Pusha T on His Best, Realest, and Most Influential Work

KingsOfKings

<------Roc Marciano is Top 5 MC 🎤
Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
38,033
Reputation
13,245
Daps
52,436
Pusha T on His Best, Realest, and Most Influential Work

Pusha T in album mode is like a wrestler gearing up for the main event. You’re not only treated to a clinic from a technician at the peak of his powers — you also get to watch him cut diabolical promos about it. Few people on the planet are as confident about what they do as the rapper born Terrence Thornton. He’s earned it; the catalogue is tremendous. Rhyming with his brother, Malice, in the Virginia rap group Clipse, Push penned poisonous verses on 2002’s Lord Willin’ and 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury, both landmark drug-rap albums produced by the Neptunes. Together they stole everyone else’s thunder, hijacking popular beats of the era for the beloved We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series. Over the past decade, working with Ye’s G.O.O.D. Music (first as a signed artist, later as its president), Push has proven his mettle as a solo rapper in a string of increasingly acclaimed works that balance a flair for timeless boom bap with a taste for offbeat rhythmic patterns. My Name Is My Name (2013) is as comfortable in the simple sample loops of “Nosetalgia” as it is in the jittery grooves of “Suicide” and “Numbers on the Boards,” and 2015’s King Push — Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude made dominating subtly tricky beats look easy

Four years out from impressing with Daytona — the seven-song wonder released during Ye’s hectic 2018 Wyoming sessions and a tense war of words with Drake — Pusha T picks things up with this month’s It’s Almost Dry, his fourth solo album. Its premise is simple: Ye produces six songs, and the other six go to Pharrell. Working with the defining producers of Pusha’s early career and his 2010s resurgence gives It’s Almost Dry a sense of balance and history. Because P and Ye are restless talents, auteurs who each developed a recognizable signature sound they’d just as soon ditch for a more unorthodox approach — and because Push excites his producers as much as they inspire him — It’s Almost Dry succeeds. Prior to the album’s release, Pusha walked us through the ins and outs of making music with the two mercurial hip-hop veterans and the lead-up to this moment.

Kanye and Pharrell love two very different things about me. Pharrell’s approach is a little bit harder for me to capture ’cause it deals in cadences and melodies and character. And Kanye just wants bars. He wants Re-Up GangRe-Up Gang was formed in the years when Clipse had a hard time releasing 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury. Arista Records, which had put out their debut, Lord Willin’, was dissolved into Jive Records, at which the group suddenly didn’t feel like a priority. Teaming up with Philadelphia’s Ab-Liva and Sandman, the Thornton brothers reignited their buzz with the We Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes, home to classic freestyles like their versions of Cassidy’s “I’m a Hustla” and the Game’s “Put You on the Game.”, mixtape Pusha: “Just give me all your raps and let me mold them into what I want to mold them into. And I’mma edit your shyt, do a whole bunch of shyt to your shyt.” You got the best of both worlds on this one project.

Hardest part of clearing samples with a billionaire producer

If you know anything about working with Kanye, it’s that it’s a very, very, very tough, tedious, annoying process about the samples. I’ve never seen people take advantage of a situation like they do when it comes to clearing samples for this guy. I tried to hide the fact he’s involved. As soon as his name comes up, it’s time to take him to the cleaners. It’s the most unfair shyt I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like they know he literally doesn’t give a fukk. He’ll be like, “Okay, well, great. They want 97 percent of the record. Give it to them! I want the record.” People come up with the most outlandish rates and numbers. It has to be a known thing throughout the industry. It has to be! He’s such a fukking artist. He just wants what he wants, and that’s it. The end-all, be-all is to get the song.

Favorite memory of making ‘Diet Coke’ with Ye


look for what that beat reminds me of. What is the feel of that beat? I’ve been taught never to ignore my initial feelings when it comes to music. There’s always something there that made you bop a certain way, something that you might have said immediately. I’m an overthinker. I fukk that part up a lot. But I’ve been taught not to let go of that first flow. Let it out. That’s usually where the initial freestyle or the words that I’m playing with come from when I’m being produced produced. On It’s Almost Dry, it happened with both Pharrell and Kanye. We weren’t compromising with the bars. Ye was like, “I want a cadence every time.” It happened specifically on “Diet Coke.” I guess I was taking too long to write to it. He was like, “Nah, man, you not getting out of this one. You gotta do this,” and he just started mumbling [hums the “Diet Coke” flow] “Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da.” He does his best mumble rendition of who he thinks I am. He goes through the beat like that. He was like, “This is the cadence. This is what you do. If you do that, sounding how you sound, and saying the shyt you say, you’re going to love this song.”

As a rapper, I’ve always understood that it’s not just my bars that make this shyt great — it’s how I marry the track. Production has always been a big part of my makeup. But I think rappers get in their own way, because when you rap really good, you think you can rap over anything ’cause it’s all about you. You have to be a bit more selfless. You’re not just doing this for you. You’re not just doing this for the best line. You’re doing this for the best line that marries the track that you’re on top of. Sometimes it’s not about how great that one lyric is but how greatly it can be mashed into that beat.

Lessons from witnessing the end of Ye and Kid Cudi

It fukking sucks. You know Cudi is my fukking brother to the end. Just navigating these relationships, this brotherhood, the arguing … it gets public. It’s one thing for us to argue. We all argue — that’s not a problem. It gets out there, whether it’s Ye bickering first, or Cudi coming back with what he says. It’s super–fukked up. The day we made this record, everybody was so fukking happy. Ye’s chopping the Beyoncé sample. Cudi happens to come in that day. We see each other, and I hadn’t seen him in a while. He’s like, “I gotta get on a record. Are you crazy?” Cudi did, like, three or four different references. Beyoncé cleared the sample. There was so much great energy around the making of that record. And, you know, time passes, and issues come up. Cudi really doubling down on this being the last time we’re going to hear them two together … He’s a super-convicted motherfukker. So I appreciate him clearing it up. He did what he did for his bro, and I love him for that.

Film that most inspired It’s Almost Dry

Pharrell really wanted a character for “Call My Bluff.” He was like, “I’m getting regular Pusha T; I need some character. You have to lay this differently.” We were watching Joker every day while creating the project. Pharrell was like, “Man, this is who you are anyway. You’re actually this guy.” That’s why you get that tone — me saying very eerie, evil, demonic things very, very matter-of-factly.
 

Rozay Oro

2 Peter 3:9 if you don’t know God
Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
38,717
Reputation
4,928
Daps
70,009
Y’all don’t like to read lol
 

HiphopRelated

In Broad Daylight
Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
20,100
Reputation
2,300
Daps
44,436
Reppin
My brother's keeper
Best versions of Push are We Got It 4 Cheap era push. Basically Lord Willin to We Got It 4 Cheap Vol 3, 2002-2008. That's not Push at his popularity peak, but it IS him at his rapping apex...
agreed

Every dollar ever tricked was never missed
I'm trifling rich, I mannequin hoes to floss my shyt
To every bytch i ever barbie-dolled
It was only to heighten and enlighten
But instead i just misguided y’all
 

murksiderock

Superstar
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
9,609
Reputation
4,056
Daps
30,236
Reppin
SMF and LAX to VA and NC
agreed

Every dollar ever tricked was never missed
I'm trifling rich, I mannequin hoes to floss my shyt
To every bytch i ever barbie-dolled
It was only to heighten and enlighten
But instead i just misguided y’all

"We take life how it comes/sorta like the card game, pluck til you tonk, never run/in '95 we were bagging O's to the crumbs/look at us now, we paddle shifting with our thumbs, laughing these dreams ain't dreams no more/used to dream of ki's til the triple beam was sore, mirages now menages with mink on floor/the more you upgrade, it numbs you, it means no more/its the R-E-U-P Gang, every night we sleep tight, the king coil mattress fulla caine/first the merger, then Jive tried to jerk us, still hit Jacob for double my first purchase/200 thou so easily emerges, shoulda been fined for fukking the Earth's surface/look at your life, as yourself what's the purpose/you nikkas belong in a circus"...
 

RAW_SPK

Superstar
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
7,831
Reputation
3,011
Daps
42,375
Reppin
N.I.N.
Best versions of Push are We Got It 4 Cheap era push. Basically Lord Willin to We Got It 4 Cheap Vol 3, 2002-2008. That's not Push at his popularity peak, but it IS him at his rapping apex...
Thats cuz he had Liva and Sandman on his ass AS WELL as his brother who for the most part was smokin him on Lord Willin
 

Harry B

Superstar
Joined
May 20, 2012
Messages
24,850
Reputation
-1,897
Daps
47,198
Best versions of Push are We Got It 4 Cheap era push. Basically Lord Willin to We Got It 4 Cheap Vol 3, 2002-2008. That's not Push at his popularity peak, but it IS him at his rapping apex...
Hell Hath no Fury is easily "his" best album imo.
But Malice was Andre on that and Push was Big Boi, both 5/5 but there's levels
 

murksiderock

Superstar
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
9,609
Reputation
4,056
Daps
30,236
Reppin
SMF and LAX to VA and NC
Thats cuz he had Liva and Sandman on his ass AS WELL as his brother who for the most part was smokin him on Lord Willin

On no album did Mal smoke Push, but they were basically equals early on. Push separated himself from all of them during We Got It 4 Cheap; Volume 2 he was spanking everybody...

Hell Hath no Fury is easily "his" best album imo.
But Malice was Andre on that and Push was Big Boi, both 5/5 but there's levels

Nah We Got It 4 Cheap Vol 2 is both at apex rapping...
 
Top