Clipse is a Virginia-based hip hop duo. Formed in 1992 by brothers Malice (born Gene Thornton in 1972, in The Bronx, New York) and Pusha T (born Terrence Thornton in 1977, in The Bronx, New York), the group is affiliated with multi-platinum production team The Neptunes.
Exclusive Audio Footage (1993–1999)
Clipse began its career in music in 1993 when the Thornton brothers met Pharrell Williams
, one half of the production team The Neptunes
. Impressed with their lyrical talents, Williams formed a working relationship with the duo. He eventually helped them secure a recording contract with Elektra Records
in 1997. Under Elektra, and with The Neptunes
handling its production, Clipse recorded its debut album, Exclusive Audio Footage
. Its first single, "The Funeral", helped to generate fan interest in the album, but failed to make a significant commercial impact. With "The Funeral" deemed a failure, Exclusive Audio Footage
itself was shelved indefinitely. Clipse was released from its record contract shortly thereafter.
Lord Willin' (2001–2002)
In early 2001, Williams signed the duo to Arista Records
through his recently established Star Trak Entertainment
imprint. Clipse released its commercial debut Lord Willin'
on August 20, 2002. The album opened at #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 200
, fueled by the strength of the first two singles, "Grindin'
" and "When the Last Time
", which peaked at #34 and #19 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100
. Third single "Ma, I Don't Love Her
" (featuring Faith Evans
) was a modest hit, reaching #86 on the Hot 100
. On October 1, 2002—only a month after its release—Lord Willin'
was certified gold by the RIAA
. Clipse made another dent in the pop music world that year by providing rhymes for Justin Timberlake
's first solo single, "Like I Love You
," another Neptunes-produced crossover radio hit.
Hell Hath No Fury (2003–2007)
In late 2003, Clipse began recording material for its second album, Hell Hath No Fury
. However, further work on the album ground to a halt in 2004, when Arista Records
was dissolved into its sister label Jive Records
as part of a larger merger between Sony Music Entertainment
. Due to contractual requirements, Clipse was forced to stay on Jive, while Star Trak and the rest of its roster moved to a new home at Interscope Records
While Clipse resumed work on the album, and eventually finished its recording, the duo became increasingly frustrated with Jive, as the label overlooked them in favor of the more "pop" oriented acts on its roster, causing numerous delays in the release of Hell Hath No Fury. As delays continued, the group asked for a formal release from its contract. When Jive refused to grant this request, the duo sued the label. While the litigation took place, Clipse released new material through its We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series. The mixtapes featured Clipse and two Philadelphia rappers: long-time friend Ab-Liva (of Major Figgas) and newcomer Sandman, known collectively as "The Re-Up Gang".
On May 9, 2006, Clipse finally reached an agreement with Jive Records to release the album through its own label, Re-Up Records, along with Jive. After two more changes in its release date (originally August 29 and then October 31) Hell Hath No Fury was finally released on November 28, 2006. It spawned two singles: "Mr. Me Too" with Pharrell Williams and "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" with Slim Thug. While the album received a great deal of critical acclaim, its sales were modest, at 78,000 in the first week. The hip hop magazine XXL gave the album a "XXL" rating, marking it as a five-star album. Only five albums had previously received that honor.
Columbia Records (2007–present)
In a May 19, 2007 interview with Eye Weekly
, Clipse revealed that the group had been officially released from its recording contract with Jive. After this, the duo began discussions with several record labels, eventually signing with Columbia Records
on October 26, 2007. On August 8, 2008, the duo released the Re-Up Gang
's self-titled debut studio album through Koch Records
. The album's first single, "Fast Life", was produced by Scott Storch
. The single was originally slated for the duo's third album, but they felt it would be better used for the Re-Up Gang album. Only Malice and Pusha-T appear on the track.
The follow-up to Hell Hath No Fury, titled Till the Casket Drops, is slated for a late 2008 release date. In a departure from the group's previous works, which only featured production from the Neptunes, the album will feature production from Timbaland, Danjahandz, Scott Storch, Dame Grease, Sean "Diddy" Combs' production team The Hitmen, and Kanye West.
In November 2007, Clipse announced the launch of their fashion line, Play Cloths.