Earlier this month, Pusha T received a promotion like no other rapper this year when he was named president of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Makes sense. The My Name Is My Name creator has quietly maintained his relevance in hip-hop for over a decade.
His new music is always highly anticipated. And he has the fashion bug -- just like 'Ye. His second collaborative effort with Adidas is due out on Black Friday (Nov. 27) and to whet the palate for his upcoming album, King Push hosted a recent listening session in New York City the day after dropping his latest track, "Untouchable." The Virginia native is, undoubtedly, having a year to remember.
Possibly the best part of it all is that things have come full circle. The beat for "Untouchable" was presented to Pusha by Timbaland, a longtime friend of both himself and his older brother No Malice. But it's a long way from the good old days when he would follow his big bro around their neighborhood and pester him all the way to Tim's house. A sliver of Biggie's verse from 1995's "Think Big" is heard on the record, connecting the history of hip-hop's "golden era" to the history being made currently -- from a guy who listened to the Brooklyn MC religiously.
The way things are going for Pusha T, he's entering 2016 on a winning streak. Although you may think you've heard all there is to know about King Push, The Boombox is here to inform you of some interesting tidbits surrounding one of the game's most respected artists. Here are 25 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Pusha T.
In 2013, Pusha told MySpace that before he and Kendrick Lamar shot the visual for "Nosetalgia," the latter had the G.O.O.D. Music artist fly out to L.A. for a little one-on-one bonding -- sort of. "He was just like, ‘Man, we’re just so glad you’re out here.’ Like, his homies was gonna be really excited to see me. So we walked through the whole neighborhood the whole night, met everybody who was somebody in the neighborhood -- which was everybody. And then we went to shoot the video and he was like, ‘I want to thank you, man, for just being one of the ones who really understood. Man, nobody else understood me. I just want to thank you man, I really appreciate that, for just understanding.’"
Did you know that “S.N.I.T.C.H.,” from Pusha’s solo debut, was based on a real person? He broke the entire story down: “I got a phone call from a good friend of mine who was essentially telling me we were never going to speak again because he was making a conscious decision to cooperate [with the police].”
We bet you didn’t know Pharrell was the driving force behind Pusha doing that record as well. “I was asking Pharrell at the time for a record that felt like 'Long Kiss Goodnight' or 'You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)' [by the Notorious B.IG.].” he told MySpace. “At the same time Pharrell, we grew up together; he knows all my friends -- we’re all friends. So I called him after that phone call and said, ‘Tell me, am I bugging? Am I looking at this wrong?’ Pharrell was like, ‘That’s his gift to you, bruh. You’re not bugging, you’re looking at it exactly right -- but, it’s a song.’ I said, ‘Nah, that’s a bad song, bruh.’ I was like, 'It’s a little too much of a song for me.' He said, ‘You know these records are the best records,’ and then he called me two weeks later and was like, “Sorry, n----, I’m tryna come home.' And I was like 'I get it. Yeah, yeah. That’s dope.' He was like, 'Nah, you not getting it: Sorry, n----, I’m tryna come home, the acronym for ‘snitch.’' And I was like, 'Wooooow. You are still the GOAT.'”
What would The Clipse sound like if they signed to Master P’s No Limit back in the day? That almost happened. “ I actually ended up running into P in about 2000 and he was about to sign the Clipse,” Push told The Village Voice in 2011. “We had tons of talks. I did a record with them, called 'D-Game.' [The remix] was on Silk The Shocker's album, I think. That was just good, good times.”
He may scream “Virginia” all day long, but Pusha T was actually born in the Boogie Down Bronx in New York.
While Pusha was touring with Fabolous a few years ago for the latter’s Life Is Exciting tour, RZA popped up at the Montreal stop. He told ANDPOP that "Numbers On the Board" happened because of RZA’s influence. “He’s one of the greats,” he said. “I felt like it was as close as I was gon’ get to a RZA beat at the moment and I was like, ‘I can’t let this go.’”
Pusha had his heartbroken at a young age -- by his own mother. He says that he remembers the day he thought he’d be going to Fresh Fest with his older brother Malice and his friends. “He was probably 14 at the time, so I was nine,” he starts. “I remember, we pull up, everybody hops out. I start to hop out and my mom’s like, ‘Hold up. You’re not going anywhere. You’re not going with them.’ I cried all the way from Norfolk back to Virginia Beach. Livid that I missed this concert.”
The G.O.O.D. Music president started off following his big brother around -- like most kids -- only difference is that his big bro, Malice, was a part of a tween rap group working closely with Timbaland, who would become one of hip-hop’s most influential producers to date. Malice still hated having his baby brother trailing him. “[Malice] was in junior high school,” Pusha told The Village Voice. “In a rap group with the guys around the area -- the principal called them a gang -- but what happened was in the group there was duos, like pairs. It was 20 guys and they were all paired off and the main producer for the group was Timbaland, who lived up the street from me, and he and my brother were really tight, and my brother would be going and my mom would be like, ‘You've got to take your brother.’ So if he's in middle school, I'm five years younger than him so I'm riding my bike, crying and he's beating me up all the way there because he doesn't want to take me.”
The beat to “Grindin’” -- the song that made Pusha and Malice rap superstars -- the instrumental alone, intimidated Push. He says he wrote his verse three times over. “Because the beat was so unorthodox it really needed to come in a certain way, be a certain type of way,” he shared with The Village Voice back in 2011.
The “Untouchable” creator says that of all The Neptunes tracks he missed out on as half of the Clipse, he really pines after Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality.”
King Push is the perfect person for the presidential seat over at G.O.O.D. Music. When he was on his climb with Malice, the rapper was patient enough to wait on and work toward success at all times and in every and any environment -- even the risky ones. “By the time ‘Grindin’’ was a household name I had already been on the road for nine months doing $2,000 shows for every drug dealer in America. I used to go to the clubs and it would be a guy throwing a party for his neighborhood and that is his favorite song, and I'm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we got to wear bulletproof vests because somebody just got shot there last week. But this guy is the man and he wants the Clipse there and this is what he plays riding around in his Benz and the neighborhood kids know it 'cause they hear him playing it. That was the set-up.”
Pusha T names Main Source’s 'Breaking Atoms' as one of his favorite albums ever.
He also reveals “Looking at the Front Door,” from the aforementioned LP, as his favorite song.
Big Daddy Kane’s “Wrath of Kane” is another one of his favorite rap songs.
If Pusha would have quit after his first go-round onstage, no one would’ve blamed him. It was a rough one. He told The Village Voice: “I remember when I first started I was in Asbury Park, in New Jersey. Me, my brother and Pharrell had a record out called 'I Got Caught Dealing,' the first record I ever done, and one of my favorite groups, Smiff-N-Wessun, was performing at the same show. And I got on stage, me, Pharrell and my brother, and they immediately started throwing everything they could. And we made it through it.”
Most musicians with indisputable talent within their genre tend to listen to music that some fans would never guess that they’d be into. For King Push? “I’m actually a huge reggae fan,” he told High Snobiety in 2014. “We [Norfolk, Va.] used to have this spot called The Boathouse and it brought in all the reggae artists from everywhere. I believe it was one of the biggest markets on the East Coast… Actually, when we were working on 'My [Beautiful] Dark Twisted Fantasy' ‘Ye asked me what I wanted my music to sound like and I was like ‘Every song should sound like this ['Come Fly with Me' by Foxy Brown featuring Sizzla].'”
Pusha T is a tennis fan. How crazy is that? In 2012, he told Sports Illustrated: “ This is the weirdest story in the world. I started liking tennis as a kid when I was playing one of the game systems, it had to be Nintendo or something, and the game might have even come with the system. And for whatever reason I was playing it, I was like this is cool. I swear, ever since then, I've been watching tennis. Of course back then you had Agassi and you had the Agassi sneaker. You just had things [in tennis] that were related to style and fashion. There was always something associated with dope sneakers. The whole tennis look was fresh to me. And from there I got into the sport.”
Although he admits that he may not have been the most attentive student in school, Pusha told Montreality that he loves to read. One of his favorite books is 'Raised By Wolves: Inside the Life and Mind of a Guerrilla Hustler,' written by Cavario H.
The rhymer has been working for a long time -- even before the legal age. He held down his first job at a restaurant at age 14.
Pusha is respected by fans of the hip-hop culture -- that’s a given. He’s technical about the execution of lyrics and so forth, appealing to the purists but the kids love him too. Even if the older hip-hop heads say that this generation is lacking, they are indeed listening. In 2014, Kid Ink told Power 98.3 that the one feature on his second studio LP that he, as a rapper, was really excited about, was Pusha T’s offering on the “Murda” track. “I was really excited to get that one.”
Space Ghost is his favorite cartoon character of all time. “He’s just fresh to me,” Pusha told Montreality.
'Hell Hath No Fury' is easily a fan favorite and for good reason. Push says that the project features the illest verses he’s ever written.
Pusha T and Pharrell are true BFFs. In 2014, he told TRACE that the two talk every single day regardless of their schedules.
In a past life, Pusha T was an owl. “Because owls are observant, you know? And wise," the 38-year-old revealed to Montreality.
He fell in love with R&B at London nightspots because they tend to be rooted in the genre. “I’d come out here and hear these incredible R&B singers over these house, drum-and-bass tracks. I could never put a face on ‘em. But the voices sounded like angels," he said to Zane Lowe.
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