As Pusha-T emerged on stage in front of 80,000 Kanye West fans to perform his “Runaway” verse on April 17, 2011, something was looming over him.
It wasn’t a figurative “looming over,” but rather a gargantuan set piece rising above him—a mural made entirely of stone (a composite of a piece from the Altar of Zeus at Pergamum) that Kanye had requested to be rigged up for his headlining set at Coachella.
“Whatever that structure was, it was so massive,” Push tells Complex on the 10-year anniversary of the performance. “I was like, ‘I hope this doesn’t fall on me.’ These were all my thoughts. It was my first time seeing a stage performance and him putting it on like this. And I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. This is a huge deal.’ Watching him be obsessed… It was like, it couldn’t go any other way for him.”
The wind was fierce that day, but luckily for Kanye, it wasn’t disruptive enough to knock over any stone backdrops or spoil what’s now looked at by many as one of the best festival sets in hip-hop history. Just five months after Kanye released what Push refers to over the phone as a contender for the greatest album of all time, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezy rallied up a team of creatives from varying artistic backgrounds—some of whom he’d never worked with before—to put on his first headlining set at Coachella. He was following in the footsteps of acts like Prince, Jay-Z, and Paul McCartney, who headlined in years past, but nobody had ever done it like ’Ye.