It’s very well-known that Virginia is for lovers—lovers of music, lovers of hip hop. With talent like Timbaland, Missy & Pharell all hailing from the loving state, it’s no wonder why two of VA’s finest—Malice & Pusha—are not only filling those big shoes, but using said shoes to walk along their own path to greatness. It was a chance meeting between Malice & Pharell that lead them into a flourishing musical relationship. Already friends with Pusha, Pharell heard a rhyme that Pusha wrote one day & The Clipse were born. It took them a minute to gain some mainstream success, but once listeners caught on to their hit single, “Grindin’,” The Clipse were in heavy rotation by hip hoppers with an affinity for lyricism & minimalism. Those same fans will be delighted to know that The Clipse are hitting their headphones with a third label release—Til The Casket Drops—in stores December 8. With appearances from Keri Hilson (new single- “All Eyes On Me”), Kanye West, DJ Khalil & The Neptunes, we know we’re in for something classic.
Pusha & Malice know their place in the industry & fully intend of continuing to give us what they think is missing in hip hop. What’s missing isn’t for everybody, but this is for sure—it is for those hip hop fans that have always liked their hip hop honest & filled with emotion. The Clipse are using this album as a therapy session, baring their emotions to their fans. They’re also not letting their fans forget that hip hop is a culture that doesn’t only stop at music, but is also apparent in the clothes we wear—giving us PlayCloths—their clothing line. Dope streetwear, even doper music—what else can these twins hit us with? Well, Malice is taking on the literary world with his new autobiography Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked, dropping the first of 2010. The book will be made into a movie, through the twins’ film company—Re-Up Films. I can barely keep up myself, but I think Pusha said it best, “The only thing that we really believe in is the music that we do, the lyrics that we write, the products that we come up with.” Music, clothing, movies & books—The Clipse are definitely bringing quality products to the industry & it’s always refreshing to watch young & talented individuals branch out & test their talents in multiple ways. These boys put a whole new definition to “Grindin’!”
Your first single on the first record—“The Funeral“ from Exclusive Audio Footage—why do you think people didn’t really catch on to it?
Malice: Oh yeah. That record, “The Funeral,” was a different record. It was totally left of everything that was going on at the time if you really look at it. There was Missy & Busta—those were the things that were poppin’ at the time. The fish-eye lens, the crazy, wild videos & then you have our video that’s dark. It’s a funeral procession, eulogizing two emcees. It was just really dark.
Looking back, do you think you knew that the world wasn’t ready, but you wanted to do it your way anyway?
Malice: I think we always did it our way, you know? The past albums, we had way bigger singles than the ones we chose. It was like, we were just so caught up in the music that we liked & the kind of hip hop that we like & the hip hop that we felt was missing. We always were like, “Let’s put this out—some lyric-driven, street hip hop.” For those people that understood & knew what it was; the dynamic was so intense & so big for it to matter to them—to me—it didn’t compare with it reaching all the masses. I think it was that much bigger.
You mentioned giving the hip hop world something they were missing. Do you think that’s what you were trying to do with Exclusive Audio Footage?
Pusha: Yeah, I think all of our albums are what’s missing. I think it’s what the hip hop that we know & love—the dirt-driven hip hop. It’s only a handful of us out there night, like, Styles P, Jadakiss & other rappers like that, that hold that flag up of what hip hop was at one time.
There was a big jump that you experienced from the album being shelved, to you being dropped, then signed to Pharell’s label & debuting at number one on the Billboards. What do you think accounts for that large jump?
Pusha: Timing. I think that by that time we dropped “Grindin’,” Pharell had become almost a staple go-to-guy musically. You had to give his production a chance. While he has all these number 1’s out, it was our perfect opportunity to still come through with this disruptive, unorthodox, Clipse, Neptunes sound. That’s why you put out a record—Pharell had a thousand records on the radio with him singing hooks on it. Then, The Clipse come with a record with no hooks with unorthodox sound that is still dynamic. It was left of everything that they were doing at the time. It worked.
It definitely did! It put you in the public’s eye & ear. Do you feel that album because of Pharell’s influence was more of The Clipse—who you were as artists?
**To read their response & the rest of their amazing interview, click HERE**