Even though it’s the kind of place real housewives rent out to throw their toddlers $60,000 birthday parties, the Houdini Estate, which is billed as “the perfect retreat for America’s first action hero,” still has the air of being an unspoiled secret hideaway. Trees canopy the winding driveway up to the $12 million dollar property, and nooks blanketed with sexy bougainvillea are carved into the five acres. Thickets of brush absorb the sound of cars zipping down Laurel Canyon. Hidden tunnels and caves are buried all over the place, and today, tucked away in a dark, cool little hole of a room is rap’s own Bruce Wayne, the genre’s first self-professed superhero, Pusha T.

“When it comes to superhero rap, no one can out superhero rap me. Superhero rap is me. That’s mine. That’s my lane of rap,” the 40-year-old rapper says, spearing a piece of turkey on his fork. He’s perched on the edge of a bed, wearing coordinated MCM heather grey sweatshirt and black sweatpants, a navy bandana circling his forehead. He hands his plate to an assistant, leaving a poached egg and slice of smoked salmon.

“You wanna talk about what’s going on in society? I can hit on that. You wanna talk about what’s going on in the streets? I can hit on that. If you wanna hear the glamour, I can touch on all of that,” he says. “And I can speak to it from my perspective and from my peers who aren’t in the music game—the have nots who have it all.”

If it sounds like he’s bragging, well, he is. But his braggadocio is based in fact. Since the early 2000s, Pusha T has been one of the most incisive, diamond-hard voices in rap. Along with his older brother Malice, Pusha T formed the Clipse and released Lord Willin’ in 2002. Produced entirely by fellow Virginia natives the Neptunes, Lord Willin’ sent the rap world into a tailspin. Led by the hollowed-out shell of “Grindin’,” the album still feels light years ahead of its time; the Neptunes’ aggressively non-melodic, wonked outer space production was a natural fit for lyrics spit around the razor blades tucked in the brothers’ cheeks. They dropped another icy, drug-dealer-cold classic, Hell Hath No Fury, before lightening the mood a bit in favor of more redemptive rap on their third and final Clipse release, Til the Casket Drops. But after Pusha T signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music a year later and his brother converted to Christianity, he snapped back into old habits and wiped the smile off his face with the release of his 2013 solo debut, the critically acclaimed My Name Is My Name. His sophomore effort, King Push—Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, was similarly praised, drumming up keen interest in his forthcoming album King Push, much of which is produced by Kanye West.

“I’m inspired as of late by the lack of good raps,” he says, all wide-eyed with false innocence. “So my whole thing has been to make the best raps ever. I don’t hear good raps. With words, things like that. Storytelling, bars, anything. I don't hear that that much. So, I was like, ‘Oh I’ll do that.’”

He’s been in this game for years. He knows what he’s doing. Sometimes superheroes need to flex.