When Clipse was last releasing an album, they were famously feuding with their label. Today, the Virginia Beach-based brothers Malice and Pusha T not only have a new deal with another label, Columbia Records, but a new outlook, too. When they release Til the Casket Drops, this summer, it’ll reflect how they’ve learned to navigate the business better and take creative risks.
“We’ve been through the ropes,” says Malice. But now, it’s about “making good decisions. It’s time to grow up, use your brain, and not so much glorifying the things of the past. This is a thinking man’s album.”
Clipse, whose first album, Lord Willin’, went gold, enjoyed unanimous critical acclaim on their last effort, Hell Hath No Fury, though modest sales. But Clipse’s fan base is diverse and loyal. Among them is Rick Rubin, who gave the guys invaluable advice.
“He said, ‘Make sure you love it. Don’t try and cater to everybody.’ And that they’ll evolve around us,” Malice says. “I was really inspired because after so long of doing this, it’s like, ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ You start to second guess yourself.”
They’re not unsure about the future, even though they’ve changed the formula considerably. Casket will find them venturing beyond their previous exclusive relationship with the Neptunes; Swizz Beatz, DJ Khalil and Sean C are among collaborators. Kanye West makes a cameo on their debut single, “Kinda Like a Big Deal.”
Beyond music, they’ve created a clothing line, Play Cloths, and will soon debut a web-only reality show that captures the quirky humor of their day-to-day lives. With new ventures and what they call a “more worldly” and accessible album, Clipse is ready to become a household rap name.
“We’ve had the critical acclaim,” says Pusha T. “Now we’re about bridging that gap between the cool kid world and the mainstream.”