October 29, 2007 / 2:49 AM / 12 years ago

The Clipse ends tumultuous tenure at Jive

NEW YORK (Billboard) - This time last year, hip-hop act the Clipse complained to anyone who’d listen how unhappy it was on Jive Records. Now, the duo’s wish to leave has been granted.

Sibling MCs Malice and Pusha T have ended their deal with Jive and the Neptunes’ Star Trak Entertainment in favor of a new arrangement with sister label Columbia, Billboard has learned.

“Everything is business,” Malice said. “If we had our way, we would always be on Star Trak. But it’s what’s working for you and what’s not. We just want good energy, and Columbia has both the urgency and the muscle.”

The Clipse is the second hip-hop act to join Columbia’s urban roster in the last few weeks, following Jim Jones.

“We’re ecstatic,” Pusha T said. “We just want to come into a situation that’s fresh and everyone’s trying to win. We haven’t been in that situation for so long.”

The Clipse emerged early this decade on Star Trak, which at the time was distributed by Arista. The duo’s 2002 debut, “Lord Willin’,” was a critical and commercial smash, and has sold 948,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

When Arista was restructured in 2004, the label’s artists were split between J and Jive. But Star Trak joined Interscope, leaving the Clipse behind at Jive. The act lobbied to be allowed to follow Star Trak to its new home, but Jive refused, resulting in a lawsuit against the label, seeking to break the Clipse’s four-album deal. (Jive had no comment on the new deal.)

“The group wasn’t responsible for the confusion, but they paid the price,” the Clipse’s manager, Tony Draper, said.

Although the suit was settled after Jive agreed to a distribution deal for the Clipse’s own Re-Up Gang Records label, the relationship continued to deteriorate, with release dates for the group’s sophomore album constantly shifting. In the meantime, the duo independently released its mixtape series, “We Got It for Cheap,” which garnered significant underground buzz.

A second album, “Hell Hath No Fury,” emerged in November 2006 via Jive, but struggled out of the gate. It has sold just 194,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

By then, the Clipse was in talks with a variety of labels about a new deal, eventually settling on a five-year, 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement with Columbia for Re-Up Gang Records.

Reuters/Billboard

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