Last week, the Thornton brothers, Gene and Terrence a.k.a. No Malice and Pusha T were featured on CNN. The brothers once formed the group, The Clipse. One of the more formidable acts in hip-hop, the pair earned respect from hip-hop purists and novices both.
At the height of the group’s fame, the two decided to go their separate ways. When you hear that a group has broken up, a majority of the time it’s about bad business deals, bad contracts or just bad blood plain and simple. That wasn’t the case with the brothers.
No Malice left his brother because he felt a bigger calling on his life. Like many others in the entertainment industry, the bright lights and fame that came with being a big time rap star began to wear on his mind and body. Rather than lean towards drugs or dig deeper into the music, he decided to open his bible and look toward the Lord.
He changed his name to No Malice, changed the content of his music and set off on a path like no other in hip-hop.
The CNN interview shed light on the group, their relationship with each other and more importantly, No Malice’s faith.
The interview was very enlightening, especially when you look at No Malice. After watching their interview, I came up with a few points that you should take away after watching the two explain their rise from the bottom and their career decisions.
Guess There’s Two Sides To What Substance Abuse Is
The brothers spoke openly on camera about how deep they both were into the drug game in Virginia. Growing up in Boston, I’ve heard many a story of hustlers who took to Virginia in an attempt to set-up shop. The state was a destination spot for many drug dealers back in the day. The Thornton brothers took advantage of the constant flow of homegrown addicts and out-of-town hopefuls.
While they were able to stack tons of money and build their reputations, their time on the streets clearly took a toll on both in different ways, especially No Malice.
CNN correspondent Bill Weir took Malice back to the apartments where they got their hustling start. As the camera’s rolled, Malice spoke about a particular drug deal that stood out to him. He became overwhelmed with emotion before he recalled the story of a woman giving her last dollars for crack, while neglecting her children.
Rather than justify what he was doing, he spoke about the death and destruction his lifestyle caused on others in his neighborhood. He also pointed out how his lifestyle and the life he was glorifying was nothing more than entertainment to White America. It was those revelations that helped lead him towards the path that he walks proudly now as a man of God.
Mo Money, More Problems
Pusha T revealed that he knew his brother was serious about leaving the rap game when he turned down the opportunity to tour in support of the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Lord Willin.
Their debut opus was a drug dealers diary. The two told cryptic tales of hustling on Virginia streets, endless women, designer brands and of course, death. Their hit, “Hustlin” became a staple in the hip-hop world at the time. A tour in support of the albums anniversary would’ve been huge not just for The Clipse as a group, but for fans. With big money on the table, No Malice said, “no thank you.” It was that moment that Push knew his brother was all the way done with the rap game as he knew it.
Malice explained to Weir that the pain his life at that time put on his marriage and how it changed his personality wasn’t worth revisiting, not for any amount of money. He went on to speak about how the money, fame and everything that came with it was more of a burden on him than anything. His new life with God was more rewarding to him than going back on stage and doing it all over again.
All That Glitters Aint Gold
One thing that stood out to me the most as I watched his portions of the interview was that what many people believe they need to have in life, aint really all that it’s cracked up to be. When you speak to most young rappers coming up, they’ll speak with passion that their in this for the money, fame, power and all that. Many aren’t truly prepared for that comes with.
To listen to No Malice speak openly about the pain it brought his life once he attained what he thought was success was refreshing to me. I feel that there are far too many ex-drug dealing (and pretend drug dealers) who speak about hustling as if it’s another job. The ease that they rap about selling weight, keeping addicts addicted and spending the spoils of their gain has always disturbed me. Growing up in the inner city, I’ve seen first hand more tragic stories than success stories. Few ever make it out the game and even fewer make it out to become rappers.
Malice’s honesty when it came to addressing his past is what many kids coming up today need to hear. That’s it’s not all making it rain in the strip clubs and trapping off your iPhone. A lot of bad energy comes with living that life. His testimony about the rigors that came with not just living that life, but living off that life was a breath of fresh air for me.
Everbody’s Walk Aint The Same
I watched their interview about 4 times. It was that good of a piece, but there was another reason why it interested me. Watching No Malice speak and give his testimony made me think about others who have said they were going to turn over a new leaf and try walking with the Lord. Former Bad Boy artist Ma$e came to mind.
I remember when Ma$e left a promising rap career to not just purse God, but to take a life in ministry. Ma$e would relocate to Atlanta and start a church. After a few years playing the background and doing what he felt God was calling him to do, eventually he found himself needing the spotlight again. He dabbled with the idea of signing with G-Unit. He even released a new album under the Bad Boy imprint. Currently Ma$e is still running his church and being a Pastor, all while discussing his new album.
Everybody’s walk isn’t the same. That’s one of the first things you learn when you come to Christianity. But everyone’s walk does require you to remove yourself from the secular world. Not everyone can do what Malice has decided to do. He plans on continuing his rap career, but he wants to do it in a way that reflects this new lifestyle. He doesn’t curse anymore, he doesn’t glorify his past life. Not condemning Ma$e and his waffling between secular life and Christian life, but Malice did shine a light on how difficult it is to really walk away from the spotlight and be happy with it.
Peace Of Mind Comes To Those Who Seek It
I respect all faiths. My faith is what it is, my faith. I don’t always feel the need to speak it out loud. I would like to think that my life overall reflects my beliefs. One thing I totally admired about No Malice was the peace of mind he seemed to have. To turn away from money and attention that comes with being a well-known rap star can be hard to just give up, but he did and he seems at more peace for doing it.
Whatever you believe in, peace of mind is what we all end up trying to find. To see someone who seemingly found it is something to not just admire, but something to hope for.
When he realized that the superficial life he was leading was only giving him surface level peace, he sought out something that could give his soul peace. That’s not something that could be understood by all, but that’s something that comes with peace of mind. How you feel about it doesn’t matter. When you can say that and be happy, that’s peace of mind.
For those who haven’t seen their interview, check it out below