Pusha T Interviews With Sway & Spits A Verse For MCs Who Act Like They Don’t Know (Video)
Last Thursday (December 17), Pusha T was a guest on Sway In The Morning. There, just hours before King Push: Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, the Clipse co-founder got really deep about his 2015 headspace. Before leaving, and after 40 minutes of nuggets, Push’ spit a freestyle that was very much of the We Got It For Cheap, Re-Up Gang-era ilk. Moreover, he did it over a DJ Premier-produced classic for KRS-One.
Getting things started, Pusha is asked about his album title “Darkest Before Dawn” and what may be his own darkest period. In answering, Pusha discusses the setbacks Clipse faced between albums Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath No Fury, which undoubtedly cost the Brothers Thornton at a critical time in their ages and careers. Moving to a more general place, Push alludes to the split between he and No Malice (f/k/a No Malice). While acknowledging the end of Clipse as amicable, he describes the emptiness without his older brother. That aspect of the discussion leads Terrence to open up about Gene wailing on him as a big brother during their childhood. Like many, Sway says that he can relate.
Next up, Pusha T discusses his success with Play Cloths. Soon turning eight years old, Push explains how that brand emerged at a time when labels halted the Clipse. Moreover, he was able to appropriate his fashion sensibilities more than any formal training into building a brand that has weathered the ephemeral cycle in street-wear.
The hosts then ask Pusha T about his presidential position at G.O.O.D. Music, announced last month. While Push’ says he has yet to sign his first artist, the New York native and Virginia resident breaks down what he’s looking for. “I’m always looking for self-contained, lyric-driven [artist]. That’s gonna appeal to me anyway.” Pusha added that he is a digital “stalker” who regularly studies the next waves in music. He attributes this to his nearly 20 years of staying power, despite periods of hardship. “I love a lot of what’s going on in music. I really do. I’m really outside. I feel like everybody who was great to me—who I loved growin’ up, and then I think about their window, man, their windows was so small to be that great. I feel like it’s because they stopped looking, and being in the mix—not that you’ve gotta conform, but you definitely always need to know what’s going on. You can’t shun it; you can’t shun what’s newcoming. You can’t do that. I feel like that’s why I’m able to still do it—tweak my style a little, do unorthodox beats and not care. That sorta builds out my own lane for me.”
The Sway In The Morning segment moves to “Lyrical Breakdown.” Pusha T walks through some of the bars from the new album. Along the way, he elaborates on just how much Puff Daddy pushed him during their first go-round. “Don’t nobody push you like him […] He’s the hardest person I ever worked with.” Pusha T admitted that the Bad Boy Worldwide CEO “frustrated” him along the way. He says that Puff’ particularly bemoans predictable rhyming couplets. The veteran producer/MC reportedly demands his collaborators’ next lines can never be guessed—something Pusha says likely prompted The Notorious B.I.G.’s verses to cover so much ground in substance.
Pusha is asked extensively about his “M.F.T.R.” lyrics. In the broad sense, Pusha T decries the lavish lifestyles and Forbes lists, when financial hardship of rappers remain in the news. Later, the G.O.O.D. exec is pressed about his thoughts regarding collaborator-turned-foe Lil Wayne. Wayne’s own business disputes with Cash Money Records have been illuminating as the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive” is facing legal woes from parties he allegedly owes. “He’s done much too much for [Cash Money Records]. And I’m saying this,” says Push’, acknowledging that it may be politically biased for him to side with Wayne. “It’s disgusting for that to even be an issue.”
Pusha discusses some of his own finances, and how he was able to hand a budget-friendly music video director an eventual $100,000 Tidal check for a script in development. That resulted in a mini-film companion to the new album. T tells the story of handing the director and his staff a six-figure check, and lots of creative control, and being pleased with the results.
Lastly, Pusha T describes yet another album cut in the Jill Scott-assisted “Sunshine.” Push’ says it is among his most issue-driven records of all-time, and recently Ms. Jill was disappointed she missed an opportunity to perform it on cable television alongside the MC.
Going out in style, near the 38:00 mark, Pusha T demands some “Hip Hop” beats from DJ Wonder, and slides right into the pocket of Preemo’s “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know” instrumental. Pusha T conducts the freestyle with his key style. For lovers of that “Numbers On The Boards” grit.