CLIPSE Lord Willin' (Star Trak/BMG) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Buying a hiphop album strictly for the beats is a bit of a waste, but not if those beats are by the Neptunes. On this debut for their own Star Trak label, the producers of the moment take their stuttering, grunted grooves even further out, beyond hiphop into the worlds of dub, sleazy funk and building a beat exclusively out of handclaps and finger snaps. There's nothing particularly original about the back-and-forth boasting and drug-dealing tales of Virginia Beach duo Clipse, but the Neptunes do their best to crank up the excitement level. Oddly enough, the only verbal fireworks are provided by Toronto's own Kardinal Offishall, who ghosts onto Lord Willin's final cut and upsets the track with some raw patois. If Clipse are thinking, they'll ensure he shows up when they play the York Event Theatre Sunday (October 13).