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Clipse’s Childhood NYC Visits Influenced Rap Career

The Clipse‘s Pusha T sat down with the Village Voice before the group’s New York City run this week to discuss some of his childhood influences when it came to hip-hop. While Clipse hail from Virginia, the group’s rhymes are often compared to some of New York’s finest. Pusha and his brother Malice were both born in the Bronx and often returned to visit their grandmother after moving down South. They credit the city’s deep history with hip-hop as one of their primary inspirations to focus on rapping.

“Coming to New York, all you’d hear would be hip-hop,” he explained. “Totally hip-hop everywhere. That was the soundtrack. I’d come up and see my cousins, who’d stayed in New York, and I’d be talking about how Run-DMC was the best. They’d hit me back like, ‘What? Are you serious? Rakim is the best! You ain’t heard that, huh?’ New York was always so far ahead of what was hot in hip-hop. Then, you know, of course I’d go back to Virginia and go around telling everyone how Rakim was now the best! It always opened my eyes to things.”

“Even later on when we were a little more up on things,” Pusha continued, “I remember calling up my cousin, Snapper, who lived in the Bronx and just talking about things like the new record by Big Daddy Kane or Kool G Rap and going over and over the lyrics. I guess those days are definitely instilled in the way that me and my brother rap today.”

Other childhood New York memories for Pusha include shopping for Starter jackets on 125th Street in Harlem and hitting up Rambo’s pizza for a slice. The duo continue to come back to New York City multiple times per year. In a December piece, the brothers Thornton searched for a new apartment so they could have a permanent place to stay when they’re in town.

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