His Name Is His Name: A Trap-Rap Interview With Pusha T

On a hot, sunny Friday, hours before it’s time to hit the stage, G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T sits down with Urbanology Magazine to talk My Name Is My Name, the raw emcee’s first solo album that earned him critical acclaim. Laid back on a sofa inside a downtown Toronto office space, the rapper, who is one-half of the hip-hop due, The Clipse, speaks on the importance of keeping his music strictly for the streets, where he fits into the new generation of emcees and the process of putting together his solo work.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE EVOLUTION OF STREET RAP AND ITS STATE TODAY? I like it a lot. I feel like as it’s evolving, it is cemented in the culture of hip-hop and cemented in nightlife and the scene. I’m watching females. They are not singing the R&B records any longer. They’re singing Lil Scooter in the club. They’re singing, “I Woke Up In A New Bugatti” in the club. They/re singing the Ross records in the club. So street music lives.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DESIGNATED ROLE IN STREET RAP IS? Oh man, to just keep up and heighten the tier of lyricism and just manicure it. Sophisticate it.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF TRAP RAP BECOMING A GENRE? I don’t think it should become a genre. I don’t like that, because what was “The Message?” When you think of the first rap records, they were about the streets. It wasn’t called “trap rap”. This is what hip-hop is. Hip-hop was about streets and street music, period. It was not about sub-genres and things of that magnitude. I feel like we are getting away from what hip-hop was about when you start to classify it as “trap rap” and “cocaine rap.” No, “The Message”, one of the first hip-hop records ever was about the streets, just storytelling, period. So, it’s like why are we classifying this? Let’s classify everything else that came after.

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON BRINING IT BACK TO THE ORIGINAL STREET RAP? It’s already done. We’re doing it right now. It’s a changing of the guards going on right now and I’m trying to lead the pack. I’m coming with lyric-driven hip-hop, with raw uncompromised music. The beats unorthodox that you have to rap to, like on “Numbers On The Boards” and embracing what’s new out there. Like, you have guys like Future I a different way on records like “Pain” verses using him conventionally like everyone else wou.d.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF THE PERFECT BEAT? Oh man, an unorthodox beat, unconventional that still hits the soul of every type of fan.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It has its ups and downs but I don’t know if it’s the industry, more the people in the industry. Radio is tough, like the platform for hearing music and the formatting of music and radio spins, maybe that needs to change a little bit. But even now, I don’t know if people listen to the radio right now. I don’t know if I’d really want to change anything. Maybe if radio formatting could level the playing field, maybe if it could, but I’ve seen it on both ends.

WHAT IS PUSHA T’S PURPOSE IN PRESENT-DAY HIP-HOP? I’m here to stand the test of time. I want crowns, period. I’m here to compete and claim king. That’s it.

Interview previously covered the Summer 2014 issue of Urbanology Magazine

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