You probably never heard of Gene Elliot Thornton Jr. but if you’re a fan of rap music, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of his alter-ego, “Malice.” If you’re in the know, you will also be aware that he is now known as “No Malice,” after deciding to change his stage name back in 2012.

“I changed my name from ‘Malice’ to ‘No Malice’ simply because everything that I read in the Bible was to do away with all malice,” he revealed.

“I don’t have malice in my heart. It was time for that change. I was absolutely born-again. I gave my life to Jesus Christ. There’s no other way I can say it.”

“No Malice” is currently in the spotlight after being featured in the new gospel album “Jesus is King” by superstar Kanye West. The boost to Thornton’s career comes through the grace of a fellow born-again Christian artist. The truth is –  he faced a massive career slump after changing his name and leaving his platinum-selling group.

Thornton grew up in the Bronx and was raised by parents who regularly took him to church. However, when he grew up, he was drawn away from the church. He and his brother formed the rap group Clipse back in 2002. They found success by releasing “coke rap” songs which are filled with expletives and lyrics that speak about worldly taboo and unbreachable topics like addiction.

They hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 2006 and by 2009, they were swimming in cash and notoriety. However, Malice decided to suddenly pull the plug.

“I wasn’t fulfilled. To have achieved the American Dream and still not be fulfilled only frustrated me more,” he revealed, in an interview with CBN. “I wasn’t having a good time. And when I did have a good time, it was only to find out afterwards, I was in more misery.”

He further revealed that if he didn’t leave the group, he felt like he was going to end up in prison or worse, dead. He left a life full of drugs, women and money and decided to return to Christ. An odd encounter with a woman who spoke to him and his friends about Jesus while they were having a drinking session pushed him to return to Christianity.

After releasing a few gospel albums that were hardly noticed until Kanye featured him and his brother in a song called “Use the Gospel for Protection.”

While he still doesn’t enjoy the same success as he once did, No Malice is happy to have a clear conscience and peace of mind. Moreover, he is happy to be alive. It remains to be seen if the collaboration with fellow Christian Kanye West will result in a rebirth for his career as well.

Feature Photo courtesy of No Malice Facebook Page