Hailing from Virginia, Clipse -- brothers Pusha T and Malice -- were one of the first artists to associate with the Neptunes.
The Neptunes' Pharrell Williams first met the brothers in the early '90s, was very impressed by their talents, and decided to help them get a gig. After he hooked them up with the Elektra label, an early single flopped and the group seemed done, even though an album's worth of material had been recorded. Williams was not discouraged and continued to hype the group until Arista finally intervened in 2001. Williams and partner Chad Hugo stepped behind the boards and produced Lord Willin', Clipse's 2002 full-length debut, released through Star Trak/Arista. On the strength of "Grindin'," the album hit the Top Ten of the R&B/Hip-Hop and Billboard 200 charts and eventually went gold. The Sony-BMG merger threw the follow-up into limbo and sparked a long bout of legal snags between Clipse and their new parent label, Jive. While the delay was going on, Clipse issued a series of mixtapes and set up their Re-Up label. The label disputes were eventually cleared up, and Hell Hath No Fury -- a lean, mean album, featuring the Neptunes and the MC'ing duo at the top of their game -- was finally released on November 28, 2006. Almost unanimously hailed by critics, it also reached number 14 on the Billboard 200. Clipse later signed with Columbia for Til the Casket Drops, released in December 2009. The album's list of collaborators included the Neptunes, DJ Khalil, Kanye West, and Keri Hilson. ~ Bradley Torreano & Andy Kellman, Rovi