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 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. Still, Pusha was saved by Kanye West, who signed him as a G.O.O.D Music artist.
Between 2002 when ‘Grindin’ was released, Clipse struggled and was far from the most popular duo in the US. The two brothers failed to make an impact commercially but remained consistent. However, in an interview with TIDAL magazine, Thornton unveiled that the final album Clipse made before he got signed by Kanye is his worst creation ever.
Thornton was open about his disdain for 2009’s Til The Casket Drops, stating, “I hate it and when a song comes on, like ‘I’m Good,’ man, this was a little bit of a bop. Hate it. Soon as I find myself bopping a little bit too much — ah, damn. And there’s another thing. Bro, No Malice is telling you the whole time he’s leaving. You hear it the whole way through the album.”
Speaking about the period after its release when the pair realised their time was up, Thornton explained, “The transition was happening, the album’s out, I’m touring and he comes and brings me a book and says, ‘Man, you probably should go read my book. But I think you should just go solo because I don’t want to do this.'”
Despite all his hatred for that project, Pusha admitted he still loves the artwork, disclosing, “Only thing I love about it is the artwork, and that’s because KAWS did it,” he added. “That’s it. ’09. Shout out KAWS!”
You can listen to Til The Casket Drops below.