Pusha T isn't the only member of the Clipse with a "New God Flow." His brother, No Malice (formerly known as Malice), famously found God last year, renouncing the drug trade that had so often been the focus of his raps. After releasing a book, Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked, that details his spiritual transformation, No Malice is finally back to making music, though now without his brother Pusha T, who's been busy putting in work as a solo soldier for Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint. In the wake of his new single "Unforgettable," No Malice sat down with BET.com to discuss his publishing company, working with Bun B and incorporating religion into his music.
With Pusha going solo and Malice changing his name and focus, many wondered if the latter would ever make music again. And if he did, would it suffer from the overbearing — and let's face it, often corny — demagoguery that derails so much so-called Christian rap? But No Malice eased those concerns with "Unforgettable," which finds him spitting ice-cold couplets over a synth-driven, Clipse-style beat. While there are some subtle nods to his newfound faith, it never gets in the way. "Everybody knows what the Clipse music is about: real and true stories, and it wasn't always good," No Malice tells BET.com. "So I'm just saying, anybody that is trying to emulate [that should] just know everything, and I think the Clipse have always done that. In the hip hop world at large as we know it, you don't want to come off preachy, or try to come off condemning in any kind of way."
It's an approach that will carry over into No Malice's forthcoming solo debut, Hear Ye Him, which also produced the single "June" last month. There's no release date, but No Malice promises some heavyhitting collabos, including a reunion with his old partners in crime, the Neptunes. "Chad from the Neptunes, me and Pharrell are getting together real soon," he says.
Also on the horizon is "Bow Down No Mo'," No Malice's next single, featuring Bun B. "Bun is just that OG that you respect," No Malice says. "He's still very sharp — he's just as dope as everything that's going on right now. When I came up with this track I heard his voice on it, and I just knew his style would be something that was very beneficial to this track."
Despite his rediscovered musical focus, No Malice is burnishing his book-world cred even further. He's working on a new book, 32, with his former manager Anthony "Geezy" Gonzalez, who's serving a 32-year jail sentence for drug trafficking. And his publishing company, Thorn10 Publishing, recently released another title, Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels, by young author Jasmin Mans. "She's a poet, and was just in Glamour magazine as one of the top ten most influential women in college. She's a young lady definitely putting out a lot of good work for humanity," says No Malice. "Basically I'm trying to put out people's stories that can be inspiring, teach lessons and just show life in its reality."
Naturally, that includes his own story, which has seen him go from drug dealer to gangsta rapper to born-again author and more — a journey No Malice can't wait to recount on Hear Ye Him. "I'm back to the music, and the music is a little different, but it's still definitely good," he says. "I'm just trying to paint both sides of the spectrum and give an alternative to a lot of the things that's going on now. It's really so the youth can have something to look at instead of just being force-fed what's given to them. Let them make their own decision."
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(Photo: John Ricard / BET)