After weeks of planning, schedule shuffling and location scouting, VIBE has arrived in Norfolk, Virginia. The sleepy town isn’t quite Virginia Beach, but 25 minutes on the highway will have you on the boardwalk. It’s crunch time for Pusha T. His album, My Name Is My Name, is scheduled to be released on July 18 and Kanye is still making his final tweaks to the best “hip-hop album of the year,” as Pusha likes to call it. While his older brother, who now goes by No Malice, is also nearing the release of his first solo project titled, Hear Ye Him. Brothers by blood, the Thorntons are a rare breed of post ’90s reality rappers who’ve really lived through the street tales that they’ve documented in their music.
Though the Clipse haven’t released an album since 2009, the brothers are finally ready to give the fans a dose of the “new” Clipse. Pusha T and No Malice say nothing has changed between them, but are now on two completely different paths musically.
No Malice arrives first to the Friendship Baptist Church. The modest building is just a 10-minute drive from the Downtown Marriot. He’s accompanied by his 21-year-old son, and a few other close friends. There, Pastor Norris greets the camera crew with open arms as the baptism scene is prepared.
Pusha pulls up solo some time later, yapping orders to someone on his iPhone. His ear buds seem to be in throughout the whole shoot. The day also marks the grand opening of the younger Thornton’s second clothing boutique in Norfolk. P’s scrambling to finalize details for Crème’s launch party and has just a few hours of set time before he has to jet. Before long, we’re all holding hands in a prayer circle as Pastor Norris asks God to bless our shoot.
It’s clear that Pusha and No Malice’s brotherly bond hasn’t changed. They share few words on set, but they are seamless when it’s time to work. It may be rare to see the boys stepping out as the Clipse these days, but one thing is clear: brotherly love is sacred. —Mikey Fresh
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BTS Video by Reinvision Films
Photos by Orson Whales (Shahan Jafri and Alexander Germanotta)