Clipse, Till The Casket Drops (2009)
Label: Re-Up/Star Trak/Columbia
Saving grace: "Popular Demand" f/ Cam'ron
Clunker: "All Eyes On Me" f/ Keri Hilson
Coming off their first two excellent albums, the Clipse should've followed one simple rule: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The duo's previous two albums were entirely produced by The Neptunes and it resulted in some amazing music.
2009's Til the Casket Drops was their first album that featured other producers and some of the magic was gone. Whether that's due to the group's chemistry running its course musically (they have since split), the influx of other producers, or the beginning of a rut for Pharrell production wise (as evidenced by the similarity between "Door Man" to Wale's "Let it Loose") the results were disappointing.
In a recent interview with Complex's very own Noah Callahan-Bever, Push cited the album as the only time he actively tried to reach a larger audience. The album absolutely has its moments, Pusha's "Popular Demand" verse is one of his best, but it lacks the authenticity and cohesiveness that made the first two so excellent.—Max Goldberg