The 2009 installment of the CMJ Music Marathon kicked off Tuesday (Oct. 20) in New York City with musicians from everywhere descending on 71 venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even northern New Jersey for five days of non-stop noon-to-wee-hours shows. As always, there's no way to see it all, but it's still possible to see a mix of baby bands and established acts along with some bands that soon will be.
Virginia duo Clipse sat down for an informal chat with Billboard.com before their CMJ performance at the Hiro Ballroom. The brothers, Malice and Pusha T, touched on the group's upcoming record and what it was like working producers not named Pharrell and Chad.
Video Above: The Clipse video Q&A part one.
"This is our first album not [done] exclusively with the Neptunes; something that the fans wanted and have been requesting for a while," says Pusha T. "We really got out there and sought after new raw energy."
The group ended up recording "Til The Casket Drops," due Dec. 8 on Columbia Records, with producers DJ Khalil and Sean C & LV in addition to The Neptunes.
"I think with this album you'll find us in the same space that we were in with 'Lord Willin,'" Malice says. "That's when everything was fresh. We hadn't been introduced to the label drama, the politics and all of that. The machine was running real smooth."
Video Above: The Clipse video Q&A part two.
The group's showcase gig was packed. Outside the club, a line snaked around the block. Opening acts including new Fool's Gold signee Donnis warmed up the crowd. Armed with a scarf and filled with bravado and Atlanta pride, Donnis ripped through a handful of songs, including an ode to his Southern roots "Country Cool" and the infectious beat of "Gone," off of his mixtape "Diary of an Atlanta Brave."
After their DJ got the crowd ready, Clipse entered to cheers from the wall-to-wall crowd. Keeping the setlist to an even mix from their two records "Hell Hath No Fury" and "Lord Willin'", the duo busted through crowd favorites "Wamp Wamp," "Momma I'm So Sorry," "Keys Open Doors" and "What Happened To That Boy" with a vengeance. Perhaps it was first CMJ night jitters, but the crowd wasn't as animated as they could have been despite Malice and Pusha T pumping the crowd up non-stop, calling for sing alongs.