Interview: Pusha T Talks Going Solo, Rolling With Kanye, & His Rules To Live By

Interview: Pusha T Talks Going Solo, Rolling With Kanye, & His Rules To Live By
We’re expecting Pusha T to make a lot of noise this year as he looks to finally release his highly anticipated mixtape, Fear of God, as well as his solo debut album. That’s why we figured it'd be a great time for us find out the rules he lives by for our February/March issue's "Mantras" page (see the Seth Rogen and Jamie Chung covers on stands now). To top it off, we’ve added an online only bonus—outtakes from our interview with him. Find out what Pusha has to say about being a rapper for the fist time, having the best verse, and life without Malice.

As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)

Suit up.

”When I was a kid, wearing suits annoyed the hell outta me. But now, ain’t nothing like getting fitted for a suit. The Rosewood aesthetic is something that accentuates everybody’s musical talents as well as sets us apart. We feel like we are the upper echelon of hip-hop, so we should look the part. And you’re with Kanye West. You put a lot of thought into everything ’cause he’s going all out all the time. All eyes are on him, so you can’t be lax.”

Money ain’t a thing.

”I definitely don’t care about who has the most money. I’ve always known how to make $100,000 look like $2 million. I value money, but I don’t value it for the way it makes me look to other rappers. I value it in terms of making sure my mother gets what she wants. I came to find out that a lot of people that you think are up there, they’re poor. It’s disheartening to find out that one of your favorite rappers don’t really got paper like that.”

Some things are better left unsaid.

”There are certain things I can’t get into, and Twitter is one of them. Twitter is like a fly pair of kicks some jackass is wearing. Not everybody is a jackass, but there are so many who have turned into thugs over Twitter. Music is great because you can speak through it, and don’t have to answer questions about it. But when you begin to tweet, everything you say is up for discussion. I don’t want anyone to feel like we can really talk.”

Go hard, not home.

”My former manager’s and some good friends’ incarceration forced me to make the most of music. I don’t want their incarceration to be in vain. Now, there’s no way I could even speak to them like, ‘I’m home’—they’re like, ‘You’re home? And I’m here for the next tons of years? Come on, get it going.’ We owe our family and friends the opportunity to see something better materialize because everything with us went bad.”


You used to rap with guys like Fam-Lay and Roscoe P. Coldchain. Now you’re rapping with guys like Big Sean and CyHi Da Prince. What’s the difference for you?
Pusha T: With Re-Up, it was 100% street-based mentality. When I’m with the G.O.O.D. Music family, everybody has their own lane. I think that the diversity of the G.O.O.D. Music gang is a big asset in regards to being heard because it differentiates you from the rest while exposing you to more people who might not be into street hip-hop as much.

Now that you’re on G.O.O.D. Music and solo, will there be an adjustment to your rapping style?
Pusha T: I tell people a lot of times, the dichotomy of the Clipse is Pusha is the brash one and Malice is the more introspective, conscious one. But when you’re in a group, there are roles that you have to play. With me being by myself, you’re going to get more of what might have been Malice’s role when I was in the group. It’s not that I don’t think that way…he’s just better at that than me. [Laughs.] That’s his first thought when wordplay is my first thought. You’re probably going to get a little bit of me articulating really introspective things and getting the full spectrum of me.

What is it like for you rolling without Malice?
Pusha T: It’s really not a big deal to me. When we’re together, there's been plenty of days where we’ll come do an interview and I’m just not into it. I just don’t answer, and he gets that sense of me and he takes the reign. Right now, it’s all on me. No days off. So I can’t really slack. Having him with me, I can slack. Other than that, it’s not really much of a change man. I mean, I guess I’m in New York and he’s not here. But in the studio at home, he’s there. He’s like, ‘Yo, that’s crazy,’ or ‘Yo, that’s mean.’ The visual to the public is what it is. But you got to remember we’re brothers, like we’re brothers. This isn’t made for TV. This is family.

Tags: mantras, pusha-t, malice, clipse, kanye-west, good-music, interview
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