It’s been a tumultuous four years for Malice and Pusha T. As The Clipse, the duo took the hip-hop industry by storm in 2002 by dropping their banging debut album, Lord Willin’. Led by the head-banging single “Grindin’” and backed by consistent hitmakers The Neptunes, it looked like The Clipse were on the cusp of hip-hop greatness.
Then they disappeared. It wasn’t the group’s fault though; they were working hard on their follow-up album when a label merger left them in limbo.
The Clipse were initially signed by L.A. Reid to Arista Records but were sent to Jive Records after the 2004 merger between BMG (Jive and Arista’s parent company) and Sony Music Entertainment.
Due to contractual issues, The Clipse were stuck with Jive. For two years their album was continually delayed and when Pusha and Malice were asked to be released from the label, they were refused. In turn, they sued the label. While litigation was taking place the group launched their own imprint, Re-Up Records, and released a series of mixtapes that had the streets talking.
With a buzz in the streets, Jive and the group finally came to an agreement to release their new album, Hell Hath No Fury, under the Re-Up Records banner along with Jive and to have total creative control.
We caught up with Pusha T to talk about the new album, their label situation, and if they’re ever stop rapping about selling cocaine.
So the album is dropping in a couple of weeks and—
The album already dropped man; it’s leaked on the internet. It’s all good though man. Everybody’s got to get theirs however they’re going to get it. If they’re going to download it they were never going to buy it anyway. But I’m getting good responses so it’s working towards our benefit as well.
What’s the science behind the album name, “Hell Hath no Fury”?
The title of the album derives from a saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” And you know when that woman is scorned, she throws the brick through your window, keys your car, and tells your real woman how much you’ve been cheating. She shows your real woman how many purses you done bought her, she just makes your life hell. So that’s how we were attacking this album, attacking this game, attacking this industry.
Seems kind of short compared to other albums, only 12 songs, why so short?
You know, all classics are short. Illmatic, Common, everything that has been considered a classic is short. You know what it is, I’m a firm believer in this, if you can’t do it in 12, there’s no need for me to hear 22 records on your album. I can’t deal with that.
Do you have a ton of unreleased joints then?
We had a whole other album recorded. This has been a hiatus of four years. It’s one of those situations where you couldn’t feel those records anymore; you couldn’t rightfully rap those records. We have fans that follow us and follow our story, they know the plight, they know the situation we’re going through. Then to hear about me ballin’ in
How hard is it to choose
Nah, they don’t ever come with beat CDs. When we go in the studio, nine times out of ten, we’ve already talked about the direction, the feel and what we want. Then Pharrell and
Has there ever been a beat they made for someone else that you were like, “I wish we got that one!”?
Nah, I don’t think so. They make incredible records though. I think there’s a whole other chemistry with us, they don’t have any other artists like The Clipse. We take risks, we push the envelope. Our whole thing is disrupting radio and making it hell on radio people who work at these companies because we’re always going to do something different. Something that totally goes against the direction of what’s popular.
But was there any temptation to maybe get that Kanye or Scott Storch beat or call on Young Jeezy because of what’s hot right now?
Never. There was never any temptation. This is a family thing. I don’t know other people’s motivation or how they feel about it, but we pride ourselves on integrity and classic material. I don’t want just a number one hit, a number one is great if it happens but you don’t make music to do that. You make music to evoke emotion and make you feel a certain way.
XXL Magazine gave the album a XXL rating, its highest rating, which ought to make you feel good about your work.
We love it. The critical acclaim has been amazing. I’m so glad that people are recognizing. That rating in XXL was very special, something very important and we were ecstatic about it. We just really feel we put our all and emotion into this album and we love the fact that we’re being recognized for it.
You guys have been open about the situation with Jive Records, where does that relationship stand now?
It doesn’t stand. It’s always an issue. But I mean, it is what it is, it’s business.
Was there anything you could have done differently to make the situation better?
Nah. I think everything worked out best for The Clipse. I mean, there’s nothing so incredible that I’ve got from Jive. I did a record, but I signed a record deal, so I should do a record. You don’t see us having Access Granted, MTV Diaries, and all the major perks that come along with a major label. We ain’t on the cover of no magazines. With all the magazines rating us classic, there are no extra perks that we’re getting with this. There’s still no radio play, video play is minimal, so you know.
So what kind of advice do you have for cats trying to make moves in this game?
Always prepare yourself to not be courted by the label. Try to do as much on your own as you can, establish your own base. Use other methods like the internet, mixtapes, anything to get your popularity up in the street and create that solid foundation.
Speaking of mixtapes, you guys kept your name out there with several tapes. Who is the Re-Up Gang?
The Re-Up Gang is a crew of dudes who are driven by lyric-driven hip-hop. We love this rap game, it’s amazing and we’re all motivated by each other. It’s me, Malice, Ab-Liva and Sandman but we’re looking to add a few more guys.
When is the next mixtape?
We Got It Cheap Pt. 3 is on its way and that’s coming in the new year. Yeah, that’s how we’re setting off the new year. [People can enter to win a spot to spit on the upcoming mixtape, for more info, click here].
Will there be a Re-Up Gang album?
Yeah, there will be a Re-Up Gang album, we’re going to do a Re-Up Gang compilation and you’ll hear these guys all over the The Clipse album. It’s going to be a great time for lyric-driven hip-hop man.
Of course you guys rep VA, but you’ve been embraced up north by
Whoa! That’s amazing man. I’m just glad people are recognizing that’s a good thing. With that coming from people that aren’t where you’re from, like I said it’s a great thing.
What are your touring plans right now?
We’re on the road now, we’re never home. We’re on the road and I’m just getting to the house right now. I’m actually picking up my car from the airport while I speak to you. I’m only here for one day, get my hair done, and once I do that we’re back on the road again. We’re doing nothing but shows and more shows and more promotion. We’re trying to do 200 shows like The Roots. We want to be like The Roots. We respect those guys’ drive and hunger and that’s what you have to do when you’re with a label. Everything, 100 percent relies on you. Like I said, there ain’t no extras over here, no perks.
One of the things you guys were criticized for on Lord Willin’ was all the cocaine talk, but now it seems like the in-thing with cats like Young Jeezy and Rick Ross…
Yeah, ain’t those critics losers now? All those guys who said that and now they’re giving all those other guys love years later. Some people are just stupid, real stupid man… I love it. Now they got to come back and kiss the ring, that’s what it’s about. It’s about making people come and kiss the ring, feel me? They got to kiss the ring, and if they kiss the ring, I can like you again. If you don’t kiss the ring and act like it never happened, nah I’ll never like you.
During that time was there ever a thought, “Maybe I should change it up next time out”?
Never. I’m going conscious on my fifth album. I’ll probably be ready to go conscious then. And when I do go conscious, I’m going to do Andre 3000, turban daishiki and everything. I’ll see if everybody love me then, you think they’ll love me?
As long as you spittin’ and got the
Okay, I’m going for it, B. I’m going for it, then.
Any last words?
I just want to thank the fans for keeping us relevant, just everybody who supports The Clipse. The year 2007 is definitely ours, wack label or not, it’s definitely ours. We’re putting out hot music and we got a slew of hot music ready for everybody, We Got It Cheap Vol. 3, The Spirit of Competition (We Just Think We’re Better), that’s what we’re running with. That’s how we’re going to set it off and we’re going to start the war with that.