Pusha T on the Grammy Committee: “They Can’t Deny Good Hip-Hop Anymore”


Clipse’s Pusha T raps a lot about drug dealing and the spoils that go with it. (His name is Pusha, after all.) You no doubt know that by now. It’s why Pusha Ton is naming his upcoming album My Name Is My Name. But before that shipment arrives he’s doling out samples in the form of his mixtape Wrath Of Caine. With two albums and two Grammy nods (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance) for his assistance on “Mercy,” 2013 is shaping to have big things in store for Pusha. We caught up with “Young Black Socrates” about the titles of his new albums, how social media has changed the way we listen to music and his favorite rapper. Cry now, motherfuckers.

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So the mixtape is called Wrath of Caine and the album is My Name Is My Name?
Yeah, that’s right. The [mixtape] is from a play on words from my favorite record by Big Daddy Kane. I felt the title was a brief description of what people know me for. My Name is My Name is a reference to Marlo from The Wire. I felt like I was coming under a lot of scrutiny about my content. At least it felt that way because of social media and things. I just feel like, man, my name is Pusha. You should know what you’re going to get from me by now. This has been my brand of rap for a very long time.

So obviously drug dealer fly shit will be overlying themes on both projects.
Well yeah, but I like to think my music has a lot of perspective too even though people might not think so. More than anything it’s about showcasing who I am. Even in [Clipse] I was more the brash young, unapologetic rapper. That may vary slightly, but it’s still me. I still want to keep all my Clipse fans engaged. I think the different perspectives is what my brother bought to the table.

You’re one of the few rappers on the radio that debuted when CDs were still the main way people bought and listened to music. What do you miss about that era?
Things are so social media based you sort of miss the energy of like ripping the plastic off a new CD or new tape and popping it in you car stereo and rolling the window down and driving thru the city all day. And that tape would stay in your stereo for at least months. A lot artists of today are built off Internet buzz and energy and it’s not the same. We’ve lost that excitement.

What are some producers you work with who give ‘Ye and Pharrell a run for their money?
I think P and ‘Ye are two of the greats, but I do feel like there are certain producers who I can go to for hot peer of what they do. NoID is one of them. He can give you the purest level of hip-hop and still be current. Every aspect of true Hip Hop will be incorporated into a beat and it will still sound fresh and new. I feel like Nottz is a sample king. We have a crazy record together. Just Blaze gives you the cinematic joint. He gives you the climax of the movie every time. Some wouldn’t consider them super producers but I do.

Last we spoke your brother had just put out the book and you were on your own for the first time. You mentioned feeling slightly panicked at the thought of doing it all by yourself. Feel more confident now?
I totally do. It’s basically a situation of knowing that people are listening. I feel like I’ve definitely been accepted as a solo artist and I appreciate that.

Plus you’re a Grammy nominated artist now. What’s that feel like? Do you place importance on it or nah?
I guess it’s fresh. It’d be fresher if I was nominated for my own song (laughs). Nah I’ve never been apart of something like this so I’m happy to be a part of it. It’s something… It’s great for G.O.O.D. Music.

What’d you think of some of the other nominees?
Looking at the nominees I really like the music. I remember when I was young the Grammy rappers would be like Young MC. He would be a nominee and I would be at home wishing Rakim would be nominated. Now it’s Hov, Ye, Lupe, 2 Chainz… it’s people who really make good music and music that I hear in my settings.

Think the Grammy committee is just better versed now in hip-hop?
No, but the board can’t deny good hip-hop anymore. A lot of good rap used to be over shadowed by sales and the commerciality of it. Now a good percentage of the Rap nominations are good.

So who’s your favorite rapper right now at this exact moment?
Favorite rapper? Jay-Z. No wait. I take that back. Andre 3000 is my favorite rapper right now.

So I hate asking about this type of nonsense but any new developments with the lyrical spats you’ve been having with Young Money?
[Laughs] It is just that, lyrical spats. Just lyrical. It’s fun. At least I’m having fun. I ain’t got no worries. [Laughs]

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