The best word to describe Pusha T is outspoken — and for good reason. He’s consistently been above and beyond most MC’s of his caliber for the past decade, whether when he was paired with his brother Malice when they were known as the Clipse, or next to Kanye West as G.O.O.D. Music’s lyrical muscle (The “Hot temper” to Ye’s cool exterior). The Virginia raised MC isn’t shy to speak his mind on when the summer starts and ends(“When we say so” according to his Twitter), or troubles with former G.O.O.D. Music artists speaking out of pocket (Consequence teeth jokes hit maximum retweet level when he adds his commentary weekly). The difference between him and other MC’s is that his version of truth is the same on and off wax; Pusha T is as candid an artist that you will find, unafraid to speak his mind much in the same vein as the “old guard” veterans of his favorite NBA team — The Boston Celtics.
As the days count down to his (just announced) May release date of his solo debut My Name Is My Name, Pusha T gave us a truthful look into his life as he spoke with us about the new Dancehall influence in his music, introducing Kanye to Chief Keef and the troubling season of his Boston Celtics.
I noticed a strong Jamaican influence on Wrath Of Caine. You’ve shouted out Shower Posse in the past, you shot the “Blocka” video in Matthews Lane in Kingston, you were doing the #DancehallSundays on Twitter for a minute…where does all that come from?
The Jamaican influence basically is just my own personal fascination. And there used to be a time where Dancehall and Hip-Hop were infused a lot and I feel like it hasn’t been happening so much so. I wanna restore the feeling of a specific time period in Hip-Hop, like when Shyne “Bad Boyz” was going crazy. When Hype Williams was shooting the Belly movie and his videos had a certain aesthetic, know what I’m saying? On top of that, I’m from Virginia Beach, but I live in the Norfolk area where we’re one of the biggest spots on the East Coast [for] Reggae shows. It’s just something that we’ve always been accustomed to going to, they always sell out. It’s something we’ve always been fascinated with…I’m showing love. I just love the music. I love the culture.
I mean, you grew up listening to Badjoe on 103 on Sundays.
Exactly man! That’s what I’m talking about! Badjoe, man, come on man. Everybody [from the Norfolk area] knows, from [live music venues] The Boathouse to the Norva, the Caribbean influence and the Caribbean shows is always something that we’ve supported and we’ve liked. That was the one thing that was always glued together, Hip-Hop and Dancehall.
For some reason people always want to change you. Charlamagne wants you to cut your braids, then there’s some that want you to cut back on the drug talk or talk about something else. Why do you think that’s the case?
Because they haven’t understood that my name is my name, and they don’t understand that. They don’t understand that I am who I am, that I have made me. I’m the one who’s been in the game for this long, off of what I do. I’m the one who’s fully entrenched out here. I’m the one who took the losses, you know what I’m sayin? Whether it’s family losses, the friend losses, the money losses, I’m the one who climbed back up. I’m the one who’s out here still doing my thing. I don’t know if they haven’t realized or recognized that yet. I don’t have to change nothing, ever! If you’re not into what I’m doing, then you don’t ever gotta listen to me, and that’s cool! But I don’t know too many people who ain’t about coming up in the world, getting a dollar, living a good life. That’s what I’m about: acknowledging the struggle and acknowledging the pain and getting past it. Who ain’t about that?
That’s Hip-Hop in a nutshell.
Shout to Kevin Gates on that “Trust You,” I definitely rock with that one right there. People have to stop calling him Fake Future, they’re probably not up on his music–
Yo, y’all gotta stop calling that man Fake Future, y’all gotta really go down to that Bayou man! 1500 deep, sold out! Like, stop playing! [Laughs] For me, it’s not always all about the name. You know, nothing towards Future, Future’s hot, Future’s doing his thing. But there are other people who are hot and Kevin Gates is one of them. I appreciate what he did for me on the mixtape and like I said man, get in tune. I think I threw a lot of gems out there, as far as people you may know, people you may not know. Kevin Gates, you may not know, but you better get in tune with him. I don’t be wrong! Troy Ave, get in tune! I don’t be wrong!
Since you were the one who brought Chief Keef to Kanye’s attention and made the “I Don’t Like” remix happen and also being aware of the Chiraq movement in general, I think you could pick up an A&R check on the side if you wanted to.
Listen, anybody who wants to give me an A&R check, trust me. I know when things are authentic, period. That was the whole thing with Keef and them. You know, people feel like because I’m all about lyric-driven Hip-Hop that I don’t recognize other forms of Hip-Hop, other styles of music, other subcultures of Hip-Hop. I recognize it all, you know why? Because I’m outside and I’m in the streets and when you outside and you in the streets, you can appreciate everything that’s going on. Even if it’s not what you do, you gotta be able to appreciate it. You gotta be in the mix of people who understand and who are rocking with it.
OK Push, I’m gonna ask you a few questions with two scenarios and you gotta roll with one or the other.
You’re Danny Ainge. Do you trade KG or do you trade Paul Pierce?
I said the same. I need The Truth to retire as a Celtic.
OK. Your manager Steven Victor comes to you with two proposals: a leading role on Love & Hip-Hop or replacing Chris Hansen on To Catch A Predator. Which one?
I’m definitely, definitely gonna [replace] Chris Hansen on To Catch A Predator. Definitely.
How do you walk in the crib though? What do you say?
I’m walking in with an aluminum bat. I’mma do mine the real way.
I’mma punish them before it even starts. I’mma punish them before they get outside! You know how they always run when they get outside thinking they made it back to their car? Nah, they gonna run when they see me!
They’re crawling out the door.
Yeah, they’re already gonna be hurt. I’m totally against that. Totally against anything that has to do with doing any type of [harm] to any child.
Word. Last one: would you do a song with Lil Wayne or a song with Consequence?
Man. Definitely, definitely I would do a song with Wayne over Consequence.
[Laughs] No love?!?
Listen, I’mma tell you that right now. Ain’t nothing like Judas. Nothing. Anybody who’s within the circle that acts up, oh my god.