Pusha T Talks MTV VMAs, Making Of Kanye West's 'Runaway,' G.O.O.D. Music Signing

Oh, what a difference a summer makes. When VIBE caught up with Pusha T back in May, he was at somewhat of a crossroads in his career. The Clipse—the duo comprised of himself and his brother Malice—had just announced that they were preparing to release solo albums, but neither had a solo deal at the time and there were no concrete plans in place for their immediate future.

Fast forward to Sunday night (Sept. 12) and Pusha on stage with Kanye West at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards performing "Runaway," the latest single from 'Ye's forthcoming album, reportedly titled Dark Twisted Fantasy. Just how did he push his way into this position? We caught up with Mr. Push-A-Ton to discuss the VMAs, the Kanye/Taylor Swift controversy, the making of 'Ye's new single and his role as the newest member of G.O.O.D. Music. Yeah, he's good.—Chris Yuscavage

VIBE: Congrats on the big look Sunday. We were surprised to see you take the stage. No one had heard anything about you joining Kanye that night. When did 'Ye get the idea to perform "Runaway" at the show and when did you find out you were joining him?

Pusha T: [Laughs] I have no idea when Kanye first got the idea to perform the song at the Video Music Awards, but the show was on, what...?

Sunday night.

Right, Sunday night. And I was told about it last Wednesday. That's when I was told I would be performing.

That had to take you by surprise. And then you throw in the fact that 'Ye asked you to perform a new record that nobody had ever heard before—at the VMAs. Were you worried that people might be like, 'Ummm...what is this?'

No, but I mean, you know what? The record itself is a really big record and a really dynamic record. The hook on that record is catchy and infectious the first time you hear it, so I didn't worry about the newness of the record at all. I thought it was going to be a great record and it was. To me, I just thought it was really, really timely.

Were you a little more nervous than usual when you took the stage?

I was just excited. We had been rehearsing it since I got to Los Angeles [at the end of last week] and every time during rehearsal, we were just like, 'Wow, this is going to be really crazy.' And it was simple at the same time. We didn't have a whole lot going on during the performance. It was just about us. Well, us and the ballerinas. [Laughs]

[Laughs] The ballerinas—that's right. What did you think about the ballerinas? I can't imagine diehard rap fans ever expected to see a Clipse member performance featuring ballerinas.

You know, it's funny. You get caught up in Kanye's visions a lot of times. [Rapping next to a ballerina] is not something that I ordinarily would have even thought about. But when people hear Kanye's album and see what he's doing artistically with the visuals as well as the music, they're going to see that it's real artistic. All these little pieces that you're getting in advance are pieces of a puzzle. And once the whole puzzle gets put together, you'll understand it. So, to me? Yeah, the ballerinas make a whole lot of sense. But I know the story already.

In the week leading up to the VMAs, everyone was talking about the Kanye/Taylor Swift incident from last year. Were you aware of what was going on with that?

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Stephon Marbury Plans To Provide Masks From China For New York City’s Healthcare Workers

Stephon Marbury is making major moves to help his home-state. According to the New York Post, the former Knicks player is working with a supplier in China that’s ready to ship 10 million N95 masks to healthcare workers in NYC. The Coney Island native reached out to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to gain legislative support so that a number of nurses, doctors, and first responders working to contain the COVID-19 virus can benefit from the protective gear.

In a statement provided to NBC New York, Marbury said he’s lost a cousin to COVID-19 and that his “family is dealing with a very difficult time.” In New York City, the death toll is 1,218. There are over 66,000 cases within the state, ABC News reports. As a result, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended a work-from-home order for non-essential workers to April 15.

The Post states Adams has reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo's offices but shared no decision has been made as of yet. “We’ve been communicating back and forth with the city and state, and for some reason they are saying they don’t need any more masks, but the hospitals are saying they do," Adams said. In response, Jill Montag, spokesperson for the Department of Health said state officials are interested in ironing out the details of obtaining the masks.

On Instagram, Marbury stressed the importance of keeping yourself self and following orders that remain beneficial for your health. “The quarantine has purpose so we can help the infected and protect the healthy. The virus is the invisible killer. It has no heart or compassion as we’re all exposed. I too have family members exposed to this virus,” Marbury wrote. “No one is exempt as we see people of all stature infected by this virus. The only way to move pass this is through it together. We can do this by staying home until we create a solution that everyone can conform and perform well to. Positive energy laughter, prayer, meditation are some of the rules we can follow.”

Marbury now works as a coach in China for the Beijing Royal Fighters. He once placed for various teams in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) after his NBA-career run stateside came to an end in 2009 with the Boston Celtics.


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This is the new normal in the life. We have to adjust and adapt quickly in our lives. Wearing a mask is so important during this #coronavirus pandemic if we must be out and about. The quarantine has purpose so we can help the infected and protect the healthy. The virus is the invisible killer. It has no heart or compassion as we’re all exposed. I too have family members exposed to this virus. No one is exempt as we see people of all statue infected by this virus. The only way to move pass this is through it together. We can do this by staying home until we create a solution that everyone can conform and perform well to. Positive energy laughter, prayer 🙏🏾, meditation are some of the rules we can follow. Quick to listen and slow to speak to each other will help us communicate better to each other. This will give us strength and hope during a time we never experienced in time to grow together as 1. Keep growing and loving during this uncomfortable time. You define who you are when you create comfort in a uncomfortable state. Stay great in this space and keep pushing!!! #loveislove

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Here Are All The Hits Played During Ne-Yo And Johntà Austin's Epic R&B Battle

Over the weekend, music aficionados were gifted producer battles from the best in the business. In addition to The Dream and Sean "The Pen" Garrett's wild head to head, Ne-Yo and Johntà Austin's standoff was one for the books.

The gentlemen squared up on Instagram Live Sunday (March 29) after much fanfare. The rules were simple–Show up sober, play 2. 25 songs apiece, no unreleased music, the songs can be from any genre and the time limit would be up to 90 seconds for each song.

Soon, the battle kicked off with sentimental tracks like "Unfaithful" by Rihanna and "I Miss You" by the late Aaliyah. As spectators like Usher, Tyrese, 9th Wonder, Diddy, Tinashe, Snoh Aalegra, Eric Bellinger, Brian Michael-Cox and more entered the chat, the songs got bigger and better.

Rounds 3 and 4 saw the big guns come out. Austin played tracks from Aaliyah and Chris Brown with Ne-Yo playing his own songs and hits from Beyonce. "When all else fails, you got to bet on yourself" he hilariously said before playing his 2008 hit, "Miss Independent."

The final round left fans in a frenzy as Austin played Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and Ne-Yo ending with "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce. The entire match was a delight as both men praised each other for their pen game.

Superproducers Swizz Beats and Timbaland helped kicked off the current trend last week when they gave fans part 2 of their 2018 match. We also got to see a match between Boi-1da and HitBoy over the weekend with an unleased track with Roddy Rich and Drake.

But Sunday's battle was all about R&B, specifically tracks from the aughts that are often sampled today. Most fans and spectators landed at a draw for the battle as it was just too hard to land on a winner.

See the full list of tracks dished out below.


Round One

Johntà - "Get Gone" by Ideal (1999)

Ne-Yo- "That Girl" by Marques Houston (2003)

Johntà- "I Miss You" by Aaliyah (2002)

Ne-Yo- "Unfaithful" by Rihanna (2006)

Johntà- "Like That" by Mariah Carey, Fatman Scoop and Jermaine Dupri (2005)

Ne-Yo- "Knock You Down" by Keri Hilson featuring Ne-Yo (2009)

Johntà- "Don't" by Bryson Tiller (2014)

Ne-Yo- "She Got Her Own" by Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabolous (2009)

Round Two

Johntà- "Stingy" by Ginuwine (2002)

Ne-Yo- "Own It" by Mack Wilds (2013)

Johntà- "Yo! (Excuse Me, Miss) by Chris Brown (2006)

Ne-Yo- "Stay" by Ne-Yo featuring Peedi Peedi (2006)

Johntà- "Don't Forget About Us" by Mariah Carey (2005)

Ne-Yo- "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson (2005)

Johntà- "Just Be A Man About It" by Toni Braxton (2000)

Ne-Yo- "Do You" by Ne-Yo (2007)

Round Three

Johntà- "Shortie Like Mine" by Bow Wow featuring Chris Brown and Johntà Austin (2006)

Ne-Yo- "Bust It Baby Pt. 2)" by Plies featuring Ne-Yo (2008)

Johntà- "Need A Girl" by Trey Songz (2009)

Ne-Yo- "Go On Girl" by Ne-Yo (2007)

Johntà- "Sweet Lady" by Tyrese (1998)

Ne-Yo- "Make Me Better" by Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo (2007)

Johntà- "Like You" by Bow Wow featuring Ciara (2005)

Ne-Yo- "Leave You Alone" Jeezy featuring Ne-Yo (2011)

Round Four

Johntà- "With You" by Chris Brown (2007)

Ne-Yo- "So Sick" by Ne-Yo (2005)

Johntà- "Shake It Off" by Mariah Carey (2005)

Ne-Yo- "Take A Bow" by Rihanna (2008)

Johntà- "Can't Help But Wait" (2007)

Ne-Yo- "Sexy Love" (2005)

Johntà- "I Don't Wanna" by Aaliyah (1999)

Ne-Yo- "Flaws and All" by Beyonce (2006)

Round Five

Johntà- "Come Over" by Aaliyah (2003)

Ne-Yo- "Miss Independent" (2008)

Johntà- "Poppin'" by Chris Brown (2007)

Ne-Yo- "Mirror" by Ne-Yo (2006)

Johntà- "Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige (2005)

Ne-Yo- "Let Me Love You" by Mario (2004)

Johntà- "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey (2004)

Ne-Yo- "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce (2006)

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Lonnie David Franklin, Jr., 57, attends his arraignment, with Public Defender Regina A. Laughney in the courtroom of Judge Ray G. Jurado in Los Angeles Criminal Courts July 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Franklin was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the Grim Sleeper serial killings over the past 25 years and has been linked to 11 killings.
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Lonnie Franklin Jr., Known As “The Grim Sleeper,” Found Dead In Prison Cell

After spending a decade in prison, including four years on death row, Lonnie Franklin Jr. was found dead in his San Quentin State Prison cell on Saturday (March 28), CNN reports. The cause of death is still unknown. Franklin was 67.

In July 2010, Franklin was arrested for the deaths of 10 people, the majority being women, in South Los Angeles in the 80s. The convicted serial killer preyed on women, sexually and physically assaulting them before taking their lives. Diana Ware, who was the stepmother of victim Barbara Ware, told PEOPLE that she’s shocked at Franklin’s death but “I won’t say I’m pleased he died but at the end there was justice for all the bad things he did in his life. We can now be at peace.”

Terry Thornton, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s spokesperson, said while no signs of trauma were apparent, “they don’t know why he died.” An autopsy report will be conducted by the coroner’s office in Marin County.

In 2016, a court sentenced Franklin to death for his crimes as he faced several first-degree murder charges and an attempted murder charge. His youngest victim was a 15-year-old girl named Princess Berthomieux.

Franklin’s DNA was taken by an undercover officer who acted as a waiter at a pizzeria that the convicted murderer frequented. The officer was able to take a DNA sample from a pizza crust that Franklin didn’t finish, leading investigators to finally find a match and connection to the previous deaths. Investigators noticed Franklin was arrested in 2003 for a felony charge, but no DNA was collected at that time. It wasn’t until a year later that Proposition 69 was passed which mandates DNA to be collected from those that get arrested. Franklin’s arrest for the string of murders also came way of "familial DNA analysis." The ex-sanitation worker’s son was arrested and charged for felony weapons possession and when his DNA was taken, it showed similar strains to the saliva found on the victims' bodies. Authorities gathered enough sufficient evidence to arrest and charge Franklin.

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