Andres Tardio/ MTV News

Pusha T Breaks Down Darkest Before Dawn's Beats, Rhymes And Cash Money Lines

He also says G.O.O.D. Music has the album of the year.

Pusha T knows how to get people talking.

He proved this again recently by dropping the first two tracks off his upcoming Darkest Before Dawn project. "Still wishing on a star," he rhymed on "Untouchable." "The last one to find out that Baby owns the cars." Then, on "M.F.T.R." he takes another jab at Cash Money Records: "You ask me, Tyga lookin' like a genius." The lyrics have had people speculating about a beef, but thankfully, Pusha's here to clarify.

"People be misconstruing my Tyga line," he told MTV News, confirming that it was about YMCMB and not Kylie Jenner. "The Tyga line was...I thought it was a ballsy move for him. At the time, he was leaving a label with so much greatness associated, record sales and everything associated with them. He was like, ‘I’m not making no money. I’m outta here.’ So, when I say, ‘You ask me, Tyga looking’ like a genius,’ that’s how I feel. That’s how I felt about it. Some people would sit in a rut. He was like, ‘Nah, I’m out. Forget it.’"

Andres Tardio/MTV News

These references come long after 2012's "Exodus 23:1" was seen as a Cash Money dis. So, naturally, people are wondering where Push stands when it comes to the label. "I don’t really stand nowhere on them," he said. "It is what it is with me. I’m here. I’m happy. I’m good. I’m well. Unbothered. Unfazed. That ain’t no stress to me. I do what I do out here. I do what I want to do."

Right now, what he wants to do is drop Darkest Before Dawn, which is set for Dec. 18, but the album isn't just about the controversy. It's also meant to showcase other aspects of Pusha's dark side, but he's doing it with some of hip-hop's most coveted producers, including Diddy, Kanye West and Timbaland. It's a dream team the Clipse spitter assembled with a purpose. Here's a breakdown of the album's production.

The Beats

"Everybody on this album is a hit maker," Push told MTV News on the set of his "M.P.A." music video. "They’re known for these big, grandiose hits. But, what people don’t understand is that, me personally, I prefer dark music. I prefer music that’s more street oriented. These guys have all made great records like that, that are probably more my favorites than the ones that are their Top 5 hits."

Those hit makers are also perfectionists. Push saw this firsthand while working with Diddy. "He pushed me so crazy," G.O.O.D. Music's new president explained. "He set the bar really high. Lyrically, he’s a very particular critic. It’s hard to impress. You just have to be on your A-game. He’d even make me write different. He’d tell me, ‘If I know what your next line is gonna be then that’s the wrong line.’ And then, I’d have to remix it. But it was all about impressing him."

Andres Tardio/MTV News

Timbaland was another producer who made Pusha work in a new way. "Timbaland brought the unorthodox puzzles of beats," he explained. "I look at all of his beats like a puzzle. He just made me rhyme different. I had to really follow his drum patterns and really navigate my way through his beats."

Artistic experimentation is nothing new for Push, who's worked with Pharrell since his early years with Clipse, something that continues today. "He’ll have me trying everything under the sun," Push said. "[He’s] another unorthodox risk-taker. He pushes me incredibly."

Darkest Before Dawn's A-list production team -- which features The-Dream, Q-Tip, Bauer and Hudson Mowhawk -- also includes a rapper who's more known for spitting than beat-making. Enter: J. Cole. "I don’t know if he gets enough recognition for his production," Push said, adding that Jermaine doesn't appear as an artist on their collab. "I’m a fan of it."

Pusha's such a fan, in fact, that he hunted Cole down for the track and didn't do the whole "E-mail me the beat" thing. "Actually, he did it in front of me," Pusha explained. "I was chasing him down. He was on tour, so we went on his bus and he knocked it out then and there. He understood totally. We connected about the vision for the track and he did his thing. Cole’s great."

The Rhymes

These producers gave Push street-driven cuts to match his dark lyrics. Why so dark? "I feel like it has a lot to do with my mood these days," he explained, pointing out that home invasions are popular around this time of year. "It could be the seasons. It’s winter time. It’s big coat weather. You gotta be careful. Holidays are supposed to be a fun time, but at the same time, holidays are a dangerous time where I’m from."

Andres Tardio/MTV News

While the Cash Money lines have caused some controversy, Pusha's ready to let the rap game have it with another cut on this project, “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets (All I See Is Victims).”

"It’s just my perspective on the rap game," he said of the track, calling himself a "rap superhero." "Priorities are a little bit skewed in the rap game. I feel like rappers seem victimized these days and I just jumped at that energy.

"You hear the stories of the bad business," he continued. "I feel like, when I was coming up, my rap heroes were everything to me. I really wasn’t watching Spider-Man. I was watching Eric B and Rakim. They had all the freshest clothes, all the freshest jewelry and they rapped. I wanted to be everything like them. These days, I feel like it’s a soap opera. These guys are spilling their guts, pouring their hearts out so much, that I don’t see how the fans admire a lot of it."

While those tracks may or may not include references to YMCMB, you shouldn't expect the whole album to be about that. "I feel like my album is all over the place," Push explained. "Rap, to me, is about addressing everything that y’all are hearing, what’s going on right here, right now, and everything that’s going on in society. I’m talking about Donald Trump, his perspective and his views that I’m really not with. I’m talking about police brutality. I’m addressing so many things, man."

Law enforcement injustice has been particularly important for Push, so he decided to rap about it.

"I just feel like the situations in the past year, it’d be an injustice not to speak on them," he said. "These are my people. Young, black kids are being killed. It’s really a sensitive thing with me, super sensitive. It would be an injustice not to speak on it, man. When I think of my favorite rap artists, I think of Public Enemy and groups like that. There was an angst and an aggressive energy around that. Now, I watch these situations happen and young people seem a bit more passive. I wanted to go polar opposite from that and take an aggressive stance lyrically through it and show people how I think, how my mind works."

Andres Tardio/MTV News

The Album Of The Year?

Darkest Before Dawn, which is set to feature A$AP Rocky, The-Dream, Kanye West, Beanie Sigel and Kehlani -- is already Pusha's pick for this year's best. The only other album the G.O.O.D. Music president sees in that category? Big Sean's, of course.

"2015 album of the year for me," Pusha said. "I’ma have to say Darkest Before Dawn. There isn’t one album that’s necessarily moving me. There are some good ones out there. Was Sean's Dark Sky Paradise 2015? Sean definitely got a heater. So, I wouldn’t mind if people debated on that."