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…?
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?