If you consider Pusha T‘s street-soaked past, you can imagine how motivational his crack-to-rap story can be for some. Last Sunday, the G.O.O.D. Music golden child headed to Hollywood, Florida, with Rick Ross to provide a bit of hustler’s inspiration for “Hold On,” their collaborative cut from Pusha’s solo debut, My Name Is My Name — and MTV News was on set.
“The concept of ‘Hold On’ is me and Ross performing in front of some neighborhood guys, lecturing and basically telling the people of the neighborhood — our peers, essentially — that we’re here for them and we’re doing this for them,” Push told MTV News of the video.
Produced by Kanye West and Hudson Mohawke, the song was recorded in Hawaii during a G.O.O.D. Music getaway and is as one of Pusha’s favorites from the album. The emotional track finds both Pusha and Ross reflecting on the perils of the drug game. “Overnight I seen a n—a go get a Carrera/ Two weeks later, had to be that boy pallbearer,” Rozay spits, illustrating how quick street circumstances can change.
“Ross is a perfect fit for any song with me, personally, because I feel like he’s one of the people I could count on to give a clean, concise, immaculate verse,” Push said of his co-star.
In one of the video’s unfinished scenes, the Clipse MC and the Maybach Music boss stand in a drab room, as a bunch of young men sit around them and soak up the lessons each rapper drops. With his opening line, Pusha readily shares that his street life was more lucrative than his current rap one.
“My verse is simply about reality and being able to admit that we as rap artists cherish so much, [like] record sales and so on and so forth,” Pusha said. “So when I tell you, ‘I sold more dope than I sold records,’ it’s almost me slapping fun at my own shortcoming as far as sales and things like that.”
It isn’t the money that keeps Pusha invested in hip-hop though: It’s more about the rap legacy that he wants to leave. “But it doesn’t matter,” he said about his modest record sales tally, “because I still feel like I’m one of the greats of right now.”