How The Clipse got their unique name
(Credit: Delarge)

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How The Clipse got their unique name

Pusha T is a respected rapper who many love, but few know his roots. The emcee (real name Terrence Thornton) entered the hip-hop arena as one-half of the famous rap duo The Clipse that spawned out of Virginia Beach in the late 1990s.

His fellow member was his brother, Gene Thornton, rapping as No Malice. With his brother rapping as a duo in their local area, they would rise alongside Virginia Beach natives The Neptunes, frequently featuring on their projects. In 1996, Pharrell Williams would help secure the duo a record deal. 

In 2002, they would have a breakout hit from their second studio album, Lord Willin’. However, the duo began to descend quickly due to label disputes and contractual issues interfering with the amount of music they were allowed to release.

Their breakout hit, produced by The Neptunes, was ‘Grindin’. The track is iconic for its stripped-back minimalistic beat that had school kids across America banging on the lunch tables and slamming their metal lockers. The instrumental is sparse and made history with its slamming sound. It was beyond catchy, and the way it was so easy to imitate made it fun for the youth.

However, the high didn’t last long, but in a recent interview, Pusha T and No Malice reflected on their time as a duo in the early 2000s, and unveiled how they got their unique name.

Speaking to Noah Callahan-Bever on his Idea Generation podcast, Thornton unveiled that it was Pharrell Williams who came up with the name, stating, “Pharrell had this bright idea like, ‘You know what? Two dark-skinned brothers, y’all gonna be named Eclipse. Y’all black!'”

He continued, “He sells this whole thing. Pharrell’s greatest gift is a salesman. So he sold this whole thing! This is back when rap had like three full verses, and so before then, my brother was a soloist, and he’s writing three full verses, and it’s taking forever to finish the song.”

He concluded, unveiling, “Pharrell was like ‘So y’all can cut it in half now! This is what we about to do! And the Clipse was born.” You can listen to Pusha T speaking about the birth of the duo in the video below.