The world of hip-hop is made up of foundations represented by stylistically regional hip-hop genres - East Coast, West Coast, the Mid-West, and the Dirty South. Every few years however, a hip-hop act emerges to interrupt the shine of conventional hip-hop. This year Malice and Pusha T a.k.a. Clipse have arrived to introduce the Virginia streets to the hip-hop world.
The past few years have been full of contribution for the quiet state of Virginia. Almost overnight, VA has become an innovative ground for hip-hop culture. While noteworthy talent such as Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Teddy Riley have proudly represented Virginia on the radio and in the clubs, Clipse will bring the uncharted aspect of Virginia streets to the forefront with their Star Trak/Arista debut, Lord Willin'.
The creation of Clipse is the culmination of events that began in the late 1980's. Both Malice (Gene Thornton) and Pusha T (Terrence Thornton) were born in the heart of hip-hop's birthplace, the Bronx, New York; home to hip-hop giants like KRS-1, and the late Big Pun. Residing in the Gunhill Road section of the Bronx, a young Malice and Pusha T migrated to Virginia in the early 1980's. First to move was the older brother, Malice who quickly developed a reputation as a lyrical wordsmith. Three years later, Pusha T joined his brother and the duo began to combine their Kool G. Rap, Juice Crew, Eric B & Rakim and Large Professor influences with the unique sounds of Virginia.
It was during a cipher that Malice caught the attention of an unknown producer named Pharrell Williams. Impressed by what he heard, Williams promised to work with Malice and Pusha T to produce a demo tape. As Malice and Pusha T began to develop their craft and recognize their potential to have an effect on the hip-hop world, they began to formally be known as Clipse.
Meanwhile, Pharrell along with his classmate, Chad Hugo, began to take the hip-hop world by storm and establish themselves as one of the brightest production teams in hip-hop. Once established, Pharrell and Chad, known as the Neptunes, helped the Clipse land a deal on Elektra in 1999, where they released the buzz-single The Funeral. The single struck a cord with street heads and garnered Clipse some well-deserved attention, making them two to watch for the new millennium. Although the streets wanted more of Clipse, their album was pushed back and eventually shelved indefinitely by their former label.
As MCs first, and entertainers second, Malice and Pusha T continued to stay busy after their initial setback by enhancing other people's tracks with their distinct lyrical delivery. 2000 found Clipse working with a host of No Limit Artists including Master P, 504 Boyz and Silk Da Shocker. In 2001, the duo appeared on releases from The Backstreet Boys, Jermaine Dupri, and Grammy award winning Nelly Furtado. Most recently, for Star Trak Entertainment, Clipse have laced several tracks including Am I High, Truth Or Dare, and Lap Dance, all off the Neptunes' debut album, N.E.R.D.: In Search Of... On the R&B end they found time to bless songstress Kelis for her anticipated sophomore release, Wanderland. In 2002, they have even tested their commercial appeal by performing in a Reebok campaign for Allen Iverson's "Answer 5" basketball shoe.