly hoedown (disclosure: The event's MC is in my wedding, and I bought him the T-shirt he's wearing ), which began with British Sea Power at the ungodly hour of 12:30 p.m. and cycled through No Age (physically tremendous, remarkably Beastie-esque in their brashness), Cut Copy (a slightly dull drone-rock band periodically possessed by the spirit of the Pet Shop Boys), and Sons & Daughters (Scottish, pretty, vacant). But Clipse is undoubtedly the star attraction, delivering a triumphant set from a group that only sounds triumphant maybe 70 percent of the time: Every Hell Hath No Fury cut, the pinging, mesmerizing "Keys Open Doors" especially, is pretty great, the bass set to jackhammer-overpowering levels. But Clipse's latest product, the Re-Up Gang mixtape We Got It 4 Cheap Volume 3, is a much crabbier, moodier affair—myriad sordid tales of drug-dealing from minor rap stars who've unfortunately realized that drug-dealing pays far better than minor rap stardom. When Re-Up partners Sandman and Ab-Liva take the stage (towering over their scrawny, more famous compatriots), the quartet sticks to the harder, more cocksure stuff—Lil Wayne disses, declarations of their target audience ("20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner"), etc.—and avoids all the complaints about music-industry bullshit. After closing with a rush of greatest hits ("Wamp Wamp," Grindin'"), they make only a brief allusion to all that, in the form of the least believable boast of the whole set: "New Clipse album coming this fall!" Bet on these guys, but don't bet on that.


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