The Thornton brothers speak with Bill Weir about their rise to fame and solo careers.
Last night, 24-hour cable news network CNN featured an in-depth story on Thornton brothers No Malice and Pusha T, formerly known as the Hip Hop duo Clipse. Speaking with CNN journalist Bill Weir for a multi-part segment, the brothers spoke separately about their childhood and drug-dealing past and No Malice’s decision to walk away from the group.
“I was like, 'Wait a minute,'” he said, “I’m on the MTV Awards. People are calling me behind this. Listen, I think about it too much, I might get high. I might get high right now.”
Answering questions separately from a recording studio for Weir, No Malice alluded to the industry as a possibly dangerous attraction.
“There are a lot of highs in this business,” he said. “One thing I’ve come to find out is that you’re always searching for that next high.”
On the topic of No Malice’s decision to leave the group and prevailing celebrity lifestyle, Pusha T said he first learned of the move after presenting his brother with material for another album.
“I came to him and I was like, ‘Man, I got these ideas,’” he said. “‘I got these beats I want you to check out.’ He was like, ‘I’m not doing another Clipse album right now.’ Wow. Now that was hard. That was hard.”
“He picked Jesus over you,” Weir said.
“Yes, he did,” Pusha T responded. “Yes, he did.”
The My Name is My Name rapper also detailed having to walk away from dozens of offers for 10-year anniversary album performances because of No Malice's lack of involvement. “I wanna say somewhere from 25 to 30 shows that people who wanted us to do it,” he said. “Come to the city and perform the whole album in its entirety and he wasn’t interested at all. That’s when I knew it was real.”
On the topic of their Virginia Beach childhood, No Malice explained the motivation to sell drugs despite living in a relatively comfortable middle-class environment. “I mean, to see guys in high school with crazy cars and candy paint, it was just astonishing to me,” he said. “I was like, 'It’s no way I’m gonna know everybody and they’re getting money and I’m not going to get that.'”
When asked specifically about the type of drugs he sold as a youth, presumably crack cocaine, No Malice initially declined to answer.
“Hold on, I’m not comfortable with all of that,” he said. “Yeah I’m not...Hold on, give me a second ‘cause I’m getting flustered right now. You’re right, but this is CNN. That’s right, let’s go. Let’s go. Bill Weir! That’s what’s up,” he added, apparently ready to answer Weir’s questions.
While visiting one of Pusha T’s affiliated businesses, Weir asked the emcee about his current ventures. “I’m an investor,” he said of his involvement with Mass Appeal. “I bring ideas and projects. We’re working on a sneaker movie.
“SXSW, every year we do something at SXSW,” he added. “Tons of things. I think that being a bright businessman is way cooler than any chain, way cooler than any watch, way cooler than any car. For sure. Being on CNN is way cooler than any watch, any chain, any car.”
With any possibilities of a Clipse reunion quelled earlier this year by No Malice in an interview with Fader, the older Thornton brother spoke more generally about his religious transformation.
“Some people call it a come to Jesus moment, but this is real transformation,” he said. “When I think about my infidelities out on the run being a married man, when I think about the heartbreak that I caused my wife—that I caused myself—when I think about her forgiveness, how the word of God repaired us and nothing else, when I think about that, to me it’s a no-brainer. I can’t return to that lifestyle in that kind of way. I don’t have a choice.”
The two-part CNN feature on the Clipse is available below.