No Malice began his career as part of the hip-hop duo Clipse in the '90s before embarking on solo endeavors. Born Gene Elliott Thornton, Jr. in the New York borough the Bronx, he and his family later moved south to Virginia Beach. After graduating from high school, he joined the army, hoping to secure a stable career and the opportunity to study and learn a trade. Having opted for the shortest enlistment period available, he left the army in 1994 and returned to Virginia where he formed Clipse with his younger brother Terrance.
After assuming the stage names Malice and Pusha T, the brothers met fellow Virginia Beach resident Pharrell Williams. Williams was one-half of the production duo The Neptunes, who would produce Clipse's first record, Exclusive Audio Footage, and he also helped them secure a record deal with Elektra. However, their debut didn't perform well commercially, and Elektra freed them from their contract shortly after the record's release in 1999.
The duo's fortunes shifted after Williams signed them to his own Star Trak Entertainment label and they put out their follow-up, 2002's Lord Willin', which went on to achieve gold status. The mix of their unflinching lyricism, which often focused on drug dealing, and the stripped-down beats of celebrated production team The Neptunes ensured their continued success. Both 2006's Hell Hath No Fury and 2009's Til the Casket Drops both performed well, but in 2010 Thornton announced he and his brother would be releasing solo albums. Instead of a record, the first work to appear from Thornton was the 2011 memoir Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked, which also documented his conversion to Christianity. The following year he changed his stage name to No Malice, explaining that he thought his original nom de plume had negative connotations.
2013 saw the release of Thornton's debut solo record. Hear Ye Him left behind the drug tales of yore in favor of a more positive message inspired by his spiritual transition. Despite continued speculation over a Clipse reunion, both brothers remained committed to different thematic directions. After a sustained break from recording, Thornton returned in 2017 with his sophomore solo record. Let the Dead Bury the Dead was preceded by the socially conscious lead singles "So Woke" and "Fake News." The latter was accompanied by a powerful video that depicted the rapper at the scene of a shooting and later walking in a forest of hanging bodies. ~ Bekki Bemrose