No Malice knows the easy route. He lived it for most of his life. Following the flock, keeping on his cool, while setting out on a quest for the hip-hop dream. Well, maybe the street dream came first. But after the allure had faded, the physical fulfillment dulled by excess, it was time to look in the mirror. Who did he see? A successful rapper? A celebrity? He couldn’t see anything. Forget the money, the fans and the women. No Malice needed inner peace and it was in front of his face his whole life. When the word of God finally touched his soul, the Clipse half was a changed man forever. His life did a complete 360. Changing his rap moniker was just a small step in his new journey with God. When he realized that nothing else was able to make him feel complete, Pusha’s brother accepted the mission to reach anyone who was willing to listen.
“There was times when I couldn’t have this conversation with an interviewer about God. ‘Are you kidding me? God? I’m a rapper. We ain't talking about God.’ That was me before. But it’s the spirit that takes you and helps you become bolder with God’s word,” says No Malice. “It’s just like physical growth from a baby to a toddler to an adolescent. This is spiritual growth."
The new Malice acts as a servant, not by choice, but by what he says is the grace of his lord and savior. “I have so many friends that call me and tell me testimonies. They feel like I’m the only person they can call and tell,” says No Malice. As a personal messenger for Jesus Christ, he knows there’s a higher calling for his gift of speech. His pyrex has been cleaned for good. You won’t ever find traces of powder again.
VIBE: "Malice is wack now. He doesn’t want to rap hard anymore. He’s corny." How do you react to that statement?
No Malice: I haven’t heard that statement, but everyone is pretty much entitled to his or her opinion. Everybody that feels that way for me, it tells me of their intellect. I don’t think that’s the kind of people that I would engage in an argument or discussion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
So, honestly you don’t think that you’ve lost any fans with the new direction of your music?
They really haven’t heard my music yet, for one. You heard a couple singles or whatever, but to say that I haven’t lost any fans I don’t think that would be realistic because it’s a different message. It is definitely a different movement; it’s a different word. So to do something different and expect the same amount of fans, I don’t think that would be logical. I’m sure, you know, some would be lost along the way. And that’s cool.
It doesn’t seem like something you’re concerned about or losing sleep over.
I can’t lose sleep over it. I can’t be concerned or allow that to stop me from what I’m doing.
Do you consider yourself a Christian or Gospel rapper now?
I’m not going to say what it is not. I haven’t labeled this music. I’ll let the fans call it what they want to call it. But for me it’s the truth music. For me it is definitely undeniable. I know Malice can’t hold a candle to No Malice lyrically. He doesn’t even come close. It’s different when you have a message that you’re willing to put in an art form, share with people and die for. It’s a huge difference.
Are you willing to die for this?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Make no mistake. Most certainly, most assuredly, Believest thou this, just for the message!
And we’re talking about the message of God, not the music right?
The message. Definitely, the message. For me it’s not about music. Rap is just the vehicle, you know? Rap is just the conduit to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t get the message. I don’t see nothing so great about rap or rappers or what’s going on out there. I mean, okay it’s enjoyable, it feels good, it's a lifestyle. But I think I’m one of the best to do it. Rap? I’m not impressed with it.
Really, there aren't any new rappers that you like?
Nothing! I wasn’t impressed with any! You know I been out of music for the past three, going on four years, and it’s right where it was when I left it. I ain’t seen nothing step up. I ain't seen the bar raised. I ain’t seen nothing good. I ain't seen a great message. I haven’t seen anything different than from when I left.
Do you feel like you’re going to make a big impact with your own solo project, Hear Ye Him?
I feel like my music is going to touch whoever it’s supposed to touch. I’m not going to come back in and be like, "I’m the best! Y’all ain’t doin nothing!" That’s not my intent, not my game plan. There’s definitely a listener for this music. And like I said, the people it's supposed to touch... it will touch.
Well, you’ve really set yourself up for this album, with the book kind of being like a prelude. You hit all the outlets. You did all the interviews. You explained yourself and took your time to set yourself up. By now, everyone knows your music has a new message.
Yeaj, I feel like my gift was given to me from God. I feel like any gift that is used for the wrong kingdom is called talent. And I have my gift no matter what it is I’m talking about. I just choose to talk about things that don’t lead you to a dead end. I tend to talk about things that lead to life. I tend to talk about things that lead to peace and not destruction. And if I’m wrong for that, then I’m going to be wrong.
Who was involved in the making of Hear Ye Him?
I have, of course, Chad Hugo. I have S1, Illmind and a group of guys from Virginia that goes by the name of Profound Sounds who actually did the title cut “Hear Ye Him.” They also did “Bury That” as well. There’s also a young lady here from Virginia named Bri and she’s on a song called “Different.” She’s a young 19-year-old with an incredible voice. John Bibbs, he’s from Richmond, also on “Bury That. “ Cam Calloway. He produced a song called “Blasphemy,” that’s featuring Famlay. I definitely kept the spotlight on Virginia.