A Conversation with Pusha T at Boiler Room NYC
We recently had the chance to chop it up with G.O.O.D. Music's very own Pusha T at the recent Boiler Room and New Era "#WearYourAllegiance" event in NYC. Before the convo, however, King Push made sure the crowd was in for a treat as he rocked through a handful of classics, opening with his take on Chief Keef’s destructive "I Don’t Like," and continuing with versions of Clipse’s "Popular Demand," Kanye West’s "Mercy" and a lot more more. Although he has vision is all set on his highly-anticipated upcoming new album My Name is My Name, the VA native was in good spirits as he opened up on his relationship with the headwear brand, his opinion on Magna Carta and Yeezus, why Rich Homie Quan is the man, the ultimate fitted cap and some more.
How did you get involved with the Boiler Room-New Era event?
Oh man. I have a relationship with New Era, and it was just something that was brought to my management. It’s always a go with those guys. I mean, every time I go to one of those events it’s like everyone that I’ve been seeing for the past 10 years of my music career. Guys, you know, that have been in the industry, working with New Era in some capacity of that cool, street market – you know?
You seem to be touring a lot, but does returning to the place you were born bear some special meaning?
Not in the sense of [New York City being] the city I was born in. It’s just like New York is like the mecca, man. It’s the mecca of hip-hop, and when I come there, the energy just never dies. That energy is always great, it’s just always a really great energy. It’s never slack, it’s one of those places that, you know, you really find out who your fan is, and you find out how passionate your fan is. So, every time I step foot in New York – these are the real listeners, these people are the people who really know the definition and the meaning behind what you’re saying… they just know, they’re hip. They’re hip to what it is that I do.
How does a small, intimate setting like the Boiler Room compare with something like the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival?
Yeah, I played them both in the same day. I mean, they’re both awesome venues and awesome arenas to be in. But when you’re looking at the Boiler Room, it’s like, anybody who’s in there is 100% a fan – a fan of the culture, a fan of the music, a fan of 100% of what I’m a part of. I mean, it isn’t the most comfortable of places –you know what I’m saying – it’s hot! It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s stifling, you can’t breathe hardly. But the people are so passionate that all the discomfort goes out of the window. You’ll sit there and you’ll manipulate your set, and you’ll take out the records that aren’t for this crowd. We might not wanna do the R&B/fuse record this particular day.
There’ve been a lot of great hip-hop releases this summer. Do you have a take on two of the most notable ones, Yeezus and Magna Cart...Holy Grail?
Oh man! I feel like they’re great for what’s going on right now. I mean, it’s two different things. If you look at Jay-Z and Magna Cart...Holy Grail, and you’re seeing an icon of hip-hop who’s been doing this 20-plus years, and he’s sharp as a tack – still. But beyond that, Jay-Z is the hope for me as a hip-hop artist; that I’ll be looking at USA Today at the end of the year, and I’ll get to see a hip-hop artist at the end of the touring. It’s always The Eagles, or Madonna. It’s like: he’s my hope that I’ll be able to see that part of it. I look at that, and I look at the fact that he rolled it out how he rolled it out – it was really impressive, and it’s… [with] both Yeezus and Magna Carta Holy Grail, the biggest thing I took from [them] was: we’re gonna sell you a body of work – not singles, not radio, not any of that – we’re gonna trap you in our world. If you’re down, then you’re gonna go get it.
Do you have a favorite release this summer? Or are there any three songs you’re bumping the most?
Man, that’s tough. Lemme tell you, you know what? I’m really into, my new record is – and its not really new – but I’m in the streets a lot, I’m in the clubs a lot – I’m a Rich Homie Quan fan. “Some Type of Way,” that’s like my new record. And, that’s my departure from me being in the studio, writing raps and all of that. Rich Homie Quan is my departure in the clubs and in the party. I’m ridin’ the Rich Homie Quan right now.
So, aside from Rich Homie Quan, do you have any favorite up-and-coming artists that we should know about?
You know what? I’m really listening to (and looking forward to) a couple of guys coming out of the whole Chicago thing that never really got to materialize outside. Like, I’m into [Lil’] Durk, man… There’s also, out of DC, there’s Shy Glizzy. [Repeats]. A couple of VA guys – Young Money Yawn, with his “Gutta Gutta” record, man. His record, man. Uh, you know, always new music coming from Re-Up Gang – there’s Ab Liva, he’s working on his mixtape right now, it’s gonna be incredible.
In light of the Boiler Room, is there a hat that you’ll always rep, a city that you’ll always rep? If so, why?
Ah man! Listen – if you’re gonna talk about New Eras and fitteds, you gotta go with that Yankees, man. It’s the most classic, forever. C’mon, it’ll be that forever.
Is there a second-best?
Second-best? Hm. Oh! The Dodgers.
Are you involved in No Malice’s Hear Ye Him?
Oh, yeah. I’m on, I believe I’m on one of the records.
What is your brotherly relationship with No Malice look like when you guys aren’t working on new music?
Ah man. It’s just, our relationship is so regular. We’re talking about damn near every morning, just about family stuff and family issues [laughs]. Anything, you know. We were just together for my mother’s birthday on the 4th of July. When people ask me things like that, it’s really weird because it’s like, I hope people really understand that this is really, really my brother. It’s regular. Man, we’re real close.
Interview: Josh Davis