June 22, 2012

Jimmy Ness is having nightmares.

Hearing half of the Thornton brothers do anything other than snarling coke raps seems weird. It’s like a convicted murderer claiming their religion to the parole board. So yes, listening to Malice post-conversion to Christianity feels off. He and Pusha T once wrote drug rhymes menacing enough to give Rick Ross nightmares. No, I’m not going to call Malice, No Malice.  I feel like an ashamed parent.

“June” is the first track from Virginia’s new holy man and it’s the opposite of glorious. There’s an annoying Eric David chorus that drowns the song and ruins replay value. Malice rhymes about being a changed man and hitting rock bottom. There’s nothing wrong with evolution if you’re got something specific to say. But without any personal detail this track lacks something to dig into. Rather than invoke past troubles (being afraid of catching AIDS), the 35 year-old offers tame lines like “trying to put my thing where I ain’t got no business.” It might just be a promotional single, but for the first record under your new identity, a captivating mission statement would help.

Far be it from me to dictate terms to an artist, but we know what the fans want. The Hell Hath No Fury reunion. His sincerity deserves credit,but rap’s not exactly a stranger to religious hypocrisy. From Nas to 2pac, dozens of MCs have invoked God without limiting their subject matter. Even Eminem says he believes in god despite comparing himself to the face-eater Hannibal Lecter and giving teenagers a lifetime supply of shit jokes. No one wants to be preached to in rap form (see late period: KRS). Understandably, a lifetime of over-consumption must get exhausting. But people are always going to want/expect the raw from Clipse.

History doesn’t exactly bear the experiment out. It usually just alienates your flock.  Shyne became a crazy Rabbi, DMX’s Gospel album vanished, and MC Hammer made that terrible video about Jay-Z being the devil. The only example of religion being cool in rap is the Five Percent Nation and that’s because it’s like a secret club only  Wu Tang, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and now the Rothschild family know about.

Will Malice’s new album flop? More importantly, will No Malice join the likes of Master P and Ma$e in rescinding faith for a career comeback? I’m crossing my fingers that the answer is yes.

MP3: Malice – “June (Left Click)

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