You oftentimes hear the phrase "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper" thrown around loosely, but in Pusha T's case the description is appropriate. The Virginia Beach representative, who initially built his rep brick by brick, switched to raps around the turn of the millennium and has since mastered the craft, earning the respect of his big homies, contemporaries, and up-and-comers in the process.
From his formative years as one half of Clipse alongside his brother Malice (now going by No Malice), to the Re-Up Gang era that provided a treasure trove of some of his rawest rhymes, to his current status as a major fixture within Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha has become one of the most reliable lyricists on wax. In 2013, during the My Name Is My Name listening party, Kanye delivered a speech that summed up King Push's influence on the game. "Act like y'all ain't based your whole shit, your whole lifestyle off this ni**a, Pusha T."
To give you a better example of just how nice Pusha T is with the pen, we break down the best verses from his catalog. Yuugh!
31. Re-Up Gang "20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner"
30. Clipse "Intro" (Mixtape)
29. Future f/ Pharrell, Pusha T, and Casino "Move That Dope"
28. Re-Up Gang "Run This Sh*t"
27. Kanye West f/ Pusha T, CyHi the Prynce, and Keri Hilson "Take One for the Team"
26. Pusha T "Peso (Freestyle)"
25. Pusha T f/ Tyler, the Creator "Trouble on My Mind" (Verse 1)
24. Pusha T "My God" (Verse 2)
23. Clipse "Intro"
22. Birdman f/ Clipse "What Happened to That Boy"
21. Clipse f/ Jadakiss, Styles P, and Rosco P. Coldchain "I'm Not You"
20. N*E*R*D f/ Kanye West, Pusha T, and Lupe Fiasco "Everyone Nose (Remix)"
19. Pusha T "Blow"
18. Re-Up Gang "Re-Up Gang Intro"
17. Pusha T and Kanye West Hot 97 Freestyle (Verse 2)
16. Pusha T "Intro"
15. Kanye West f/ Jay Z, Pusha T, CyHi the Prynce, Swizz Beatz, and RZA "So Appalled"
14. Clipse "We Got It for Cheap (Intro)" (Verse 1)
13. Pusha T "Numbers on the Board" (Verse 1)
12. Clipse f/ Pharrell "Mr. Me Too"
11. Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz "Mercy"
10. Pusha T "Exodus 23:1"
9. Clipse "Keys Open Doors"
8. Clipse "Grindin'" (Verse 1)
7. Clipse f/ Kanye West "Kinda Like a Big Deal"
6. Clipse f/ Ab-Liva "Ride Around Shining"
5. Kanye West, Pusha T, and Ghostface Killah "New God Flow" (Verse 1)
4. Kanye West f/ Pusha T "Runaway"
3. Pusha T f/ Kendrick Lamar "Nosetalgia"
2. Pusha T "Don't F*ck With Me" (Verse 2)
Album: n/a (2011)
"The talk don't match the leathers/The swag don't match the sweaters/And wolves don't walk with shepherds," is:
-one of the hardest bars I've ever heard in my life
-one of the cleverest sonnings I've ever heard in my life
-one of the most intelligently simple ways to sow ghostwriter doubt, communicate fraudulence, and express disdain.
The way Pusha delivers that last line, he almost sounds sorry for, uh, *whoever* he's talking about. The hardest line isn't even in the verse proper. "No shots *snicker* but nothing goes unseen." Anyone who doesn't heed that title after hearing this deserves what's coming to them. —Frazier Tharpe