“You are now listening to the future, open your eyes,” proclaims Pusha T on his exceptionally crafted and feel good track, ‘Open Your Eyes.’ It’s the megalomania of timelessness, to be here for 2 decades and still consider yourself the future. As I open my eyes, I realize that there remains something aspirational about Pusha’s music, like a man whose time is not yet come. Pusha T is a rap purist, and no matter how many Rae Sremmurds come along over time, rap purists never go out of taste. There is always high expectation about what they can do.
I will never compromise; that has always been the motto for Pusha T, arguably one of the realest and hardest MC’s to ever hold the mic. Over the years, both as one half of the gifted duo the Clipse, and as a solo artist, he has given us a cool catalogue befitting a young King who sees himself as the Last true king.
Pusha T is the rapper who will get less love from fans looking to be entertained, but will get the most respect from his fellow rappers, irrespective of what kind of Hip Hop those rappers make. Occasionally, a rap purist gets a cinematic beat that needs exactly the kind of purist aggression and artistry of Pusha T, with that you can only get one of the greatest songs of the last decade; New God Flow.
From his rhymes, his demeanour, his aggression, staying on his lane, Pusha has remained the haunted rapper fully aware that it does not matter how far high you can go in Hip Hop, the streets will always hound you, for better or for worse.
Pusha T has turned us all into believers and none more than Kanye West; Kanye West believes in Pusha so much that he keeps giving him these beats and complementing him with exceptional collaborations it’s almost clear why Pusha is firmly on the ground, getting paid handsomely, despite his kind languishing in the dark corners of the underground. Here, Pusha T becomes a higher color clarity of diamond because his purity is still intact. The mere existence of purists on mainstream is a threat to many. A purist will always have an upper hand on commercial rappers, particularly when he is also getting paid.
As fans of Hip Hop, we all have a duty to spend our hard earned money on the most talented; but most of them are stuck underground. Rick Ross claims to have recommended Pusha T to Good Music’s Head Honcho, Kanye West, and since then, Kanye and Pusha have made magic. But who is prowling the dark corners of the underground seeking to put a ladder so there can be greater mobility for those truly talented MC’s. If Pusha had not met Kanye (through Ross), there would be no New God Flow, and that would be a travesty.
Pusha T however represents something much more than a breakthrough underground artist. He has shown the underground that you can be part of mainstream and still keep your purity. Mainstream has always been accused of stealing people’s soul, turning them into homogenous zombies mechanized to do only what is considered a good sell and popular personal preference and talent direction be damned.
Black diamonds like Lupe Fiasco and Nispey Hussle and many others suffered at the hand of a talent strangling major studios who were less interested in what you want to do with your talent than what they thought they could do with your talent. In the end, these artists came across as mad and cognitively imbalanced all for trying to protecting their souls.
That was before individual artists became institutions in themselves. It’s hard to think today any Major Label or studio can tell Jay Z or Kanye what kind of music to put out and what kind of artists they should be. Which would explain the experimental nature of Kanye’s recent albums and of course, his affinity for diverse artists like Pusha T and Common and Big Sean and others.
Pusha T has taken Kanye West’s ladder out of the underground to its logical conclusion. The real cannot be afraid of the unreal. This fear of being diluted, of being converted into something you will later not recognize, that fear has always been overrated if not unsettling; why would someone who considers themselves authentic be scared of those who are not. Real is much stronger than fake. In fact every collaboration Pusha T has done, he has almost elevated the raps of his collaborators so that if you are with King Pusha on a track, you must bring your A game.
I believe in the God above me, I’m just god of everything else; that is the mind-set; that is the heart of a lion Pusha is approaching the world with.