No Malice (formerly known as “Malice”) is back from his hiatus from the Hip-Hop music world. He took a break to publish his book ”Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked,” although he made numerous appearances to promote his book No Malice has stayed relatively low-key over the past few years. Due to his book’s success and a new-found passion for writing, No Malice has already began working on a follow-up book “32″ which focuses on his manager’s life experiences.
No Malice is better known as one half of the widely successful Virginia Beach based Hip-Hop group The Clipse, which he co-founded with his brother Pusha T. The Clipse were best known for their work with Chad and Pharrell of The Neptunes who produced many records for the duo including their first single “The Funeral,” as well as their entire major debut album “Lord Willin”. Wheatcitymag.com caught up with No Malice to get insight into what his new project entails, new twists to his lyrical content, and rumors regarding a reunion with Pusha T. for another Clipse album.
WC: Malice, What’s good. How you are you?
I’m well, focusing on work and music as usual.
WC: How are people responding to your music now since you’ve been absent from the music industry the past few years?
It’s been crazy, really good. People at first were not sure how I was going to do it or, even what it would sound like lyrically but the contentions has been the lyrics are still there but the message is way more significant.
WC: We heard you’ve recently collaborated with Bun B.
Yes, the track is called ‘Bow Down No More’ and has Bun B featured on it.
WC: Dope. How did the two of you link up?
Throughout our whole career we would always chop it up when we saw each other and always had that mutual respect for each other. A lot of things are unspoken but when you meet somebody you can sense whether they mess with you or not. Bun B is doing the Hip Hop and Religion class down in Houston at Rice University. He reached out to me and asked me to speak out at a panel with himself, Talib Kweli, Lupe, Trae the Truth and a few others, which went really well. We discussed religion and the effect of hip-hop and where we stood on it. I had a song that I felt was perfect for him so I reached out and he did it no problem, got it right back to me.
WC: What other features can we expect?
Right now as far as features go I’m really making a statement that there really aren’t any other artist that are in this kind of lane. As far as production I got the Neptune’s, S1, and Bangladesh. I still have some more songs that need to be completed so there could be more on that list.
WC: What was it like to be back in the studio with The Neptunes?
Actually, it wasn’t too much different cause that’s something that’s never going to change. It’s so at home and I had just got off the phone with Chad, he told me he had a track that he wanted me to hear. I talk to Pharrell as well too. That’s family there and that’s always going to be like that. Since Chad and I still live here in Virginia we kick it on the reg.
WC: Which artist or producers would you like to work with?
I’d like to work with BIG KRIT, Kendrick Lamar, artists like that. I’m definitely a huge fan of lyricism as you know and lyrics that lead you and give you something to think about once the song goes off. Lyrics that give hope or inspiration.
WC: Which artists are you listening to right now?
Honestly I’m not listening to any current music, I’m really not even listening to a lot of hip-hop music period. And it’s been that way for a few years. I do listen to Old School R&B, Gospel and I even love 80’s music.
WC: Obviously with how your life has changed over the last few years your music has to change also. How would you say that it’s changed but still staying relevant within hip-hop?
We laugh and joke about it all the time because it seems like I’ve been really relevant without music. Continuing to get interviews, appearances, along with speaking engagements. This book has really propelled itself and a lot of awareness has been brought to the book I wrote. Now with this music I feel that everything will tie in together. Still very lyrical and I feel like I owe it to my fans to give back. It’s still very intense and is everything but preachy. People that listen to the Clipse they know that I’ve always made a reference to my faith in almost every record. That shouldn’t be so new and shocking. I think I’ve always given you both sides of that coin. So now I’m just going in a little bit harder.
WC: Speaking of the Clipse, when can we expect a new album or music from you and Pusha T?
There’s nothing that I’d enjoy more than a new Clipse album and I know my brother would as well. We talked about it and I feel we could definitely pull it off. But as far as a date goes right now with everything that the both of us got going on, I can’t give a specific time or date.
“Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked”WC: What would you say has been the most rewarding experience since writing the book “Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked”?
What I find to be most rewarding is the project itself. The feedback and testimonies I get from new people and my fans. How people have told me it’s changed their life, it’s something they can relate to. Because I speak on things that most people don’t talk about but as soon as someone breaks that ice everybody else comes out the woodworks like, “Yeah, I felt that same way. But never said anything and kept it to myself.”. There was even a young lady who was about to commit suicide until she read my book, went through all the things I went through and felt like she could find her faith too. It’s very rewarding to know that I made the right decision. When I look at my story I can tell that it was something meant to be shared with the whole platform I’ve been given. There were so many things in the book that I would have loved to keep to myself and not tell anyone. It wasn’t about me at all it was about sharing it with others to let people know what Malice of the Clipse went through this too.
WC: Aside from “Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked” you have a new book you’re working on with your formal manager titled “32.” Tell us about that.
The book titled, 32 which tells the life of my manager Tony Gonzalez from his childhood to where he is now which is in jail. The things that he has seen. Basically the book is about what kept him to pursue this illusive dream of get money, get money, get money and ultimately the price he paid for it. Not just him but other friends of ours as well.
WC: You have your own publishing company as well now. What other projects are in the works?
I just published a book by a young lady with the name Jasmine Mans’ https://twitter.com/KingJasmineMans and she is a phenomenal poet. She’s an Internet sensation who just made Glamour Magazine Top 10 Most Influential Women in College. One of her more famous pieces would be The Mis-education of a Barbie, it’s really powerful. Her message and my message are parallel to each other. The book we recently published is called Chalk Outlines of Snow Angles, it’s very uplifting.
WC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It’s hard to say cause you have to remember within a blink of an eye I’ve seen my whole career path change. If you had asked me 4 years ago I would have told you that I’m just going to be a rapper and doing music. I thought I had a great handle of my life. Then this movement comes out of nowhere and gives my life focus and purpose. I could not of done this myself and with beyond a shadow of a doubt it was God. How do I know this was God? Cause I would have never even chose to do this. I wasn’t even thinking about God. I was chasing money, women, and material things. That’s where I was at and I enjoyed doing it. Then he showed me that was not the real me. Now I see so much more and I’m here to tell somebody to be unique and to be yourself. You don’t have to follow what is fed to you on the radio, TV and Internet. I’m not condemning what is going on, but so many people take it and accept it to believe this is what life is about. That’s not the truth. The fact of the matter is every single person is unique, they are as unique as their fingerprints. Every single person brings something special to offer into this world. I say all of that to say this; I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 5 years. Maybe it’s music but I would not be surprised if in 5 years you see me the pastor of a church. I love talking about the Lord. At this point I feel like I could do anything.
WC: Seeing how your life has changed, how has your relationship with your family changed?
It’s only gotten better. I spend more time at home and started paying attention to the things that matter. Getting to savor the personalities of my kids and wife. As before I was in the hustle and bustle with always touring and having to be places. I was getting a lot of money but it didn’t measure to the time I was missing from home. I’m really enjoying my family right now being able to laugh and talk. I’m definitely in a good place.
WC: What advice would you have for somebody struggling with the same demons that you were?
Whenever you put your wants, urges or desires in something other than God there is no better word than demon. For me there was a time when I had a love for money or I loved women or I loved getting high like that was really my thing. But all of those things whether you know it or not you’re actually putting it before your creator. How can you spend so much time loving money and writing songs about money? You’re not supposed to put out that kind of energy. And I can always quote the bible which says, “The love of money is the root of all evil…”. It’s not money that’s the root of all evil, it’s the LOVE of it. You are not to love money, money is currency. Just like a river it’s suppose to flow with the current which means when I get it I’m supposed to give it so I can help others. So what I would say is keep God first and with that everything will come. He’ll show you how to spend your money once you get it so you do not overindulge. Then I would say, be true to yourself. Be unique and be who you are.
WC: You have the clothing label Play Cloths what’s your affiliation with the brand?
Play Cloths is our brand and it’s definitely been a blessing. The warehouse is about 2 miles from my house. I stop by there quite often to pick up boxes of Play Cloths. It’s the best shopping in the world haha. I love it, it’s free! I’m really proud of Play Cloths cause it’s stylish with a wide variety of shoes, pants, jackets, tees and everything you want. It’s not “rapper” fashion. It’s who you want to be. Anybody can wear this and have their own unique style.
WC: What was the inspiration behind your music video ‘June’?
The video was inspired from me recalling so many people being around you, catering to you, “trains” being in the club, loud talk, laughing, drinks and really just having a good time. Very festive and then you stumble upon hard times and those same people become abstract and obscure while fading away. Then once you find your way back, people start coming around and act all friendly again. You can see this transformation happen right in front of you. When I heard that Frank Sinatra sample I was actually in the studio and in the song he talks about how you are up in April knocked down in May and get it back in June. And it seemed so fitting…I mean that’s life. One minute you’re up the next you’re down. You see I’m from Virginia and Virginia is for hustlers and hustlers always get it back. No one stays on top all the time. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but it’s all about getting back up.
WC: Any last words for the people?
I want to say to my supporters and fans thank you for the encouragement. I feel good about actually making a difference. Cause when you do something that is not popular it’s a risk. When people tell me that I’ve helped change their life it makes all the difference in the world to me. When I say I love my fans it’s not a cliché I truly mean it.