Clipse is an American hip hop duo, formed by brothers Gene "No Malice" Thornton and Terrence "Pusha T" Thornton, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1992. The group was affiliated with the production team The Neptunes, and in 2001 signed to their imprint Star Trak Entertainment.
Clipse at The Middle East in February 2007
|Origin||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
1993–2002: Exclusive Audio Footage and Lord Willin'Edit
The Thornton brothers were born in The Bronx and moved to Virginia Beach. They formed the group Jarvis and were introduced to Pharrell Williams, one half of the production team The Neptunes. Impressed with their lyrical talents, Williams formed a working relationship with the duo. He eventually helped them secure a recording contract with Elektra in 1996. Under Elektra, and with The Neptunes handling its production, The Clipse recorded its debut album, Exclusive Audio Footage. The group's 1st single, "The Funeral", helped to generate fan interest in the album, but failed to make a significant commercial impact. With "The Funeral" deemed a failure, Exclusive Audio Footage itself was shelved. The Clipse was released from Elektra shortly thereafter but promotional CDs of the album still exist.
In early 2001, Williams signed the duo to Arista Records through his recently established Star Trak imprint. Clipse released its commercial debut Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. The album opened at #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 200, fueled by the strength of the 1st two singles, "Grindin'" and "When the Last Time", which peaked at #30 and #19 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. Third single "Ma, I Don't Love Her" (featuring Faith Evans) was a modest hit, reaching #86 on the Hot 100. On October 1, 2002—a month after its release—Lord Willin' was certified Gold by the RIAA. Clipse made another dent in the rap music world that year by providing rhymes for Justin Timberlake's first solo single, "Like I Love You," another Neptunes-produced crossover radio hit, as well as "What Happened to That Boy" with Birdman. Pusha T featured in singer Nivea's 2nd single Run Away (I Wanna Be with U) which peaked at #47 in Australia.
2003–2006: Hell Hath No FuryEdit
In late 2003, Clipse began recording material for their second album, Hell Hath No Fury. However, further work on the album ground to a halt in 2004, when Arista Records's urban artists were absorbed by its sister label Jive Records as part of a larger merger between Sony Music Entertainment and BMG. Due to contractual requirements, Clipse was forced to stay on Jive, while Star Trak and the rest of its roster moved to a new home at Interscope Records.
While Clipse resumed work on the album, and eventually finished its recording, the duo became increasingly frustrated with Jive, as the label overlooked it in favor of the more pop-oriented acts on its roster, which caused numerous delays in the release of Hell Hath No Fury. As delays continued, the group asked for a formal release from its contract. When Jive refused to grant this request, the duo sued the label. While the litigation took place, Clipse released new material through their We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series, which featured Clipse and two Philadelphia rappers: long-time friend Ab-Liva (of Major Figgas) and newcomer Sandman, known collectively as "The Re-Up Gang".
On May 9, 2006, Clipse finally reached an agreement with Jive Records to release the album through its own label, Re-Up Records, along with Jive. After two more changes in its release date (originally August 29 and then October 31) Hell Hath No Fury was finally released on November 28, 2006. It spawned two singles: "Mr. Me Too" with Pharrell Williams and "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" with Slim Thug. While the album received a great deal of critical acclaim, its sales were modest, at 78,000 in the first week. The hip hop magazine XXL gave the album a "XXL" rating, marking it as a five-star album. Only five albums had previously received that honor. In 2010, Rhapsody named the album one of the top coke-rap albums of all time.
2007–2009: Columbia Records and Til the Casket DropsEdit
In a May 19, 2007, interview with Eye Weekly, Clipse revealed that the group had been officially released from its recording contract with Jive. After this, the duo began discussions with several record labels, eventually signing with Columbia Records on October 26, 2007. On August 8, 2008, the duo released the Re-Up Gang's self-titled debut studio album through Koch Records. The album's first single, "Fast Life", was produced by Scott Storch. The single was originally slated for the duo's third album, but they felt it would be better used for the Re-Up Gang album. Only Malice and Pusha-T appear on the track. After the release, Sandman left the group.
The follow-up to Hell Hath No Fury, titled Til the Casket Drops, was released in December 2009. In a departure from the group's previous works, which only featured production from the Neptunes, the album features production from Sean "Diddy" Combs' production team the Hitmen, and DJ Khalil. The album did not fare as well commercially as the group's first two albums, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart.
2010-present: Solo endeavors, hiatus, and returnEdit
At a concert on April 30, 2010, Malice announced that he and Pusha T would release solo albums later in the year. On September 12, 2010, Pusha T confirmed to MTV that he had signed to Kanye West's GOOD Music label. Pusha T released his mixtape 'Fear of God' in March 2011.
In 2010, B.F. Goodrich launched a series of tire commercials starring snowboarder Shaun White and featuring the track "Young Boy" from Lord Willin'. The ads prominently highlight the lyric, "I'ma tell you what I'm talkin' 'bout."
Pusha T has stated that they are no longer signed to Columbia Records, and that they are currently working on a new album. Malice published Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked, which was released on St. Valentine's Day 2011; the book is a memoir about his life, including fearing contracting HIV, as well as his conversion to Christianity. On August 31, 2011, Pusha T announced the signing of a solo deal with Def Jam records and admitted "G.O.O.D Music/Def Jam is [now] my home.” In 2012, Malice changed his name to No Malice and collaborated with Lecrae on his mixtape Church Clothes, in the song "Darkest Hour". He also appeared on the music video for the Lecrae song off his "Lord Have Mercy", which features Tedashii and is from the 2013 Grammy Award winning Best Gospel Album Gravity.
Pusha T and No Malice both released solo albums in 2013. Pusha T released My Name Is My Name on October 8, 2013, and No Malice released Hear Ye Him on August 18, 2013. In February 2013 Pusha T said the title of the group's fourth studio album would be As God As My Witness. Pusha T said that Kanye West and Pharrell Williams had shown interest in producing the album. No album was released.
No Malice said at SXSW 2014 that the band was finished, that there will not be another Clipse album. However, in a 2016 interview, No Malice said "I’ma tell you that I learned to never say never, and I don’t shut the door on anything. I really don’t. In fact, I would like to see Clipse do it" in regard to a potential Clipse reunion, adding that "I’ve said it before, my brother and I would definitely make clown soup out of all these MCs. Now that much I know." Clipse returned from hiatus to feature on Kanye West's album Jesus Is King on the track "Use This Gospel".
- Brackett, Nathan. "New Faces: The Clipse". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
- Reid, Shaheem. "The Clipse Emerge". MTV. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
- Kalev, Dorit (October 9, 2002). "Clipse Strike Gold, Neptunes Want To Go Country". AllHipHop.com. Archived from the original (Online news article) on May 6, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2006.
- Lopez, Rodrigo (May 9, 2006). "Clipse Tour With Ice Cube; Album Release Date Set". AllHipHop.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2006. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
- "Rhapsody". blog.rhapsody.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Morris, Dave (May 17, 2007). "Keys Open Doors". eyeweekly.com. Toronto Star Newspapers. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
- Crosley, Hillary (October 26, 2007). "The Clipse Signs With Columbia". Billboard.com. Nielsen Inc. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
- Venable, Malcolm (November 29, 2007). "Clipse officially launches fashion line Play Cloths". hamptonroads.com.
- Kennedy, John (July 24, 2009). "CLIPSE to drop casket in October". xxlmag.com. Harris Publications. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009.
-  . Retrieved on 01/06/2010
- Alexis, Nadeska The Clipse Planning Solo Albums for 2010 at The Boombox May 2010.
- http://hiphopdx.com, HipHopDX -. "Pusha T and Malice Going Solo?". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Lillis, Peter. "Whom Shall I Fear? – A Review of Pusha T's Fear of God". Frontier Psychiatrist. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- Vasquez, Andres. "The Clipse's Malice Readies Book "Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked" For Valentine's Day Release". Blog Article. XXL. Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
- Serrano, Hannah (23 March 2011). "Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, and Naked: The Story of Hip-Hop Artist Malice, of The Clipse". ALT Daily. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
The biggest trials that Thornton details, however, are emotional and spiritual. Obsessed with a paranoid idea that he has AIDS, Thornton went into a deep depression. He talks at the opening of his book about his “social death”–a self-imposed withdrawal from his friends, career and life in the face of what he perceived as an inevitable real death. In that swirl of depression and fear of having AIDS, Thornton turns to faith to get through. Wretched is strewn with passages from the Bible, and it is marked as much by the influence of his spiritual mentors as it is by his colleagues and collaborators. Ultimately, the book is about Thornton being saved.
- Andrews, Ashley. "Gene Elliot Thornton, Jr (a.k.a. Malice)". The 700 Club. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
Most importantly, this book tells how my life was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, my life has changed," and he prays that the same will happen for his readers. With his story, Gene hopes to encourage others in their walk with God. “I want people to take whatever they can get - that this book will help redirect their thinking, any thoughts that might be keeping them from having a better life...the one main thing that I would love for everyone to get from this book is Christ.”
- Horowitz, Steven. "Pusha T signs solo deal". Blog Article XXL. XXL. Archived from the original on 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
- Lipshutz, Jason. "Clipse's Malice Changes Name To 'No Malice'". Billboard (magazine)accessdate=1 February 2014.
- Diep, Eric. "Lecrae f/ No Malice "Darkest Hour"". Complex Music. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
Lecrae, a rapper from Atlanta with Christian-rooted raps, dropped his first mixtape hosted by Don Cannon called Church Clothes yesterday. With production from Boi-1da and 9th Wonder, he is ready to open hip-hop heads with music that delivers a message. One of the major collaborations is with No Malice, who is known for his coke raps as half of the Clipse. He's been busy with his book, but on "Darkest Hour," he's offering his first verse under the moniker he came up with after his religious transformation.
- Ryon, Sean (2013-02-07). "Pusha T Reveals Title Of The Clipse's Fourth Album". HipHop DX. Archived from the original on 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- http://hiphopdx.com, HipHopDX -. "Pusha T Says Pharrell Williams & Kanye West Interested In Producing Clipse Album". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- "No Malice Emphatically Confirms It's A Wrap For The Clipse - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Applebaum, Bonita (February 26, 2016). "No Malice Won't Count Out a Clipse Reunion, Announces New Film & Album". Ambrosia for Heads.
- Espinoza, Joshua (September 28, 2019). "Kanye West Previews Clipse Feature, 'Jesus Is King' at Detroit Event". Complex.