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|Origin||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
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. The duo achieved favorable commercial success, while receiving greater critical acclaim during the 2000s. They are considered pioneers of the Mafioso rap subgenre.
After forming the duo in 1992, the duo had trouble securing a recording contract. After having their original debut Exclusive Audio Footage shelved by Elektra Records, the duo was dropped from the label. It would not be until the early 2000s, when Pharrell Williams would sign the duo to Arista Records through his recently established Star Trak imprint. With the backing of the Neptunes and the record label, the duo released their debut album Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. It debuted number 4 on the Billboard 200 and received widely positive reviews from critics. The album was certified RIAA gold 2 months later.
The duo's second album Hell Hath No Fury was released in 2006. Despite its modest sales, it received widespread critical acclaim and is considered to be one of the best albums of the 2000s. A third album, Til the Casket Drops, was released in 2009. It is their final project as Clipse, and in 2010 the duo went on hiatus and both members have since pursued solo careers. In 2019, Clipse reunited for the first time in 10 years on Kanye West's song "Use This Gospel".
1993–2000: Formation and Exclusive Audio Footage
The Thornton brothers were born in The Bronx, and in 1979 their family moved to Virginia Beach. It was here the brothers were exposed to the illegal Cocaine trade, and this would become an essential part of their musical career. Malice started out as a solo act, formed the group Jarvis and was introduced to Pharrell Williams, one half of the production team the Neptunes. Impressed with his lyrical talents, Williams formed a working relationship with the him. Pusha was just a bystander with his brother, but one day he decided to write a rap and perform. Malice and Pharrell were impressed with his talent, and it was Pharrell who suggested they should become a duo. Thus, the Clipse was born. However, in 1992 Malice went to serve in the Army to support his family. This was a hold up in the duo's plans, and it wouldn't be until 1994 when Malice would return from his duties they would eventually start working together. Then, Pharrell Williams 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 chart 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.
2001–2002: Breakthrough and Lord Willin'
In early 2001, Williams signed the duo to Arista Records through his recently established Star Trak imprint. With the backing of the record label and the Neptune's, Clipse proceeded to record material for their debut album. The lead single "Grindin'" was dropped on May 14, 2002 and was an instant hit. It peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song would later go on to become Clipse's most famous song, and many publications would go on to rank the single highly on their year end lists. The second single "When the Last Time", was dropped on July 30. It would become the group's highest charting song, peaking at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, and staying on the chart for 21 weeks. Clipse then released its commercial debut Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. The album opened at Number 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and Number 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 122,000 in its first week. On October 1, 2002—a month after its release—Lord Willin' was certified Gold by the RIAA. A third single, "Ma, I Don't Love Her" featuring Faith Evans was released on December 3, 2002. It was a modest hit, peaking at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 6 weeks. 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. It peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Clipse also featured on the song "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. In 2003, Clipse went on tour with rapper 50 Cent.
2003–2006: Label dispute and Hell Hath No Fury
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 legendary We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series, which featured Clipse and Philadelphia rappers Ab-Liva and Sandman. The group was known collectively as the Re-Up Gang. We Got it 4 Cheap Vol. 1, which was the first official collection of new material from Clipse since the release of their debut album Lord Willin', was released in 2004 and received positive reviews from critics. Vol. 2 of the series was released in 2005 received widespread critical acclaim. It is considered to be one of the best mixtape of the 2000s. Online music magazine Pitchfork placed the tape at number 130 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s, and number 2 on their list of the top 50 rap mixtapes of the millennium.
On May 9, 2006 Clipse finally reached an agreement with Jive Records. They were to release the album through its own Re-Up Records label along with Jive. They then toured with Ice Cube throughout May, and set the release date as August 29. Clipse dropped the first single, "Mr. Me Too" with Pharrell Williams on May 23, 2006. It peaked at number 65 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. However, the release date of the album was pushed to October 31. On October 31, Clipse did not drop the album, instead dropped the single "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" with Slim Thug. The song peaked at number 96 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Hell Hath No Fury was finally released on November 28, 2006. The album received universal acclaim with many publications citing it to be the duo's best. 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. The album currently holds an average score of 89 on Metacritic. It debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200, selling 80,000 copies in its first week. The album would go on to receive high positions on many publications year and decade end charts, and is considered to be one of the best albums of the 2000s.
2007–2009: Columbia Records and Til the Casket Drops
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 February 5, 2008, the duo released the 3rd installment in the We Got it 4 Cheap mixtape series as a free download on their website. On August 8, 2008, the duo released the Re-Up Gang's debut studio album, Clipse Presents: The Re-Up Gang 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. It is the only studio album from the group as after the release of the album, Sandman left the group.
In November 2008, Clipse announced the launch of their fashion line, Play Cloths. A mixtape called Road to Till the Casket Drops was released on December 1, 2008 in promotion of the line and their upcoming album.
Their final studio album, Til the Casket Drops was released on December 8, 2009. In a departure from the group's previous works, which only featured production from the Neptunes, the album features production from Diddy's production team the Hitmen, and DJ Khalil. The album did not fare as well commercially as the group's first two albums, peaking at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, selling only 31,000 copies in its first week.
2010-present: Solo endeavors, hiatus, and return
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 G.O.O.D. Music label. He would go on to work with Kanye on his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and be featured on the hit single Runaway. He has gone on to embark a successful solo career and has released 3 studio albums. In 2015, he was named president of G.O.O.D. Music.
In 2011, Malice published his book Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked. The book is a memoir about his life, including fearing contracting HIV, as well as his conversion to Christianity. In 2012, he changed his stage name to No Malice. He felt his previous name had a negative meaning and now wanted to spread positive messages. He 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. In 2013, he released his debut studio album Hear Ye Him via Re-Up Records. In 2016, he released the documentary The End Of Malice, which recalled the exact moment Clipse broke up and why. His second studio album, Let the Dead Bury the Dead was released in 2017 by REinvision.
There have been many rumours of a Clipse reunion. However, No Malice said at SXSW 2014 that the band was finished, that there will not be another Clipse album. But despite that, 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."
Finally after a 10 year hiatus, Clipse reunited to feature on Kanye West's album Jesus Is King on the track "Use This Gospel". Pusha T expressed his feelings towards the duo collaborating again in a phone call with Vulture, stating "I'm the younger brother, man. I mean, I'm happier than — I can't even express it!" He claimed that "The whole theme of the Jesus Is King album totally speaks to where my brother is". Since then, there has been a rumour of a Clipse album in 2020. However, Pusha T denied the rumours on Instagram.
- Studio albums
- Exclusive Audio Footage (unreleased) (1999)
- Lord Willin' (2002)
- Hell Hath No Fury (2006)
- Til the Casket Drops (2009)
- "The Evolution of Clipse".
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- "Clipse is WILLIN' to Tour with 50 Cent !!".
- Greene, Jayson (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Staff Lists. Pitchfork Media. p. 3. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
- "The 50 Best Rap Mixtapes of the Millennium - Page 5".
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- 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.
- "Clipse officially launches fashion line Play Cloths and releases new mixtape". theboombox.com. November 20, 2008.
- 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.
- "Pusha T Named President of Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music". 9 November 2015.
- "Book Review: Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, And Naked". 28 May 2011.
- "No Malice Details His Journey of Finding Religion, New Album & Leaving His Past Behind in 'The End of Malice' Film". 16 March 2016.
- Lipshutz, Jason (2012-03-06). "Clipse's Malice Changes Name To 'No Malice'". Billboard. Retrieved 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.
- "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.
- "Pusha T shuts down rumors of a 2020 Clipse album". 2 January 2020.
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