Pusha T already has four albums under his belt as one half of the Clipse, but when the G.O.O.D. Music rapper unleashes his solo debut via Def Jam later this year, he’ll be treating fans to a purely cinematic experience.
Last year’s Fear of God mixtape delivered a potent dose of his lyrical venom, but while recording his still-untitled debut, Pusha turned his focus to musicality. Enlisting The-Dream and Rico Beats on production, he’s been hard at work crafting a project heavy with rhyme and melody, which finds him painting a complete picture of the lifestyle that most rappers only skirt over in their music.
The album has not been pegged with a release date yet, but during his sit down for MTV’s Hip-Hop Music Preview, Pusha gave some insight on the topics that made him tick — from relationships, to family and even major pop-culture events like the death of Steve Jobs. Expect to find beauty, glitz and glamour juxtaposed with the harsh realities of street life and fame.
The Recording Process
“Unlike most artists, I’m a morning person when it comes to recording. My recording day can start as early as 9 a.m., and I’ll write what needs to be put down, and hopefully I’m leaving by 1 p.m.
“I’m not a studio junkie at all. I actually don’t like the studio because it sort of ruins my vibe. To me, it’s just [a place] to lay down vocals and get out of there. For whatever reason, I’m most creative and write best in the shower, and also when I’m driving. Even if I don’t have a starting point, it usually comes with the constant flow of water or the monotony of driving.”
The Cinematic Influence
“This album was based off the movie ‘Devil’s Advocate.’ Not theme-wise at all, but just in the feel of the album. ‘Devil’s Advocate’ is a very dark movie, but at the same time, visually, it’s beautiful. The album is based off of that because I speak about the harsh realities of street life but there’s a lot of glitz and glamour that comes along with that. If you just look at it at face value, you might think, ‘It sounds a bit like he’s glorifying [street life],’ but when you get tuned into the record, you realize that you get both sides of it.
“There’s a scene where one of Charlize Theron’s girlfriends — a beautiful woman — is trying on clothes, and as Charlize is looking at her, her face turns into a monster. That’s one of the scenes that really paints the picture of the beauty and the dark side of my album.”
“40 Acres”: “One of the more thoughtful records would be ’40 Acres,’ and it’s produced by The-Dream and Rico Beats. It really harps on things that have happened in my life in regards to family — my brother being my partner, my parents not being together — speaking on how those things altered my views on relationships and so on.
“One of the lyrics goes, ‘Unpolished, unapologetic, might’ve broke a heart or two, but gave an honest effort/ You see my nonchalant attitude is always f— it/ 35 years of marriage, and my mama left it/ You shouldn’t question if you ever stood a chance with him, the better question is, did you enjoy the dance with him?/ I’ll probably never pull your chair out, bitch, you know this money grew your hair out, switch/ All that s— I bought, you wear out, rich/ But I’m the only one I care ’bout.’
“A lot of people, and men in general, don’t recognize that their selfishness towards women in a relationship probably has to do with something that has happened in their life before. I like to harp on things like that because people speak about relationships like it’s always so blissful but, like I said, my album is also based in harsh realities.”
The Five-Word Description
Musicality: “There are a few things I feel that are lacking in rap, and musicality is one of them. The ‘superproducer’ damn near died this year.”
Cinematic: ” ‘Devil’s Advocate’ made everything seem so much easier in terms of making the record and knowing which direction to go in. There are a lot of records that I had to rewrite because it wasn’t ‘movie enough.’ I wrote ’40 acres’ three times.”
Uncompromised: “We didn’t compromise on anything on this record. I have my own standard for raps.”
Lyricism: “There’s just never a moment where the fundamentals of hip-hop are ever forsaken.”
Big: “I don’t think there’s any point on this album where I thought twice about anything I was about to say, regardless of who it might’ve touched or affected or annoyed.”
Check in with MTV News all this week for our Hip-Hop Music Preview, when rap’s biggest names give you an in-depth look at some of the year’s most anticipated albums. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MTVHipHopPreview!