Band/Artist Profile

Hopscotch Artist Preview: Pusha T

Pusha T is a hip hop veteran who has stayed relevant for over a decade without crazy marketing schemes, endorsements, or toned down lyrics. In a genre that’s had a love-hate relationship with tough delivered lyrics in recent years, King Push has managed to spit some of the hardest bars in the game, with a cool and silky delivery that makes being a thug sound really appealing. He undeniably carries the torch into the new generation of Hip Hop as the boss of Coke Rap.

He and his brother emerged onto the Hip Hop scene in the late 90’s as the hailed duo, Clipse. Their debut album, “Exclusive Audio Footage,” got the attention of a relatively unknown producer at the time named Pharrell Williams. Pharrell signed the duo to his imprint, Star Tracks in 2000. Under Star Tracks, Clipse made a major dent in mainstream Hip Hop during the early 00’s with an appearance on Justin Timberlake’s first cross over hit, “Like I Love You” and their gold selling album Lord Willing. Lord Willing had some of their most well known tracks including “Grinding” and “What Happened to That Boy.”

The rest of the 2000’s weren’t that commercially friendly for the duo, but is when Pusha started to accumulate more respect among Hip Hop loyalists. Clipse was bounced from label to label in a storm of industry politics, which caused their second album Hell Hath No Fury to be delayed for almost three years.  Upon its release in November 2006, it had subpar sales, but was lauded by critics as one of the best albums of the year. It received the rare “XXL” rating from XXL Magazine, and was called “the best Coke Rap album of all time…” by Rhapsody.

After a few years of obscurity, Pusha T and his brother split ways musically. This is when Pusha’s career skyrocketed. He signed with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint in 2010, and had one of the most successful years out of any rapper. The Kanye association put him front and center to the masses as a revered spitter, crushing tracks on other rappers’ albums (including Kanye’s), and making himself one of the most sought after featuring artists through the early 10’s.

After signing with Def Jam in 2011, he released Fear of God II, a sequel to his critically acclaimed mixtape Fear of God. FOGII was a Billboard success that cemented everything he started with G.O.O.D. Music. In 2012 he was heavily featured in the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer, on smash hits like “New God Flow” and “Mercy” alongside the likes of rap giants like Ghostface Killa.

In 2013, he released his first solo studio album called My Name is My Name. The album was produced by hip hop’s most prestigious producers, including NO I.D., Kanye West, Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, and Swizz Beats; and had features from Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar; and stands as one of the best albums of the decade.

Pusha T is a hip hop head’s MC. He’s in that special niche of rappers who have seen commercial success, but remain strongly rooted in underground culture via his personality and his music. His live performances are known to be really energetic, and his cult following will be sure to be a great crowd to be in the middle of. This is one of Hopscotch’s best picks for rappers to hit the stage at the festival.