Lord Willin’

Malice shares his life story. Photo by Leon Laing.

“Ain’t nothin’ cool about selling drugs,” Gene “Malice” Thornton Jr., asserted during his lecture at Penn State Harrisburg on Oct 20.

Malice, 39, makes up one half of the Clipse. Since their album debut in 2002, the hip-hop duo has dominated the charts with their witty wordplay and drug-rap narratives. The Clipse is mostly known for The Neptunes-assited single “Grinding,” a classic joint with a memorable drum arrangement. The song also helped to popularize the catchphrase “grinding,” meaning to deal drugs or work hard.

Before Malice lectured about the contents of his new book, Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked, he held a roundtable discussion with Penn State students. “I enjoy Nicki Minaj,” he said. “I like her animation. To me, she’s lyrical.” One student raised his hand during the discussion. The reserved rapper chuckled and told the student there’s no need to raise his hand because “we’re just choppin’ it up.” Another student asked Malice about his career. The Virginia-based wordsmith said hip-hop tycoon Rick Rubin once told him, “you have to enjoy what you do.” Penn State Harrisburg grad Clifton Johnson opened up for Malice with a poem. (Johnson also opened up for Common at a previous lecture.)

So why didn’t Malice sign with G.O.O.D. Music like his brother Pusha T? He’s been spreading God’s word (similar to Kurtis Blow and Rev. Run) and promoting his book.  Malice told one website that he straddled drug rap and spirituality during his stint with the Clipse. But after some of his friends and family received jail time, he began to reflect on the negative influence from the Clipse’s lyrics. “Our music is a very real music,” Malice said about the Clipse.

Next, Malice informed Pusha about his career change by giving his brother the manuscript for Wretched … Malice told our website that his spirituality has rubbed off on his younger bro. Pusha’s Fear of God mixtape is one example, Malice explained. During the lecture, the rapper’s Re-Up Gang Records gold medallion dangled from his chain. Re-Up consists of Malice, Philly-based Ab-Liva and Pusha.

“I’m [writing this book] because my life has been touched,” said Malice, who is also a husband and father. “I haven’t smoked [weed] since 2008.” “It was robbing me of my ambition.” “I don’t condemn the Clipse catalog.”

Click here to purchase Malice’s book or here to buy items from the Clipse’s clothing line. See below for more pics.

Malice. Photo by Leon Laing.

Malice and students. Photo by Leon Laing.

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