Gene Elliott Thornton Jr. (born August 18, 1972), better known by his stage name No Malice (formerly known as Malicious and Malice), is an American hip hop recording artist from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is perhaps best known for being one half of Southern hip hop duo Clipse, alongside his brother and fellow American rapper Terrence "Pusha T" Thornton. No Malice released his solo debut album Hear Ye Him, on August 18, 2013.
Life and career:
1972-2009: Early life and Clipse:
No Malice was born Gene Elliott Thornton, Jr., on August 18, 1972, in The Bronx borough of New York City. He and his family later moved down south to Virginia Beach. He and his brother Pusha T, formed the rap group Jarvis, in the year 2000 and in 2001, were later introduced to fellow Virginian Pharrell Williams, one half of the high-profile production team The Neptunes. Impressed with their lyrical talents, Williams formed a working relationship with the duo. He eventually helped them secure a recording contract with Elektra Records, in 1997. Under Elektra, and with The Neptunes handling its production, Clipse recorded their debut album Exclusive Audio Footage. The group's debut single "The Funeral", helped to generate fan interest in the album, but failed to make a significant commercial impact. With "The Funeral" deemed a failure, Exclusive Audio Footage itself was shelved indefinitely. Clipse were subsequently released from their recording contract shortly thereafter.
In early 2001, Williams signed the duo to Arista Records, through his recently established Star Trak Entertainment imprint. Clipse released their commercial debut Lord Willin', on August 20, 2002. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200, fueled by the strength of the lead singles "Grindin'" and "When the Last Time", which peaked at No. 30 and No. 19 respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's third single "Ma, I Don't Love Her" (featuring Faith Evans), was a modest hit, reaching No. 86 on the Hot 100. On October 1, 2002--only a month after its release--Lord Willin' was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In late 2003, Clipse began recording material for its second album, Hell Hath No Fury. However, further work on the album ground to a halt in 2004, when Arista Records's urban artists were absorbed into its sister label Jive Records as part of a larger merger between Sony Music Entertainment and BMG. Due to contractual requirements, Clipse was forced to stay on Jive, while Star Trak and the rest of its roster moved to a new home at Interscope Records. While Clipse resumed work on the album, and eventually finished its recording, the duo became increasingly frustrated with Jive, as the label overlooked it in favor of the more pop-oriented acts on its roster, which caused numerous delays in the release of Hell Hath No Fury. As delays continued, the group asked for a formal release from its contract. When Jive refused to grant this request, the duo sued the label.
On May 9, 2006, Clipse finally reached an agreement with Jive Records to release the album through its own label, Re-Up Records, along with Jive.Hell Hath No Fury was finally released on November 28, 2006. It spawned two singles: "Mr. Me Too" with Pharrell Williams and "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" with Slim Thug. While the album received a great deal of critical acclaim, its sales were modest, at 78,000 in the first week. The hip hop magazine XXL gave the album a "XXL" rating, marking it as a five-star album. At the time only five albums had previously received that honor. In a May 19, 2007 interview with Eye Weekly, Clipse revealed that the group had been officially released from its recording contract with Jive. After this, the duo began discussions with several record labels, eventually signing with Columbia Records on October 26, 2007. The follow-up to Hell Hath No Fury, titled Til the Casket Drops, was released on December 8, 2009 via Columbia Records. In a departure from the group's previous works, which only featured production from the Neptunes, the album features production from Sean "Diddy" Combs' production team The Hitmen, and DJ Khalil among others. The album did not fare as well commercially as the group's first two albums, peaking at No. 41 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
2010-present: Solo career and Hear Ye Him:
In April 2010 Malice announced that he and Pusha T would release solo albums later in the year, and that they were no longer signed to Columbia Records. In 2011 Malice published his book Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked, a memoir about his life, including fearing contracting AIDS, as well as his conversion to Christianity. On March 6, 2012, he announced that he changed his name from Malice to No Malice. In 2012, No Malice collaborated with Lecrae on his mixtape Church Clothes, on the song "Darkest Hour". On June 19, 2012, No Malice released the first single from Hear Ye Him titled "June" featuring Eric David. On July 24, 2012, the second single from Hear Ye Him titled "Unforgettable" was released. On January 15, 2013, the third single from Hear Ye Him titled "Smoke & Mirrors" featuring Ab-Liva was released. On May 21, 2013, it was announced that his debut album Hear Ye Him would be released on July 2, 2013, but the album was later pushed back. On June 4, 2013, the fourth single from Hear Ye Him titled "Bury That" was released.