Pusha T isn't shy when it comes to talking about his drug-dealing past. While his roots lie in the streets, his passion is clearly in rap, as evidenced by the tightly woven rhyme schemes and larger-than-life concepts on his solo debut, My Name Is My Name, in stores Tuesday (October 8).
On "Hold On," one of Pusha's favorites from his new album, the Clipse MC dives right into the dichotomy, drawing a clear line between his life as a rapper and his former one as a dope dealer.
"I sold more dope than I sold records, you n---as sold records never sold dope/ So I ain't hearin' none of that street sh--, 'cause in my mind you motherf---ers sold soap," he spits with the opening line of the track, which also features Rick Ross and background vocals by Kanye West.
The line can come off as hyperbole, especially when you consider that when Push and his brother Malice released their Clipse debut Lord Willin', it was a RIAA-certified gold release. The group's other two releases (2006's Hell Hath No Fury and 2009's Til the Casket Drops), though critically acclaimed, didn't fare as well.
"I don't think I sold that many records... My run in the music game hasn't been the average rise to success. You're right, I have sold a million records. My favorite album, I've sold no records on Hell Hath No Fury," he said, breaking down the lyric to MTV News. "I only got three albums, I've been in the game since 2002, it's 2013 I only got three albums with the Clipse."
Outside of Clipse's albums, Push has garnered success and accolades. He was featured on Justin Timberlake's 2002 Grammy-nominated single "Like I Love You," on Kanye's 2010 hit "Runaway" and was a driving force behind G.O.O.D. Music's double platinum single "Mercy" last year.
Maybe My Name Is My Name, with its deep and dark beat selection and harsh presentation, will be the one to catapult Pusha past the dungeon of the drug game, but then again, it's his ability to so vividly detail his past that makes the Virginia spitter great.
"There's certain truths you just can't deny and I feel like a lot of people in hip-hop are just superheroes, a lot of people are gonna act like they're platinum-plus every time, that's not me," he said. "I'm not, but there's still a way to be dope and creative without having those accolades and that's just what I strive to do."