The Neptunes #1 fan site, all about Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo

The Neptunes #1 fan site, all about Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo

Clipse Doing Good Things


Since their critically acclaimed release Lord Willin back in 2002, the Clipse have been recognized by fans and artists alike as one of the most venerable duos in the industry. The “industry” itself, though, has not always been so kind. Label problems from early on, and being labeled “coke rap,” did not help the grit-laced brothers. They have had a wild ride from the get up, and are now on the “re-up” with two different paths. Gene Elliott Thornton Jr (Malice) and Terrence Thornton (Pusha T) are on the verge of doing some really good things.

Whether it be the success of their clothing line “Play Cloths” (which can be found at West Coast Kix in Carytown), or the creation of Re-Up Gang Films, the duo is creating and visualizing a whole new track list. Malice is finishing up a book this December entitled Wretched, Pittiful, Poor, Blind and Naked, which will serve as somewhat of an autobiography. “I tell my son you gotta pick your friends better, I love Geezy to death but I have yet to write a letter,” he says on his promotional track “Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked Freestyle.”

This is a reference to Clipse’s former manager Anthony “Geezy” Gonzalez, whose 32 year sentence for drug trafficking was a very close call to home. Malice has also started a blog site at maliceoftheclipse.com, where he is making short films based on true stories of hardship and redemption. Meanwhile Pusha is finding his place on the stage and in the studio these days. There had been rumors since the beginning of summer of Pusha signing with Kanye’s label G.O.O.D. Music, and they were recently confirmed. Whether its rocking out this year’s VMAs, or appearing on Saturday Night Live, performing the number one hit “Runaway” with Kanye West, Pusha is not quite done yet.

The brothers Thornton have nothing but love and respect for each other as they follow their own endeavors. Recently I was lucky enough to see both perform in DC as they rocked out Howard Homecoming.2011 Pusha Solo album, 2011 new Clipse material, 2011 new Re-Up Gang material–we back by popular demand y’all.” Beat drops and the place erupts. This was the scene on stage, and after it all died down, I was able to speak to them separately about their upcoming endeavors.

Part 1: Malice
RVA: What can you tell me about the book?
Malice: The book covers my life in the industry, the affects it had on me–positive and negative both. I think it serves as a eye opener for a lot of younger people who have aspirations of not just getting into this industry but any form of entertainment. Just being in this realm for fame, fortune, success or whatever their idea of that is.

RVA: What led you to write this book and make these blog films?
M: I think it was the platform that I’ve been blessed with, and I feel like I would do a disservice to only paint one side of the picture. For years you have seen the ups of the Clipse and you have seen me at my pinnacle. I think it’s only fair to show that there are two sides to every coin. We have had a lot of stellar moments and that’s what the media portrays and shows. You see us in all our splendor, but it’s not always like that.

RVA: What is maliceoftheclipse.com about?
M: The site is basically geared towards the youth, to those people I feel can still be molded and can still be taught. You still have influence on them to be thinkers, and not to always conform to what they see the next man doing. I know every person has talent and I don’t want that talent to be wasted on a figment of your imagination.

RVA: You recently changed your blog site–
M: The new direction of the blog site is basically to promote the book, and then eventually the film. All the video blogs are true stories. They all basically have an interesting tale which I narrate over and give the background. They are all events that have happened in my life. I find it to be very interesting because they have direct parallels to the Bible. It’s 2010 and I see a lot of the same stories that were documented over 2000 years ago. It just overwhelms me how the same things going on today were going on back then.

RVA: As far as music goes, your brother is doing a solo album, will you be featured?
M: I would have to say more than likely that I would be featured on my brothers album. The only question that comes into play is whether or not I feel compelled to rap (laughter).

RVA: You told me one time that it was a blessing that rhymes were not coming to you, and you were just choosing to follow another path.
M: That has since changed, because right now I feel like a beast rhyming. I recently did a song with Ab Liva. It’s called “Where Do We Go.” I know I still got it, obviously, but I have another focus right now. I found another source of fulfillment with these video blogs, the book and the movie. I feel like that is my new found passion. Rap will always be there, but it’s just not my focus at this point in time.

RVA: So there could be a solo album coming out?
M: Definitely. Don’t ever rule that out, but I have just been really enjoying this down time to finalize my book and promote it. I think I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people, and the testimonies that people have received lately are very satisfying. I’m just reading the comments and feedback and I feel like what I’m doing is a very needed thing. That to me is very satisfying.

RVA: How do you feel about your brother and where he is headed?
M: I think he has been put into a really good position. You know I am with my brother all the time, so I know how talented he is. So it doesn’t surprise me. As long as his soul is right then he is a total package.

Part 2: Pusha T.
RVA: So it is official, you are with G.O.O.D. Music?
Pusha T. : Yes, 100% official.

RVA: When did this all begin? I know you went out to Hawaii to Kanye’s studio several months back and started collaborating.
P: I want to believe it was around March. I went out there for three days initially, which turned into a month. There would be days where I would literally take a flight from VA to Hawaii, go do a show and studio and come back. It ended up being a month and some change.

RVA: Did you have an idea after the last album, Til The Casket Drops, that you wanted to do a solo project?
P: It’s always been in the plans for Re-Up Gang Records, honestly. Anything that builds upon the Clipse brand, Re-Up Gang Records and, while building that brand, solo projects were always part of it. I look at my favorite acts like Outkast and Mobb Deep, and they did solo projects. You have to remember Malice and I are brothers, and there will never be a non-Clipse. So there is no breaking up with us, we really have to do things that build upon the brand.

RVA: During the DC show, you announced that your solo album will be coming out in 2011. Do you have an expected release time on your album?
P: We talk tentatively about it, but at the end of the day we are taking it project by project. Right now all the focus is around Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy album. That and the tour that will be around it, which should be in the near future.

RVA: How do you feel about the direction your brother is taking?
P: I love it, I love everything that he is doing. I think his direction explains, and makes me have to explain less, the dichotomy of the Clipse. I think people are getting wind and really seeing how far his greatness spans. It’s really dope because there is a level of sincerity and a level of consciousness in it.

RVA: I asked Malice if he will be featured on your album, and he said more than likely, but only if he is “compelled to rap.”
P: Now if he says if he is compelled to rap? Well all I am going to say on that is if you have heard the Ab Liva and iCan Y.E.S. project, he just dropped a verse on that a couple of days ago. I don’t think there is a question of him and rapping.

RVA: Is Kanye producing this album from top to bottom? I heard you and Bangladesh (Producer) were in the studio working together.
P: Yeah, see that’s the thing, we have been in and made solo records together. But it’s really hard to talk into that project until [Kanye’s album] is over with. He will just send me records, and I will get it and record to it. At the end of the day, while he is not doing that, I can be in the studio with Bangladesh or Pharrell. I am trying to be everywhere. I just have to create and I have to keep creating.

RVA: You are probably on the best label right now with Common, Kudi, Mos Def, the list goes on.
P: Oh my god, yeah, man. (laughter)

RVA: How has VA influenced this upcoming album?
P: My whole thing is life experiences, man. I think that is the best way to even discuss it. I was born and raised here, and it’s the only thing I know how to do. It’s actually harder when you are making up a lot of things, I’m not that imaginative.

RVA: When does inspiration take place?
P: Some things I think, off the cuff and I’m like, ‘Yo, I need to put this to a beat.’ You got guys who build some great sound beds for some of my words, and I try to seek them out and find them. I try to be everywhere getting with people.

RVA: Will you be working with the Inkredibles, who are based out of Richmond VA?
P: I would like to. I am actually going to be seeing them very soon.

RVA: When are you coming to Richmond, man?
P: I just left Stony Point mall if that answers your question. (laughter)

*rvamag.com

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