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Rapper Pusha T taps in with Headkrack & Lore’l on The Morning Hustle. His new album, “It’s Almost Dry” is now available everywhere music is streaming. Check out the full interview and be sure to listen to The Morning Hustle with Headkrack & Lore’l weekdays from 6 to 10 AM eastern time.

Pusha T "It's Almost Dry" Album Listening Session

Source: Johnny Nunez / Getty

 

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See below for a transcription of the full interview.

Headkrack

Ladies Gentlemen he’s back because he said the streets was dry and we need to flood the streets with a re up man. You got a great a to talk about WhatsApp but one of the only Pusha T

Pusha T

what’s up? How yall doing?

Headkrack

Man we’re doing great. Thank you so much for blessing us with music to like be you know be able to ride you around with the windows down to is it’s been a minute.

Pusha T

Yeah call music. That’s what I call it car music I that’s the only type of music I want to make ever.

Lore’l

I like to call it rich music because every time you make me want to go shopping or eat at Nobu in the backroom, like, where’s the back room? I know, because I’ve been there a few times and I ain’t never been invited to the back room now.

Pusha T

It’s a couple back rooms for sure.

Lore’l

I already know, you know.

Headkrack

Yo like this, you know, particular project finds you like in in such a different headspace, right. You know, the Sonics, you know, it’s more up than we’re used to hearing from you. And, you know, you were dealing with some, you know, dark things, just like the rest of the world was during like the last two years, not only with the pandemic and our deepest and sincerest condolences, you know, on the passing of, your father. Yeah, that as well. Like, I mean, what kept the wind in your sails to keep going, because some people would kind of, you know, curl up into a ball and be like, I don’t want to do nothing and but you let that you know, that you let that drive you?

Pusha T

Yeah, you know, I don’t really have that option. As just said, I, I recorded the album during the pandemic, I also had my son during the pandemic. And he was born June 2020. So, you know, man, you know, giving up is definitely not an option. Definitely not an option. And it’s definitely not something that you know, that I ever thought of even you know, even with the passing of my parents and, and things like that, man, they were very determined and driven people. So, you know, I feel like, you know, that’s something that I definitely got from them. So regardless of what’s going on, regardless of how hard times are, my parents never gave up. There’s something I never do.

Lore’l

Right. And you definitely deliver one of your greatest projects I’m talking about everybody is saying this is your best project from Diddy, he just said something right. I think that’s so dope, but you did open up about something that Pharrell said that kind of hurt your feelings a little bit set, you back a little bit and that was when he said “you don’t want to be known as that mixtape rapper.” Now why do you think that people may have even put you in that light when you have such a big record? And you’ve been in this game for so long? Proving that it’s not, it’s not even mixtapes? It’s, you know, these are albums, these are these are instruments.

Pusha T

You know, I think that I think Pharrell is just always shooting for the stars, and always wanting what’s best for me. But he knows that I’m satisfied just the rapper, the purist in me, I’m like, satisfied with a hot 16 The same way I’m satisfied with like a top 10 record. Like if the streets if I put out something in the streets is like, going crazy and they love it. And, you know, it’s on a mixtape circuit, and they talk about the person, they reciting it to me when I when I go outside, that’s a Grammy to me. You know, like, those that he knows, I think like that, he knows that, like, that’s my thing. And you know, it was a little bit disheartening at the time, you know, because Pharrell is my man, he only want what’s best for me, as you can hear in the album, like he went crazy. But, um, but, you know, but for me personally, like, you know, it just took me back to like, I was like, Damn, man, like, we used to ride around and like your GPS. You know, I’m saying like, use GPS listening to the same mixtapes going to Norfolk State University, following the bootlegger that, you know, move, the clue and skein was, you know, chasing down saying, They’re gonna kill on the tape from he hide it, and I’m like, bro, you was with me? What are you talking about? Like, we was going all through places trying to get this stuff, and I’m saying it and get that energy. So I sort of threw me for a bit but, you know, we, you know, we talked it out. And it was it was good, because it was actually that song that really spawned and set off the energy for this album that he executive produced. It was the I know Nico album, but it was that particular song that was played during Paris Fashion Week that had like a million hits after they previewed, and I was like, Hey, listen. We started record Yeah, but I get it, I get what he’s saying. But it’s like, for me, you can never abandon that foundation because this is where everything gets hot. That’s where everything starts. That is where that’s where the energies that once said, and it’s like, whatever, you know. Yeah.

Headkrack

Well, not only do you feed the streets Pusha T you also fed the foodies. You know, a lot of people are calling your Arby’s rap the freshest thing that they’ve ever released as a person who eats at Arby’s Im here for the shenanigans with the fish sandwich this was on a Hawaiian bun

Lore’l

Im with you at Nobu but the Arby’s I’m not sure…

Headkrack

Try the Hawaii bun Lo. I’m telling you, Alaskan Haddock…

Lore’l

I mess with your diss record but I havent ate a fish filet yet.

Headkrack

When you get the call to do this record, you know, I’m saying like, it seemed like, you know, the fire that was in your brain was coming from a different space in place, right? Like, was it more so like, you know, with that Jay Z energy I’m overcharging niggas for what they did to the Cold Crush, you know me because you felt like you didn’t get what you should have got, you know, from McDonald’s for doing that Justin Timberlake joint?

Pusha T

Right. Well, you know, that was just like, young business. You know, I’m saying like, I did that. The McDonald’s thing was like, 2021 years ago. 21. Yeah, no, like, no, like, yeah, like, yeah, like 20 years ago. And I, you know, of course, you know, of course, 20 years ago, man that was like it was it was good money. It was great. Like, me and my brothers were extremely happy, whatever. But then when you see it be used for 20 years. And you realize and like, they you recognize and realize, like, wait a minute, I took a payout for this? And what happened was, you know, I do a lot of panel discussions and stuff. And people always ask me what’s like one of my biggest regrets, and music and I was like, man, you know what I actually wrote in a rap the catchphrase, too, I’m loving it. That’s where it came from. There was a rap version. And that’s where the catchphrase I’m loving it came from for the campaign. Then I was like, Man, I took this payout me and my brother took this payout. And I was just telling people about it. So and then at the same time, you know, just later on in my career, I do a lot of EDM records. And I do those records, because they are very commercial friendly. All commercials want to, you know, they love that type of energy. So me and a DJ named Skrillex, did a record together, in which Arby’s used the campaign. This is years ago, they used in that campaign, and I own 40% of that record. So when they got to meet “Oh, we got to meats?”

Lore’l

So you got both slogans on both sides?

Pusha T

Right. The second one, I did right the first one I messed up. You know, that was when I was 20 years old. So when Arby’s came with this campaign, they were like, oh, you know, we saw we saw you sitting down talking about, you know, your dealings with McDonald’s. Well, we have this fish sandwich that we’re bringing the market and we want to go head to head and it just speaks a lot to a company that knows and have people in that company that know what’s going on in the culture at the time, the disruptors, the beefin, and all of that, so on and so forth. That was you know, what was going on with me, they peep that and they liked, like, you know what, let’s bring this to a head, we’re already in business with him. He’s made our campaign for the last I don’t know how long that we got dummies been going on. But it’s been for a minute now. And, um, you know, I look at, I look at things like that, and I look at opportunities like that, man, these are things that I’m always going to do and check off the boxes. And, you know, just because it’s like, bro like, this, this music started like really started over a stone row. You know, I’m saying so it’s like, who am I? Like, just for those coming up behind me just for just opportunity sake won’t matter. Like not be in a commercial campaign or thing. You know, I mean, something that’s anonymous and something that makes sense, you know, when it makes sense and synergy, you know, you could look at it people could look at it like, oh, it’s corny or whatever, but I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like man this is Look how look how far and how. Let’s see how far we can take rap and street rap at that. I’m from an era where man listen Did you know rap wasn’t even being shown on the Grammys, right won’t be shown, I used that I used to have to go to the Grammy ceremony on Friday. They plan it on Sunday. You know, like we weren’t being shown on nominations. People were boycotting it. I’m just from a time. So it’s like to watch. And I’ve lived through these errors, so to watch, rap grow and be the number one genre, the, you know, in all the campaigns, and so on and so forth. I feel like I shouldn’t be a part of that. And we all should when we can. And when it makes sense.

Lore’l

Yeah. So another thing you did, like you said, we spoke on Pharrell already, you had two of the best creators to help you executive produced this project. And that’s Kanye and Pharrell. Now, you said it at some point, you would take it back to each other and make it your own personal versus battle, right, like, right again, if they want to do it, versus who wins and who went on this album, and you got to pick someone. Now, can they both had some incredible tracks on your album? Somebody’s got the it’s a song you like more than the other?

Pusha T

Um, man, I have a couple of favorites. But I will say this. My favorite record on the album is a record that’s produced by Kanye Cole. Just so you remember who you’re dealing with? Yeah. Right. Now that’s, that’s the spirit that’s in the spirit of like, you know, just rap is the very minimal whatever the you know, very minimal, just all bars. The biggest record on the album is produced by Pharrell. And that’s the I mean, I’m talking about biggest in terms of actually like streaming and what’s happening on charts right now. Whatever is like, I’m looking at him and like, it’s his, his number one and two of Kanye that right behind it. So it’s like, man, what’s the

Headkrack

number one? Is it? Is it neck and wrist right now? Or is it?

Pusha T

No, it’s a record. It’s not even out yet. It’s called scrape it off the top. Oh, yeah. It’s called scrape it off the top of this feature in this feature that was performing well to neck and wrist and performing well to that, under that under the two Kanye joints. Okay, so it’s like it’s like one to one Pharrell to three guys for Pharrell.

Lore’l

So that means one Pharrell, you said one for route. So that’s Pharrell. Yeah. Is there any answer?

Lore’l

Over the weekend, they were playing for Hamilton. And they’re like, and that’s one of my favorite songs because it kicks off the album and it’s so fire like the Beat everything as soon as it just comes in you go. And like I didn’t really know that the background behind I had to look it up a little bit on G that’s an area Yeah, mother worked in.

Pusha T

Yeah, sure. Yeah. Sounds area my mother worked in. It’s a main street in Norfolk, Virginia.

Lore’l

So yeah, I just got no,

Pusha T

no, I would just say like, you know, as a kid, my mom worked in a pharmacy. And I used to be really young, but I used to go, I used to go see her at work. And I could look across the street and see Sweet Pea Whitacker would occur because he lived in the projects across, he’d be outside. And it was like my first you know, run in with just like, the energy of like, I was like, six, seven years old and I used to love to go see her. And as time went on, and time progressed, I created a lot of friendships from over that area. And, you know, I just decided to name it that.

Headkrack

So you know, you got Kid Cudi on the project, which you know, he is very you know, he’s very certain that this is the last time that he will work with Kanye, how does it be the middleman and all these things? Because even when you look at the situation with Drake and Kanye, you will look at the shooter for you, just for you to turn around and piece it up.

Unknown Speaker

Yeah, well, you know, when it comes well when it comes to when it comes to Kudi man, it’s terrible to be in the middle because Cudi is my brother. Like he’s always got my back. He always comes through for me, even even in a sense of even in a sense of you know, he’s very you know, he stands on what he says So even for him to clear the record because he definitely didn’t want to do any more records with it Ye’. But for him to clear the record and he did it for me, you know? But as far as the heaven drape, da I’m not in the middle of that. I don’t, I don’t care. This is what they do. I mean, I’m you know, I stand where I stand on that and its nowhere with them, you know? Just yet.

Lore’l

So as far as the Cudi situation, let’s go back to that for a second, since that is family and without obviously telling any family business, which I know you’re not going to do anyway, who do you think is the one that deserves the apology?

Pusha T

Oh, no. You know what I feel like it like it went public, everybody, everybody, anyone who goes public is wrong? So they both did they both got to apologize.

Lore’l

Ohhh… Yeah. Okay, good answer.

Headkrack

What do you feel like is your most coded verse or coded song that you have, not only in this project, but some of the other ones? Stuff that people still haven’t got yet? That you’re waiting for them to have that aha moment on?

Pusha T

Man? I mean, I, you know, I don’t know. Like, you know, the way that I write is from I only write from I write from the reasonable doubt era, you know, I’m saying, so, like, man, that’s the only way I know how to do it. If there are no hidden, there are no metaphor parallels and drawing, no similarities between things. That’s not real- that’s not good rap to me, you’re supposed to make you think, to make you deep dive to me. I mean, for what it is that I do, you know, that tons of sub genres, of hip hop that people appreciate, and I appreciate. But when it comes to the pen what people want from me, you know, they want, man, they want to be able to rewind it back. They want to rewind it back. So I don’t know how to do it any other way than that. So I don’t I don’t know what’s hidden. I mean, you know, I don’t know what’s the most hidden gem because I write with that intent the whole every time, every verse.

Lore’l

But you also said that you have a file cabinet of death, right? Which is very good. You already have here with itself, you got a file cabinet that mean, you’ve been building on that.W ho is someone that you may have given a pass to that you would have pretty much killed lyrically, but she was like, you know, I’m gonna just let this fly.

Pusha T

I cant, you know, I don’t even want to out anyone but the energy out there.

Lore’l

Who’s a person that maybe people tried to get you to go against that? That you was like, Nah, that’s just not something that I’m going to do. Lyrically though?

Pusha T

You know what, man? Um,I’ve seen recently on Twitter, people say, and myself and Eminem. It was it was like a misinterpretation of something that I don’t even remember something I said or whatever.People decode and they have their own thing. And I was like, Nah, man like Em’ is somebody that I like respect. And he’s one of them people that I really liked what he does, because in all of his success, I can still find lyricist lounge, Eminem, you know what I’m saying. That’s a goal for me personally, like, I want to always be able to make Daytona level… It’s Almost Dry level, uncompromised rap.

Pusha T

Whatever my highest point will be. I want to be able to always make that. When I reached all the successes I can possibly reach, I would make Black Album 10 times after that, everything. That’s just what I would want to do. And Eminem is somebody like that. So I don’t know where that energy came from.

Headkrack

Now, when you need some musical therapy, or even somebody just to like you know, lend their ear to you. Who is that person that you rely on what that was that mental escapism that you go through? Just to kind of you know, ground yourself?

Pusha T

When I’m like uninspired I go kick it with Puff. When I’m uninspired I can easily go to you know, pull up to L.A, Miami, wherever he’s at. He gonna talk all the big mogul talk all of money talk, all of flexing, flossin, super Black, you know what I’m saying? It’s inspiring another person who I am who people might not know, that I am, like, really inspired by is The Dream. Me and that guy are like one for one, like, cars, everything and he like, you know, he, he really lived it. He really live it. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever seen in a studio. Yeah, he’s like, really good. He’s really good. He’s really fast. And he’s he has like a musical library of like, just information.

Pusha T

Yeah, but the Dream Dream and Papa like my to go to people for like, inspiration.

Lore’l

And I think Push that’s probably why it shows so much in your music and your craft that, you know, you’re still taking things in like you go around Pharrell, Kanye, like, I was with Karen Civil the other day and she was like, Yeah, you know, pushes, he’s meeting up with Kanye, so they can you know, and I just think that’s super dope, because you know, people don’t run around run behind you. But you’re doing things to still perfect your craft, all the while still putting on your city. Yes, state with Virginia with your own label. Now you have a situation where you’re going to start putting on other artists from Virginia and give them that platform to you know, what, what made you decide that now was the time to do that. And how did you keep Kanye out of your pockets in this situation?

Pusha T

As far as the label it’s called Airwave Music Group and, you know, I decided to do this because we look at the area that we’re from, whether myself solo, The Clipse, the Neptunes, Timberland, Missy, you know,Trey Songz, Chris Brown, and a host of producers from Bink Dog to Knots it’s a host people right? The one thing about all of us that we all had to do was we all had to leave Virginia to get on. And it was like that, because if you if you’re from the town, and you’re from the area from back then late 80s, early 90s, the influx of New Yorkers, and just that whole energy was like, adopted our area, like, fully adopted everybody who was, you know, it was I like to call Virginia was the first South Beach, like Virginia Beach was the first. If you look back at all the photos, and you know, just all of all that archival stuff, if you think about rap music, from Ma$e to Big to Wu-Tang, everybody stopping in Virginia Beach, but with that being said, and because we were adopted so much, you know, we were not only were we we never built our own infrastructure, like a place like, you know, like a place like, let’s say, Atlanta, or a place like Memphis or what they’ve done in the bay, or what they’ve done in Houston and Dallas, when music when rap was hot, East Coast, northern influence, we got sucked up in that. So we never built out our own infrastructure,

Lore’l

They just put you in New York. They like New York, Virginia.

Pusha T

So we was we was waiting for to hear what Flex was gonna say, or whoever, you know, I’m saying, you know, all that type of stuff. So, I feel like, you know, that’s something we never done. And I would like to see, you know, the kids around here locally. It’s a lot of talent around here. But it’s like a tutorial you gotta like, you gotta show the people that they can like look to their neighbor and know that they neighbor is dope, and like, they’ll support them. Like they do in other places, but it’s never been that so it’s like a it’s like a real, like a real lesson. Like a real lesson and real teaching.

Lore’l

The Black Wall Street in Virginia.

Pusha T

Yeah, yeah. And like I said, we never built it. When when they come when people come here, they should be able to leave no one like, Oh, what was the hottest record?

Lore’l

Who would that be? Who’s to watch from Virginia right now?

Pusha T

Man, it’s so many kids out here. Kids on my label, I would say is a girl by the name of Shaolin. She’s really good. She’s r&b. Man, there’s, there’s a kid called K-Yo. He’s making noise virally right now. Everybody’s trying to sign him. Another new kid from here a kid I managed by the name of Young Chris. He’s on Columbia Records. super viral, who made the Blood on the Leaves record remix. That was like all over TikTok.

Headkrack

Well, Yo, man, we’re proud of the progression man from Got Caught Dealing to It’s Almost Dry. Pusha T has been solid and consistent the whole time. You know, real quick before we bounce you know, there’s a couple of you know, Pusha T nerds out there who wants some details? What is the likelihood of us getting a Clipse album in the near future? Because we have somewhat of a reunion here on this project. Yeah, you know, we’ve also had some glimpses on some of the Ye’ stuff. And what’s this about you and Madlib might have something to stash together that might get dropped soon.

Pusha T

Man, I will, as far as the Clipse goes, you know, that’s really up to my brother. I feel like but I feel like we’ve shown the world in the past two offerings, whether it was the Punch Bowl record on Nigo or on my album, that man a Clipse album is a very, you know, is a very necessary. So I be talking to my brother, he’d be like, “Yeah, I’d be seeing what they saying, you know, I’ll be seeing everything.” I’m like, alright so what we doing? He like look, don’t come pressuring me.

Pusha T

Man, madlib is like a super special producer. And he has those sounds those chops. We were supposed to work together. But it was a thing of, I didn’t want to feel like it was just a beat sending thing I needed to really get in. And I felt like, you know, doing it that way would be sort of cheapening the real magic that we could really make. So until we both got the time to sit down and create, like, you know, like I create with everybody else. I think it’d be you know, it’s doing a disservice until we can really do that.

Headkrack

You can truly hear that this album was produced.

Pusha T

Yeah, this album was produced, like, you know, and people need to understand that too. Like, you know, a lot of rappers feel like they rap so good that they can rap over anything. You know, I’m saying and that’s not me. You know, I’m saying like, I came I came in the game with producers like I actually know the schooling of like, being produced… I don’t ever not want to be produced trying to make movies from here on out.

Lore’l

So you did mention there’s a couple of songs that we then hear and I know there was some features that didn’t quite make it. Will we be getting an extended deluxe version or do you know are you gonna do another project with those features?

Pusha T

I mean, you know, the feature that didn’t make it that I did I didn’t even get done was Nas. He was supposed to be on the record, Hear Me Clearly like the last verse. And just timing, scheduling or whatever, it just didn’t happen. So, I don’t know, you know, I don’t know. But I mean, he ain’t off my bucket list. I don’t care.

Lore’l

Hopefully we ain’t gotta wait three years.

Pusha T

No, no, no, no, no. That’s something else for me to like, I really want to make sure that the Pusha T language is embedded into you know, what’s going on musically more frequently now, too. So it’s not going to be you know, three years and things like that. I’m already working on the next one now, me and P’ already got three- four records already.

Headkrack

I think we could thank and blame the pandemic at the same time because like the time you took off you could tell you applied that pressure and took your time with it. And yeah, it was definitely worth the wait. It’s Almost Dry available everywhere where you get your music from, and you can’t wait to see the slob man with festivals you popping up on next.

Pusha T

Oh man. I’ll definitely be at Something In The Water Festival. I got a residency in Vegas. We overseas, we everywhere! The almost dry tour that starts May 29 in Seattle

Lore’l

I heard a rumor that you’re bringing Drake out. No?

Pusha T

Nah, that one ain’t gone happen!

Headkrack

Well yo man wherever you are, we are there man! Continued success on everything. My brother can’t wait to hear the next body of work. In the meantime, we’re about to suffocate our speakers with this current body.

 

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