Considering the low ticket price, hype and turnout for Friday night’s Clipse show — sponsored by A&O and For Members Only — it was easy to forget who exactly would be taking the stage. The hip-hip duo of brothers Pusha T and Malice has received widespread critical acclaim and popularity since the early 2000s with their breakout album Lord Willin’ in 2002, not to mention Pusha-T recently signed as a solo artist to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label.*
Warmup act Purpose, a startup West Coast rapper, kept the crowd entertained and didn’t overstay his welcome. There was a definite Eminem influence in delivery, as he appropriately rapped over a Dr. Dre beat halfway through his set and interacted with the crowd jokingly. When he overheard a girl in front object when he used the word “ho,” he said he’d come back next time as a Christian rapper. Smiling, she took a CD from him not long after.
With Pusha T’s standout verses on West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the moment built as the DJ introduced the group to “Runaway” and “So Appalled.” And though small, the crowd gave them the welcome they deserved.
Clipse ran through a short set of a dozen songs, a solid run-through of their greatest hits focused mostly on those from 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury. A surprise appearance came halfway through the show from Re-Up Gang member Ab-Liva, who rapped his verses on “Hot Damn” and “Ride Around Shining,” a couple of the show’s standout performances. With big hooks and wildly catchy sing-along choruses, even those unfamiliar with Clipse beforehand came out with a few new favorites.
Between songs, Malice and Pusha T gave a handful of shout outs to fans “since the beginning,” as well as to anyone wearing Play Cloths, the group’s clothing line. More than once, they gave appreciation for longtime fans in the tight crowd, and near the end to anyone who came out that night to hear them for the first time. Most excitingly though, they hinted at a possible new upcoming installment in their We Got It 4 Cheap mix tape series, which hasn’t been officially announced anywhere.
Though Clipse may have only missed one or two highlight tracks (“Wamp Wamp” and “Nightmares” come to mind), they didn’t touch any deep cuts and the set fell short of an hour. A sour mood came over the crowd as the lights came up; but while many were discontent without an encore, it would be just about impossible to argue it wasn’t a satisfying show. That the group came at all was a huge surprise; they haven’t been touring much at all since ‘Till the Casket Drops. With the strong, sharp performance they gave to an intimate crowd, and given their stature in the hip-hop world, Northwestern can’t complain. Clipse was awesome, and we got it for cheap.
*We previously reported that Clipse signed to G.O.O.D. Music, but at the moment, only Pusha-T has signed to the label as a solo artist.