Live from Berlin, Germany, Pusha-T is imparting his wisdom on audiences across the globe in conversation with Red Bull Music Academy. During the discussion, Push opens up about his path to becoming one of the most influential rappers alive, from Virginia Beach to G.O.O.D Music. Watch the livestream in the video above.
While talking with music journalist Anupa Mistry, Push recounts his early days in rap and what it was like growing up in Virginia Beach. “Pharrell really drove in the fact that like ‘man this thing can happen,’” Pusha-T said of his childhood friend and early Clipse collaborator. “I was skipping school going to Chad’s house, and everybody would be over in Chad’s house...I was like ‘Man I’m gonna write me a rap today.’”
Later on in the conversation, Push talks about his brother walking away from rap, opening the door to his solo career. The first stop? Hawaii to collaborate with Kanye. He recalls being in love with Ye's production work and collaborations with Jay-Z. “Ye production wise has always been top notch to me...He heightened to me, HOV’s greatness. Definitely," he said, before explaining how Kanye helped him find his own sound.
“He’s found my sound. He’s found the new Pusha-T sounds musically,” Pusha explained. “I always have faith that he’s gonna find that sound. It can take forever. It can take days, weeks, but he finds it.”
The discussion shifts gears to DAYTONA, and Pusha’s trip to work with Ye in Utah and Wyoming. He arrived to Utah with a complete project in hand, produced by a variety of other people. Push explains how Ye decided to take over the production on the album, widdle it down to seven tracks from 10, and felt inspired to produce albums for the rest of the G.O.O.D. Music crew.
“The idea of everybody putting like 25 tracks on an album to get the streams up, it’s such a poverty poverty way of like cheating to me,” he said, taking a jab at the tactic used by his former nemesis Drake. “So I was like, you know what, we need to be totally against everything, and we need to have a whole other mantra in regard to what we’re doing.”
The conversation about DAYTONA’s album art then arises. Push says he had an album cover ready with a picture of himself. He took the idea to Ye, who then presented him with the controversial $85,000 picture of Whitney Houston’s bathroom. Push defended his use of the cover.
“This art was done honestly, just trying to capture...it was drugs, luxury, everything that picture said. Granted it was from...it was Whitney’s bathroom. It was the home bathroom,” he said. “Nobody was trying to like play Whitney out or nothing. Just the picture, it was perfect. It was a perfect description. Organized chaos. Drugs, luxury, ups, downs, everything I was describing on this album. And I’m sticking by it.”
Pusha recently released dates for a Part 2 of his DAYTONAtour. The album, lauded as Push's best work and one of the strongest projects of the year, kicked of G.O.O.D. Music’s string of summer releases. "I knew DAYTONA is a classic rap album as soon as I stepped out the studio," he told Complex back in August. "There hasn't been better production on an album, or a better-rapped album than DAYTONA this year."
The second leg of his tour kicks off on Nov. 3 in Chicago.