Wednesday, April 11, 2007
In 1993, the Virginia brothers Malice (born Gene Thornton) and Pusha-T (born Terrence Thornton) met super producer Pharrell Williams, and The Clipse was born. The rest, you could say, is history—tumultuous history. Since Clipse was born, the duo's first album was shelved, their second album went gold ("Lord Willin'," in 2002), and their third release was stalled for four years as their record company seemed to lose interest in them in favor of its pop artists.
A couple of years after the release of "Lord Willin'," Arista dissolved into Jive records when Sony Music Entertainment merged with BMG. The Clipse were left under Jive, while Williams and his Star Trak label were placed under Interscope Records. The duo found themselves without the producer who mentored them and under a label that catered to the likes of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.
Not feeling the love, the brothers attempted to sue their way out of Jive. During the dispute, The Clipse kept their fans content by putting out a critically acclaimed mix-tape series, "We Got It 4 Cheap." The mix tapes provided a grim look at the dope game via the rap game. The success of the series eventually led to a deal with Jive that granted The Clipse their own imprint—Re-Up Records.
Through Re-Up, Jive and Star Trak Records, "Hell Hath No Fury" was finally released in November 2006. Despite lackluster sales, the album was well worth the wait. Malice and Pusha-T continued where they left off with the mix tapes, letting their audience know Virginia is not just a place for lovers.
One of my favorite songs on the album is the first single "Mr. Me Too." "Mr. Me Too" is the ultimate song about the person who emulates you but clearly isn't on the same level. "Keys Open Doors" details how the duo's street life (if you didn't know, selling dope is virtually a required prerequisite to becoming a rapper now) enabled them to achieve success in the music business.
The Clipse had four years to perfect "Fury," and it definitely shows. They did not sell out to popular trends like packing their album with guest appearances by R&B divas. The album's heavy Neptunes beats are less accessible and more challenging than some of their poppier productions and complement the Thornton brothers' style well. Featured rappers include Pharrell Williams, Slim Thug, the Re-Up Gang and Roscoe P. Coldchain. The Clipse are currently on a 29-city promotional tour with a stop scheduled for Freelon's Bar and Groove (440 N. Mill Street)this Saturday, April 14.