Ed Note: Today, May 13, is Pusha T's 38th birthday. Born Terrence Thornton, Pusha made his way into hip-hop in 1992 when he and older brother, Gene "No Malice" Thornton, formed the duo Clipse. Dropping hits like "Grindin" off 2002's Lord Willin', Clipse was an unstoppable Southern group back in the day. Since then, the Virginia native has ventured off on his own, has joined forces with Kanye West's GOOD Music imprint and dropped a critically-acclaimed solo debut album, My Name Is My Name, in 2013.

In celebration of King Push's born day, we dug through the crates and found Pusha's first appearance in the magazine: Clipse's Show & Prove from the May 2002 issue of XXL. Enjoy the nostalgia and happy birthday to Pusha!

The Clipse Show and Prove May 2002
XXL Magazine, May 2002 (Photo: Mark Edward Atkinson)

Who You Wit
Words Isaac Perry

A half-minute into Virginia duo The Clipse's new buzz-single, "Grindin'," you'll wonder where you've heard it before. The initial familiarity lies in the beat provided by none other than hip-hop's all-access production duo, The Neptunes. Listen a while longer and you'll recognize the spirit of the song. The no-frills essence of "Grindin'" was once heard on the regular 12 to 15 years ago, when hip-hop's blaring energy first tattooed itself on the American consciousness. "It's nothing that you would expect from The Neptunes," says The Clipse's 29-year-old Malice of the production on his group's debut LP, Lord Willin'. His brother and partner, 24-year-old Pusha T, finishes the thought: "We wanted to be different, so we had to go far left with it."

Going left included passing on several Neptunes tracks that would later be used by other artists (e.g. Jadakiss' "Knock Yourself Out"). In 1999, The Clipse, as in Full Eclipse, were signed to Elektra Records, but after completing their album spearheaded by the presciently titled "The Funeral," creative differences forced them to kill their Elektra relationship and record for The 'Tunes own Star Trak imprint, distributed by Arista. "It was an awakening," Pusher says of the Elektra departure. "That's what this new album is about. We had to make a total U-turn. We had to really turn around and get our grind back."

The Bronx-born, Virginia-raised Thornton brothers (born Gene and Terrence) hope to bring hip-hop closer to Virginia, lacing their songs with vocal performances that relate more to rap's golden era than to hip-hop's latest fashions. As on their initial effort, The Clipse have employed friends The Neptunes to supply all of Lord Willin's production resulting in a sound that challenges the genre and comes, ironically, from a production team that had been criticized at times for its musical inflexibility. "It's just a collage of the street elements of Virginia," Malice explains. "Just the things that people go through. It's a perspective that hasn't been heard, because Virginia hasn't been heard like that." If The Clipse continue to bring heat like "Grindin'," their version of Virginia hip-hop will eventually be heard by everyone, everywhere—like all Neptune music.

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