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Hell Hath No Fury (Jive)

Despite all the biblical allusions on 2002's Lord Willin', Virginia Beach's Clipse (brothers Pusha T and Malice) probably didn't intend to also evoke Exodus. But in the aftermath of the Sony-BMG merger, which buried the act at Jive, the duo has wandered for years without a release date for its follow-up, Hell Hath No Fury. Until now.

"I ain't spent one rap dollar in three years," Pusha boasts on "Keys Open Doors" (and for those unfamiliar with his day job, keys stand for kilos). Coursing throughout Hell, a disc as uncut and brain-tingling as Clipse's purported product, there resides a palpable bitterness such as when they are sneering, "These sounds of crackness/The Black Martha Stewart/Let me show you how to do it."

Riddled with berating tongue clucks loud as gun cocks on "Ain't Cha" and "Mr. Me Too," the acidic grain of the rhymes is tempered by the Neptunes' tweaked batch of beats: A vertiginous harp strum pervades "Ride Around Shining," an accordion wheezes like a basehead on "Momma I'm Sorry," and eerie female choirs arise elsewhere. Terse, sinister, and brilliant, Clipse finally sees daylight just in time for the new year.

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