Neptunes Present... Clones

The Neptunes Present... Clones

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by The Neptunes
     
 

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Since first crashing to Planet Pop in the closing minutes of the '90s, producers the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) have set the standard for urban music in the 21st century. In their work with artists ranging from the dirty-South grit of Mystikal ("Shake Ya Ass") to the blue-eyed sheen of Justin Timberlake ("Like I Love You"),

Overview

Since first crashing to Planet Pop in the closing minutes of the '90s, producers the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) have set the standard for urban music in the 21st century. In their work with artists ranging from the dirty-South grit of Mystikal ("Shake Ya Ass") to the blue-eyed sheen of Justin Timberlake ("Like I Love You"), these sonic scientists have conjured an innovative hybrid built of spacey synths, electro beats, and unconventional bass lines. They remade pop in hip-hop's image, lending street cred to such unlikelies as Britney Spears. Then they chucked it all, debuting as rock-styled artists under the name of N.E.R.D., a confounding switch-up that only enhanced the duo's appeal as trend-setting mavericks. The Neptunes Present...The Clones caters more to hip-hop fans' expectations. It's a mix of guest appearances by familiar favorites (Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg) and new voices (Fam-Lay, Rosco P. Coldchain, Ab-Liva) that sticks to their hit-making formula -- diversity. Don't believe the title: Clones offers an intriguing collage of styles. As he did with N.E.R.D., Pharrell Williams flexes his strained falsetto to endearing effect on the single "Frontin'," featuring Jay-Z. Tracks from the dancehall reggae of Super Cat ("The Don of Dons") to the indie-rock of Spymob ("Half Steering Half Eating Ice Cream") prove that the 'Tunes are every bit as infectious on a multitude of styles. The album's only misstep, "Good Girl," features vocalist Vanessa Marquez recalling the worst of '80s Latin pop. Yet, even that song shows that unlike other cookie-cutter producers, the luminous Neptunes are willing to take chances.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
When Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams are behind the boards, hit singles are expected, and hit singles are usually granted. For The Neptunes Present...Clones, the tables are somewhat turned; the producers aren't in need of any more hits, but they do the enlisting here, and they snare an all-star cast of featured players who are willing to join up and/or return the favor, all the while reaping the cachet that comes with being in such venerated company. If anything, Clones puts an end to any thought that the duo randomly selects a track from their beat bank when collaborating, since it ably demonstrates how their skills can adapt to any conceivable personality. Williams steps out with some help from Jay-Z on "Frontin'," one of the biggest Neptunes-related singles yet; the light, simple arrangement is ideally suited to Williams' lighthearted falsetto. (It also must be said that no one else could make the line "And I was gon' tear your ass up" seem so charming.) The spare cattle-prod funk of "Light Your Ass on Fire" pings and jolts with sharp zaps, accompanying Busta Rhymes' more sexually aggressive and explicit come-ons. Amidst whirling sirens, Dirt McGirt's turn, "Pop Shit," boasts a comical Looney Tunes-worthy arrangement. (It also must be said that no one but Williams could make a chorus like "Pop sh*t, n*gg*, what's up?" so effective.) "Popular Thug," originally a track on Kelis' import-only Wanderland, gets a deserved new look, with Pusha T's role bumped in favor of Nas, who proceeds to take the track over and knock Kelis into the supporting role. At 18 tracks, there's a little too much to digest, and not everything is top rate -- but knocking the disc for the fact that a few cuts aren't Top Ten material would only further illustrate how spoiled listeners have become, and how remarkable the Neps' run has been. Besides, you can whittle this disc down to your favorite dozen and have one of the year's best albums. Doing this would hopefully eradicate the middle patch of innocuous rock -- Spymob's "Half-Steering," the High Speed Scene's "F**k n' Spend" -- while retaining the aforementioned highlights, along with saving space for Vanessa Marquez' "Good Girl," which has to be the best ripoff of late-'80s Jam & Lewis-style production. Or you could just take the whole disc as is, as a strong if patchy reminder of the Neptunes' pop prowess.
Entertainment Weekly - Tom Sinclair
Seekers of weird and variegated musical kicks will certainly want to snap up Clones toot sweet. [B]
Vibe - Dimitri Ehrlich
1/2 The album is a tapestry of reggae, rock, jazz, gospel, and pop, loosely assembled on the duo's signature bass-and-rim-shot skeleton.
Blender - Jonah Weiner
After four years of dominating radio with hard-synthed, bottomed-out hits, the Neptunes are as omnipresent (and as photogenic) as the stars they've helped.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/2003
Label:
Arista
UPC:
0828765129541
catalogNumber:
51295

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neptunes   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

William Maragh   Composer
Trevor Smith   Composer
Russell Jones   Composer
Rob Walker   Executive Producer
Pharrell Williams   Composer,Executive Producer
Nathaniel Johnson   Composer
Calvin Broadus   Composer
Shawn Carter   Composer
Neptunes   Producer
Chad Hugo   Composer,Executive Producer
Courtney Walter   Art Direction
Pusha T   Composer
Malice   Composer
Max Hart   Composer
Russell Jones   Composer
Victor Santiago   Composer

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The Neptunes Present... Clones 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally think that this is a great album, but they could have done without the "cameos" of Busta Ryhmes and Jay-Z, who are just so overly exposed. other than that this is a five star rating album!