Friday, March 11, 2011

Dan Thomas-Glass on The Clipse's "Mr. Me Too"

The rap act that would turn out to have gotten the decade right was another regional product—Virginia Beach, Virginia’s The Clipse. Lauded and derided for their uncompromising “coke rap” approach, the duo’s lead single for their 2006 album Hell Hath No Fury was called “Mr. Me Too.” Whereas early Clipse videos (like “When the Last Time” and “Grindin’”) featured “local” spots like pizza parlors, bars, and projects, in the “Mr. Me Too” video the action is decidedly nowhere. Or, more precisely, it takes place in the sublimely blank world of capital circulation. The three major locations for the video are on the tarmac in front of a jet, in a blank white room, and, where else? Standing in front of $100 bills (see fig. 4). Like the Neptunes production that defines The Clipse sound, the video is vacant, full of empty spaces. The city is nowhere to be seen—the closest thing to it a stove sitting on the tarmac, a metonym for the cocaine that is itself just a metaphor for money. Elsewhere in the video women dance in front of different candy-colored screens like echoes of the iPod advertisements, circulating in the tumbler of image consumption in the age of digital music reproduction. In a different song on the album the chorus chants “Hello new world / here we come on our Twinkie Trains / with my man screaming ‘we’re on our way.’” Where we’re going isn’t the point, any more than where we’re from—what The Clipse understand, what is clear as day in the globalized present, is that the world is new, and movement is the only thing left resembling life.

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