Pusha T Keeps It Real About the Change in Lyricism in XXL 20th Anniversary Interview
Pusha T first announced his presence to the mainstream rap world on Clipse's Lord Willin' single, "Grindin," an icy Neptunes-produced cut that immediately established the duo of Pusha and his brother Malice—now known as No Malice— as a force to be reckoned with. "I'm yo pusha," he said at the time. Since then, he's become much more.
With piercing lyricism that could be just as self-aware as it was self-mythologizing, Clipse, and subsequently, Pusha, continued rising up the ranks of rap's hierarchy of respect upon the release of their Hell Hath No Fury album. As of today, the project stands as one of a very select few that have received a perfect XXL rating from our publication.
One album later, he and his brother split for good, and King Push went on to join Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, dropping a stellar couple of verses on Yeezy's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and hitting home runs with his first two solo albums, My Name Is My Name and King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude. At around the time King Push hit shelves, Pusha was also named G.O.O.D. Music President.
In short, Pusha's seen it all, done it all as far as rap goes, and he's been doing so for the last 20 or so years, which, coincidentally, falls right in line with the date XXL Magazine was first published. In that time, the Virginia rapper's gotten a complete look at the part XXL's played in determining what's what. "XXL’s role in hip-hop has definitely been the credibility, the rating system," Pusha says in his cover story for our Fall 2017 issue, written by XXL Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Satten.
He continues, "It lets you know who was hot, what was hot. XXL lets you know who to love just in breaking down the greatness of an album or just the greatness in rap and the sub-genres of rap. It was never really biased. You could see a great review about the most lyrical person, and an even greater review about somebody who made strictly party music with less of a message. They [XXL] made you differentiate and I always thought that was dope."
Pusha T is just one of the artists selected to appear on XXL's 20 special edition covers. Like the G.O.O.D. Music President, these rappers have been documented by XXL through the extent of their careers and have always shown love to the brand that helped raise their profiles along the away. Pusha's fellow cover stars are 50 Cent, the cover king with 15 total XXL covers and a career we’ve been documenting from the start; Diddy, the man who not only reinvented the remix but paved the way for rap moguls; Nicki Minaj, a queen in hip-hop building her own pinkprint in the game; Wiz Khalifa, the cool, calm and collected superstar; Cam’ron, Harlem’s swag connoisseur; Lil Uzi Vert; the face of hip-hop’s new generation; Migos, three rappers who helped redefine the culture; Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather of the game; Future, a trendsetting trap god; T.I., rap’s gangsta and gentleman; Fabolous, a highly respected New York MC; Rae Sremmurd, the real crowd-pleasers; Birdman, a No. 1 stunna with a revered empire; Run The Jewels, partners in rhyme and reason; Yo Gotti, a testament to tenacity; Gucci Mane, the true comeback kid; Tech N9ne; an independent icon; E-40; hip-hop’s in-the-know uncle; and The Lox, a trinity representing for the streets.
Check out Pusha T's full Fall 2017 cover story here, watch his interview video below and keep it locked to our exclusive 20th anniversary hub for more content coming in honor of XXL's 20th anniversary.
See All XXL Magazine 20th Anniversary Covers