Pusha T on the Grammy Committee: "They Can't Deny Good Hip-Hop Anymore"

Clipse's Pusha T raps a lot about drug dealing and the spoils that go with it. (His name is Pusha, after all.) You no doubt know that by now. It's why Pusha Ton is naming his upcoming album My Name Is My Name. But before that shipment arrives he's doling out samples in the form of his mixtape Wrath Of Caine. With two albums and two Grammy nods (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance) for his assistance on "Mercy," 2013 is shaping to have big things in store for Pusha. We caught up with "Young Black Socrates" about the titles of his new albums, how social media has changed the way we listen to music and his favorite rapper. Cry now, motherfuckers.

See Also:
-Review: Kanye's Sex Tape G.O.O.D. Music, Cruel Summer
-Pusha T Presents: A Clipse Guide to New York
-Live: Pusha T And Ryan Leslie Win Some And Lose Some

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Q&A: Pusha T On Working With Tyler, The Creator, His Neptunes Bias, And The Virginia Melting Pot

Kanye West's favorite Clipse brother, Pusha T, drops his new EP Fear of God: Let Us Pray today. Released on 'Ye's GOOD Music label, the project includes collaborations with Tyler, The Creator, Young Jeezy and Diddy, as well as the label boss himself on "Amen." In the run-up to the EP's release, Pusha T took a timeout from shoveling down some Chinese chow at a Midtown spot to trace the links between the Odd Future and No Limit movements, recall his days playing shows for local drug dealers around the country, and explain why he might not be that keen to work with Large Professor these days, despite "Looking At The Front Door" being his favorite song of all time.

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

90% of his friends are behind bars. His oldest brother is a recovering drug addict. His other brother has long since repented. All that and Pusha still wants to, well, push. "That's what happens when you Michael and they treat you like Tito," he raps on the hook for "I Still Wanna." For the first time in his life, Pusha (Terence Thornton) is not following in his brother Malice's footsteps and distancing himself from the coke raps that the Clipse brand was built on. There are claims that new Clipse material is on the way, but for now, Pusha is flying solo dolo.

We caught up with Pusha T at his local barbershop, right before he left for Miami to shoot a video for his version of Jay-Z's hustler anthem "Can I Live" (it appears on his mixtape Fear Of God), Push had plenty to say about detractors wanting him back on a strict diet of Neptune beats, his Bronx roots, and his relationship with his older brother. Gather 'round.

Your mixtape was so highly anticipated and managed to keep from disappointing the fans. At least most of them. How do you feel about people saying you should stick to spitting on Neptune beats and off of Jay's classics?
I think those people are super corny. I should just stick to Neptune beats?! I feel like people who say things like that show say that don't know the art of mixtapes. Jay was rapping over "The Symphony," B.I.G. was rapping over Death Row beats... that's the essence of a mixtape. I wanted songs that were inspirational to me over the years. I come from the Clue and Doo Wop era. Buying mixtapes in Norfolk and shit. If you can't feel that then it's not for you, sir.

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Download Fear of God, the New Mixtape From the Clipse's Pusha T

One of the happiest of the many stories to get lost in the maelstrom that was Kanye West's 2010 was the rehabilitation of Pusha T, perhaps the single most critically beloved and commercially unsuccessful rapper of the last five years. The Clipse, his duo with his brother Malice, had sat on the shelf for four long years following the release of 2002's Lord Willin', scrapping at least one putative album and releasing several furious mixtapes in the process; when Hell Hath No Fury finally came out, it was hailed as a masterpiece...then sold all of 36,000 copies its first week out. 2009's Til the Casket Dropped was a disappointment, as were the mixtapes that bracketed it--after years of fighting an industry that couldn't figure out a way to make them stars, it seemed like these once vital rappers had lost both their will to struggle and their creative spark. Until, that is, Kanye scooped Pusha up last year, putting him on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's finest single, "Runaway," and signing him to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint (and, among other things, bringing him to last week's SXSW). Pusha responded by promptly returning to making great music, or something close to it; listen to the vintage-sounding Pharrell production "Raid," with 50 Cent, for instance:

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Malice From The Clipse Will Be Signing His New Book In Bushwick Friday

malice book cover.jpg
"I knew this was something I had to do, so I went ahead and did it." Thus did Malice, the currently non-Kanye-affiliated half of SOTC-beloved rap duo Clipse, explain his decision to write Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, and Naked, a somber autobiography tracing the coke-rap kingpin's highs, lows, and newfound embrace of Christianity. (Read our own J. Pablo's full interview with him here.) This is all profoundly abnormal as far as rapper-penned memoirs go, as Malice will be glad to explain to you in person, at an "official book signing" event scheduled Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m. at Vinnies Styles in Bushwick. DJ Boof and Mo' Brown will also be in attendance, if those names mean anything to you. You can buy the book online right here in the meantime; he's been promoting it via a series of revealing videos, the strangest (and most Vaseline-based) of which you will find below.

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Q&A: Malice Of The Clipse Loses His Porsche, Finds Religion, And Writes A Book About It

"'Wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous.' That quote spoke to the next person getting my Porsche for the remaining 50K left on it."

Even for a rapper, Gene Elliot Thornton, Jr., a/k/a/ Malice, a/k/a one-half of critically acclaimed Virginia rap duo Clipse, has talked about the drug game and all its perks incessantly: money, women, cocaine, intimate knowledge of the metric system. Often credited with fathering the "coke rap" genre, he famously said, "If all I talk about is coke, let that tell you something." But now when he gets up in the morning, the first thing he does is pray. And while the emcee insists his rhymes always showed a balanced view of the drug game, he wants future Clipse material to inspire his listeners to live fuller, more focused lives. His Christian faith, he says, is now riding shotgun. But what spawned such changes?

At the tail end of 2009, Clipse released Till The Casket Drops, the coke rhymes and luxury-brand shout-outs all accounted for. Ending that album, however, was a tune called "Life Change." Malice was obviously going through some things, balancing family-man issues with an entertainer's workload, and watching former manager Anthony Gonzalez get sentenced to 32 years for drug trafficking. With his rhyme partner and younger sibling, Pusha T, tucked safely under Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music wing, Malice subsequently found the time to self-publish an autobiographical account of his experiences, Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked (Thor10 Publishing), and produce several "video excerpts" from the book to promote it; one shows Malice dealing with his dream cars being repossessed after he'd missed several payments. [NOTE: Malice clarifies that he never missed payments -- his lease was up and he didn't have the credit score to refinance.]

A coke rapper copping to financial problems? This isn't your garden-variety street tale. Here's what Malice had to say about his new platform for expression, his brother venturing off, his complete embrace of Christianity, and his sense of if his cocaine-and-Porsche rap days are indeed over.

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Pusha T Presents: A Clipse Guide to New York City

Categories: Clipse, Featured

Pusha T at the Highline Ballroom last year. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.
The Clipse make coke rap cut straight out of Virginia. But Pharrell's favorite rapping brothers, Malice and Pusha T, have a discernible New York streak running through their rhymes. Which is no surprise given that they were born in the Bronx and grew up smitten with the aura of golden era MCs like Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. Further boosting their VA-to-NY connection, their grandmother played family matriarch from the stronghold of her Bronx building, a time later immortalized by Malice in the song "Young Boy": "Spoiled the grandkids, each one she would treasure/Said she kept two guns and to do so was a pleasure/The cigarette dangle, 45-degree angle/Still every bit a lady but you don't wanna tangle." Pusha also traveled up to New York to spend his youthful summers under her watch, as he recounts here. In advance of the duo's two shows in NYC this week--at Baruch College during the day tomorrow, and at the Highline Ballroom that night--we asked Pusha for a guided tour of his childhood haunts.

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Your Big, Honking Guide to Haiti Benefits and Valiantly Intentioned Fundraising Efforts, Non-Wyclef Musical Edition

If this doesn't say it all, don't know what does

Wyclef's Yele charity has recently drawn a firestorm of criticism, but he's not the only musical figure trying to mobilize folks and funds on behalf of Haiti. There's also an impressive number of benefit concerts and music events happening in the city over the next few weeks, plus a series of ongoing efforts from the likes of Lady Gaga to Clipse to Blink-182. Our exhaustive round-up of the ways artists are attempting to involve their fans, and the general public, in the relief effort, be it downloading a new song (or a great cover of an old one), buying a custom T-shirt, or sending that ever-so-simple text message. Did we miss something? Kindly leave it in the comments.

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New Clipse Video: "Freedom," Which Is A Great Song

In these three minutes and forty-seven seconds is a fascinating Clipse full-length that never got made--ditto for the video here, which has the same unsparing and self-ravaging feel as the song for which it was made. The more we listen to this song, the more Til the Casket Drops feels like the great rap self-hate record that got away, but whatever, that's a 2009 complaint, right? Right? Anyway, this is great, minus the MLK stuff, which musicians of all kinds should know by now is never quite equivalent to your man getting put away for 32 years after he attempted to distribute 100 pounds of cocaine. It just isn't. [Nah Right]

Clipse on Fallon: "Popular Demand," Featuring Black Thought

So if you're keeping track, there was yesterday's impromptu "Grindin'" remix in a Late Night rehearsal closet, the official-yet-web-only "Grindin'" in-studio (Jimmy calls it an "oldie but a goodie"), and now the official, broadcast version of the Clipse doing "Popular Demand" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, with Black Thought filling in for Cam'ron. They may still be in there, working on something.