It's no secret that Pusha T is one of G.O.O.D. Music's most coveted artists. He's been in the rap game for over 10 years now and doesn't seem to be losing any steam—actually, quite the opposite.
With the release of his new mixtape Wrath of Caine, Pusha has shown why he's been able to sustain a career in the industry. While he keeps fans waiting for his next album, My Name is My Name, Pusha has delivered another worthy project for his fans.
Complex recently got the chance to sit down with King Push and talk about the mixtape, the album, all of those Cruel Winter rumors, and KimYe baby shower gifts.
As told to Tannis Spencer (@LaVisionary)
How'd you come up with the mixtape title?
I was determined to use that title because at the same time I was creating the album, I realized and came to the conclusion that Big Daddy Kane is better than Rakim.
Wrath of Caine is a play on street life and usually the metaphor that I come with, anyway. I was determined to use that title because at the same time I was creating the album, I realized and came to the conclusion that Big Daddy Kane is better than Rakim. The Wrath of Caine was the record that sort of pushed it to the edge. You know I've been on Rakim this whole time, but I was actually on a trip to New York and I was coming through Philly. In Philly, they were doing a mid-day mix of the best of Rakim and the best of Kane—just record for record. I caught it from the beginning until the end and I couldn’t fight it—I was like Kane won. And I never listened to it like that, I never ever heard it like that, I was always like “Rakim is better, I don’t give a fuck,” but no. They’re both great rhymers, that can’t be debated but I just thought dude had a longer discography of better records.
What do you think the response has been like?
Everybody pretty much seems to be on to the tape. People seem to like it. My core fans seem to be really enthused about it. To me, the music on the tape is conducive to raps and rhyming, and to what my true true fan wants to hear. They wanna hear me—there are so many quotables, I've been seeing so many people [talk about] favorite lines, sentiments, or whatever the case may be. I think it’s been a success.
Let's talk about "Doesn't Matter" with French Montana. There are a lot of mixed feelings about the track since French Montana is singing. It’s different. Is that what you were going for?
'Doesn't Matter' with French Montana is the hate it or love it track of the mixtape. I honestly love it.
That track is the hate it or love it track of the mixtape. I honestly love it. I asked him to be on the mixtape and I actually had a beat from one of his producers Harry Fraud. He works for French a lot. I was like, "French I want you to put a hook on this beat,” and he was like, “Alright, but I've got some bangers that I just wanna send you that you might really like.” He sent me over a CD of like, four records and “Doesn’t Matter” was one of them. He always reels you in, he’s really enthusiastic about his music. He’s like, "Man I've got that wave that I’m about to give you right here,” and he gets to talking in his lingo and slang. He sets you up.
You drank the Kool-Aid.
I drank the Kool-Aid! But it was 100 percent right. I’m really appreciative about that record.
When do you think you'll release a video for that one?
I don’t know. If I can get this trench jacket and we can get this rooftop we might be shooting it [today].
Do you think any other tracks from the mixtape warrant a video?
There's another record I do want to shoot, it just takes a little bit more money to convey some of the visuals once they get narrative. It’s not just performance situations, so I just want to make sure I’m going to have the right budgets around this next particular single so it can be everything it needs to be. I don’t want to half-ass it.
What's your favorite song on the mixtape?
I’d have to say “Doesn’t Matter." Lyrically, I really love that track. I like a lot of the tracks lyrically. I like everything lyrically but that’s just one that sticks out to me. I like the “Trust You” record, too.
When can we expect the album, My Name Is My Name?
Spring time, for sure.
Is it close to done?
Yeah. I've got a list of eight records in my phone right now that are solid. I’m just trying to find these last few. And I think I've got a good idea of what they could be. I think I found maybe one or two.
Speaking of albums, there's been a lot of talk about Cruel Winter. Is it happening or what? This week, Travi$ Scott was on Twitter hinting towards it.
I don’t know if there is going to be a Cruel Winter, I really don’t. When it was spoken about before, it was from Q-Tip and he’s in those conversations. I know there’s plenty of music that we’ve done that I don’t know where it's going to end up.
See I be missing all this. I don’t know.
Can you set the record straight?
I don’t know if I can set the record straight, but I know that I don’t know. I don’t know if there is going to be a Cruel Winter, I really don’t. When it was spoken about before, it was from Q-Tip and he’s in those conversations. I know there’s plenty of music that we’ve done that I don’t know where it's going to end up, I don’t know where these verses are going to go.
Is it all Cruel Summer leftovers?
Things that just get left period, not even just from Cruel Summer. Cruel Summer was pretty dialed in, but we have music laying around. It hasn’t been that collective—we all go to a studio and put it down. The G.O.O.D Music process of working is a pretty intense process. Until we get in that setting, that's when I’m gonna be like, “Yo, it’s going down.” Until then, I don’t think he’s putting out any pieced together work.
You talked about a certain standard that Kanye has for everything that G.O.O.D Music puts out.
It’s just a process and it’s a long process. Records will be great for a week straight and he’ll get an idea on week two and the records change. Nine times out of ten, it’s even better. Sometimes he thinks the drums could be harder so the track goes through a process of 20 different drums. It’s just a long drawn out process of perfection.
Would you say that’s exclusively Kanye’s thing?
Oh yeah. I would say that. I’ve never been through it before with anybody else.
Since it’s Cruel Winter—
Ya’ll trying to get this Cruel Winter, man! What should I say? Cruel Winter yes or no, dammit? I don’t know.
What's the inspiration behind the mixtape's skits?
I’m pulling from the Bad Boy and Hype William era of cinematography, Belly things for this project, as well as my album.
Kim Lee is just a very, very exaggerated woman who speaks like this all day long. I just find it really funny—and she has all this attitude. I’m pulling from the Bad Boy and Hype William era of cinematography, Belly things for this project, as well as my album. I was just really trying to dial in and I thought that was the perfect accent to sprinkle into the mixtape. She really came in on the interludes and on what she was saying. She really embodied it.
How approach staying relevant? You’ve remained pretty consistent in your appeal to rap audiences.
I don’t think that lyric driven hip-hop goes out of style. There’s no way that that ever goes out of style. As long as I’m current product-wise and in touch with what’s going on in the world and pop culture, and adding that on top of street life—which is still prevalent—I don’t think I could be irrelevant.
Is there still anyone that you want to work with who you haven’t worked with yet?
No. I mean there are a couple records that I would like to make. I would like to make that Pusha and Jay-Z record, just solely us two. That’s just something I’d like to make. I’ve been on a record with him before, but it’s that—one verse, two verses. However that goes, I’d like to see that.
Is there anything else coming up for you?
I’m going to hit the road really hard in March. Of course, there’s everything that’s going on in February. We’re going to be at the Grammys—two nominations—to All-Star Weekend, CIAA, Magic Trade Show in Vegas. That’s taking up the whole month of February. And then Paris to finish up the record.
Do you think you’ll be the godfather of Kanye and Kim's baby?
Oh, nah. I mean—who knows? At the end of the day, it’s just about them and their kid and just being happy for them.
Well, at least you know you'll be at the baby shower. What do you even get a baby that likely already has everything?
Listen, let me tell you something, you can get a baby anything. That wouldn’t be a hard gift for me at all. You gotta get things they need and then buy something that’s fresh too. I could probably whip something together, personalized. Clothes or something.
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