6 Things We Learned From the 20 Years of 'Lord Willin' With Clipse ComplexCon Panel

Pusha-T, No Malice, Steven Victor, and FamLay join host Andrew Barber to look back on the 20th anniversary of Clipse's historical debut album, 'Lord Willin.'

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Image via Complex Original

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It’s been two decades since The Clipse put Virginia Beach on the map, solidified their familial chemistry, and made lunchroom history with their debut studio album, Lord Willin. 

Produced by the Neptunes, Pusha-T and No Malice released the project through Arista’s Star Trak Records shortly after their release from their deal with Elektra. At that point, in 2002, they had been operating as Clipse for roughly 10 years, but their initial debut Exclusive Audio Footage was shelved. They set the streets on fire with their lead single “Grindin;” it was one of the defining rap songs of the early aughts, synonymous with cafeteria jam sessions across the country thanks to its iconic beat. Lord Willin would go on to debut at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 and solidify the duo. Legend has it that Pharrell even almost gave the “Grindin” beat to Jay-Z.

In a ComplexCon(versation) with hip-hop historian Andrew Barber, Push confirmed the rumor that they were only given 15 minutes saying, “We got there in 7 [minutes].”

20 years later, Lord Willin still stands as a reflection of uncompromising southern sound. From Push and No Malice trading bars on every track to impressive features from Fam-Lay, Faith Evans, Fabolous, Jadakiss, and more, Clipse’s debut project has stood the test of time. At ComplexCon 2022, the two brothers are joined by FamLay, and Steven Victor to reflect on how it all happened.

Here are some of the most interesting things we learned from the 20 Years of Lord Willin With Clipse panel.

Clipse Considered Signing With No Limit 

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LA Reid Threatened Label Staff if They Didn’t Start Promoting “Grindin” More

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No Malice Originally Told Pharrell That He Couldn’t Rap on the “Grindin” Beat Because He Thought It Was ‘Minimal'

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Despite “Grindin” being the track that catapulted the Clipse to mainstream appeal, No Malice wasn’t sold on the beat at first. With a regretful chuckle, the rapper revealed that his first impression of the beat was that it “needed something else,” and told Pharrell he wasn’t sure if he could rap over it. “I hate admitting that now, but at that moment I didn’t understand it,” No Malice recalled. “I remember trying to tell Pharrell, ‘It sounds too minimal, it needs something else.’ But I wrote to it twice because of that.”

FamLay Rapped and Recorded Professionally for the First Time on “FamLay Freestyle” 

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Pharrell Would’ve Given Clipse Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier” Beat If They Asked for it

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A Clipse Reunion Album Could be on the Horizon

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