Q&A: Pusha T: "Instant Gratification Versus Slow Grind? I'll Take The Former."

What's it like working with 'Ye as opposed to Pharrell?
P has the beat finished and the hook almost down pat when I get to the studio. We may change a word or two to the hook but the melody and all that is there. It's like just insert the verse. I'll ask P how I should rap on it sometimes, how my cadence should be. He has a broad view of the whole beat, you know? With 'Ye, a lot of his songs come from conversations, so at first the beat is just a skeleton. I'll hear a stripped-down version, lay my verse. Then 'Ye takes the beat and makes it soooo different. It took a little getting used to at first, but now I love it because it comes back a surprise.

Speaking of surprised I wasn't at all surprised when I heard you guys were born in The Bronx. Castle Hill represent!
Ha, yeah, that's right. I was pretty young when we moved to Virginia, but my parents sent me up to see the family in New York all the time. I'd come up like, "Run-DMC is the shit!" and my cousins would be like, "Nah, Rakim is." Then I'd like Rakim and they'd be on Kane or some shit. But we always had a good idea of what was popping in New York, though we were a little late.

Were you mad your parents moved you out of the cradle of hip-hop, the crossroads of the universe, the Big Apple?
Nah, I could never be mad at my parents. I had great parents. I don't have the usual rapper "fuck my dad" story. Both my parents provided for us. We didn't have everything but we had enough. I hustled out of greed and sometimes it spun out of control. Just another set of values compromised by plain old American greed.

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