15 years ago last week, Clipse released their classic debut, Lord Willin', but as most die-hard fans know, that wasn't actually their first stab at a debut.
In 1999, brothers Pusha T and No Malice recorded a 21-track album, entitled Exclusive Audio Footage, which included the lead single "The Funeral," but the project never saw the light of day. For years, it's been widely assumed—mostly due to shotty journalism—that the album was shelved because "The Funeral" didn't take off at radio, but in a new interview with DJ Vlad, No Malice revealed the real reason why Clipse didn't blast off for three more years.
"Sylvia Rhone signed us to Elektra but [the album] didn't go anywhere at the time because, at that time, the hot items was Busta [Rhymes] and Missy Elliot and all the focus was on them," said No Malice. "But I will say, on behalf of Sylvia Rhone, she played fair, didn't keep us around, stuck and signed. She could have done that. She liked our talent and felt like we could go somewhere else and get another deal."
For Clipse, that next deal was with Sony-owned Arista (through The Neptunes Star Trak label), which, over a seven year period, meant the release of three full-length albums, but sadly, their experience with a second major label wasn't much better.
Their sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury, was severely delayed as a result of Arista dissolving into Jive Records (another Sony-owned label). "I hate Jive with all my heart and all the passion and my soul," Pusha T toldRolling Stone in a 2006 interview.
Despite Exclusive Audio Footage never being officially released, thanks to label-made promotional copies—which were likely pressed up for press and DJ distribution—you can currently purchase the unreleased album on wax.