If You Know You Know
If you know me, you know I haven’t always been the biggest Pusha T fan. Although a 20 year rap vet, I saw Push simply as a solid spitter, I wasn’t fully sold on his songs as a solo artist. Often I turned my nose up at his Nosetalgia, and wanted more out of his raps besides tracks that talked about the rocks in his Rolex watches tying in with the rocks he used to sell. But recently revisiting his catalog, I might have to renege now.
The day before his newest project, “Daytona,” a video from his album release party showed a clip from his song, “Infared,” taking shots at rapper, Drake. Given their slight back and forth background of giving each other subtle jabs, I decided to give “Daytona” a listen and see what was up with one of rap’s most distinctively known dope boys. After all, it was only 7 songs. I could give an album 20 minutes of my time, what’s the worst that can happen? Between the elite beats and the brash delivery, I found myself listening not one, but twice, and soon repeatedly, sorta like the fiends he was accustomed to serving. This was the artist I dismissed just because of a little drug dealer talk? The one I omitted from my discussions simply because of my own overbearing opinion? If I indeed had slept on “King Push,” I was wide awake now. I began to ask myself, exactly why have I pushed away Pusha T again?
Initially into signing with Kanye’s label, G.O.O.D. Music, around 2010 I was a fan. He made his presence known on features, like “Runaway” from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” His first mixtape as a fresh signee, “Fear of God,” had my full attention. Following was the EP, “Fear of God II” which had Pusha even more polished on a Puffy produced project and as one of the label’s most promising artists. I looked at him as a leading lyricist, whose drug-dealing past developed into a dope rap master and had real rap fans like myself addicted.
But around the “Wrath of Caine” mixtape, I was starting to think of his music as Wamp Wampwithout his brother. Though still sharp tongued and street-savvy, I was perhaps bored of Pusha T now. What else could he give me that I haven’t heard before? Serving us another quick fix without a debut album, despite what critics and fans might’ve possibly felt, I wasn’t buying into it anymore. In fact because of it I was reluctant to put My Name is My Name in rotation. I saw myself rehabilitating from all the reminiscing Pusha was rapping about, but looking back I was just cheating myself to his audio dope. I was a deadly combination of stubborn and stupid stating things such as “He doesn’t even sell enough records,” or “He just hides behind Kanye beats with flashy crack raps,” and “He talks about the same shit, it’s getting old.” Now after some self-reflecting, I’m just as disgusted at myself as Pusha sounds on his infamous ad-lib. “EGHCK!”
I have to admit, I was wrong. The last few years I spent doubting Pusha T, I should’ve been a doting listener. What I say I want out of a rapper has been in Push all along, he’s essentially what the game’s been missing. He’s stayed true to himself, stayed on brand, never swayed to appeal to anything outside of his audience. No gimmicks, no game, just bars. I mean, his name is his name. As Kanye once said, “That’s motherfuckin Pusha T.” And I’m expecting him to expand outside of talking about trafficking on a track, for what?
Along with Pusha T’s poignant punchlines in his pen, he’s a perfect pair on a track with previous pushers. Together, him and rapper Rick Ross are sharp shooters, they haven’t missed from what I can remember. And let’s not forget, not too many rappers can touch the talent Jay-Z has. On their song “Drug Dealers Anonymous,” they traded bars for a match made in heaven as a Hov fan. After all, Push is just a fan of Jay as I am, if not more. From his “Can I Live” freestyle from “Fear of God,” sampling “Ignorant Shit” and “Intro: A Million And One Questions/Rhyme No More” on “Numbers On The Boards,” and countless Hov references throughout “Daytona,” Pusha T might’ve proved to be a bigger Hov fan than ME in these songs. I HAVE to respect that.
I must say, his new beef with Drake has reignited the flame that burned in me as a Pusha fan all along. He’s still on top as Drake has yet to respond and came directly at him on his DISRESPECTFUL diss in response to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle” with “The Story of Adidon.”Dishing up Drizzy’s deep, dark secrets, Pusha delivered in a diss record that was dauntless, daring, and straight up DAMN GOOD, if you ask me.
I say all this to say; I’m sorry I lied to you Pusha. I used to uphold my strong unapologetic opinion about you. However, there wasn’t anything strong about it, just wrong.