The hip-hop power duo used to be pretty prevalent in the days of old[er]. Unfortunately, such groups are all-but-chillin’ in between sedimentary rock and dinosaur bones. Thank God for the Clipse because they have been holding down the two-dope-rappers niche like nobody else. With names like “Pusha” and “Malice,” it is easy to jump to conclusions and say that Clipse aren’t for the kids but here at URB, we always look before we leap. We caught up with one half of the powerhouse group (Malice) to talk Til The Casket Drops, what fuels classics and why Malice’s new book will probably give kids some much-needed insight.
*Note: I have good and bad news.The interview itself is the good news. The bad news is that there were technical difficulties during the interview, so instead of having a verbatim transcription to pull from, this piece is a reflection of the notes I managed to jot down and trying my best to flesh them out only enough to reflect Malice’s responses and thoughts in their original, complete forms.*
URB: You guys have said that Til The Casket Drops is “hip-hop on steroids.” What is the mindset behind the album?
Malice: Yeah. There is now an even playing field. We finally have nothing to complain about. We got the chains off- we’re here.
“Popular Demand”: did you guys get to go in the studio with Cam?
Unfortunately, we were not in the studio with Cam when we did “Popular Demand,” so we just sent stuff back and forth. In trying to work with other artists, it gets difficult to make everything work and to work with who you want to because there are way too many variables involved.
You guys first wanted him on the “Grindin’ ” remix but it ended up not happening. From what I understand, he kinda dissed you guys by not doing it?
Well, he didn’t really know what to do with the beat. It was a very different song during that time, so it’s understandable.
When making Hell Hath No Fury, did you guys know you were making a classic?
All we knew was that it was from the heart and the emotions were real. At that time, Pusha and I were feeling a lot of anger and bitterness. We were suffering for the album and we were able to let that loose in our music.
You’ve had a heavy influence on hip-hop with only two commercially available albums. Even still, do you guys feel like you don’t get the credit you deserve?
I don’t feel that way. We were always happy with the work that we put out and I am thankful for everything that has come. You’ve gotta be thankful for the slow grind because it gives you more to push for. I’m just glad to be here and I know that we haven’t reached our ceiling- if we even have one. Success is all in the mind. Hip-hop needed our influence, just like it needed those guys who influenced me: Juice Crew, KRS-ONE, Large Professor. I mean, when I listen to Rakim and pick up on new stuff…it’s magic.
On your very first album, Exclusive Audio Footage, it seemed like your guys’ style was more in your face but when Lord Willin’ came out, it was a little more reined in (as far as delivery and flow is concerned). How did you guys develop that change in your style?
The politics took a lot of the fun out of it. We just wanted to rap and be the voice of Virginia and we were hungry for it. But even when you are hungry, if you see that there are roadblocks, you may decide to change things in order to get around or through them.
It’s no secret that Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z are experiencing some pretty big disagreements right now. Do you guys have any thoughts on what is going on with them?
Naw, it’s something personal. All I can really say is that, in any situation, if you give someone power by putting the blame on them for your life, you give them the power for your destiny.
Anything you are tired of being asked?
Nope. I’m just thankful that people are interested in us. The fans have kept us alive. If it weren’t for the fans, for the buzz they made for us, we wouldn’t be here.
What do you wished you were asked more?
Actually yes: I wish that more people would ask about my book. It’s called Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked. It touches upon a lot of things: what it is like to be inside of the industry, my personal life, how wordly things can lead you astray…it will be what Beat Street and Krush Groove were [to hip-hop.] Pusha read it and was floored. It is still on the table with a few publishers, so I’m not sure when it will be out exactly, but hopefully, it will hit shelves sometime next year.
You have a lot of courage to talk about things like that because a lot of artists would never dare to be so honest.
Well, it is definitely needed. And I can talk. My life is real- I don’t have insecurities. Kids need to learn that they can’t subscribe to everything they hear and see. I think my honesty just shows the intellect of my book.