VIBE Interview: Pusha T Digital Cover Story 'My Name Is My Name'

Pusha T doesn’t have any time to waste. He knows all too well that none of this lasts forever. Though he’s been resurrected as a solo artist by the G.O.O.D. Music family, P has lost a lot along the way. He’s enjoying the fruits of his labor, yes, but at what cost? He started out chasing the hip-hop dream with a cast of friends and of course his brother. These days, his day-to-day support system comes mostly from phone calls.

“When it’s over, it’s over, and we can look at each other like, 'We had a run!’ But I ain’t going to cut the run short if we eating off me right now,” Pusha tells VIBE about his current success. “When it’s all over, we can just give ourselves a round of applause and have no regrets.”

The Virginia hustler only plays the game on his own terms, but to those that know the real Pusha T, his attitude is why he’s loved in the streets. “Terrence really be out here. You might see him in pictures with Kanye in Paris on Monday, but he’ll be in Virginia on Tuesday,” DJ Punisha explains while showing VIBE around the tiny downtown area of Norfolk. Pun has his finger on the pulse in the V.A. club scene and occasionally spins for Pusha during local shows.

We drive by the projects where the Clipse shot their “Grindin'” video, Mac Arthur Mall—where P owns a streetwear boutique Cream—and an infamous, now-closed nightclub formerly owned by the Clipse's former manager Anthony “Geezy” Gonzales who's serving time on drug charges. It takes no more than 15 minutes. “Geezy was a real good dude… I met him from working in his club, through a promoter friend of mine. That's really all I knew him for,” DJ Punisha tells VIBE.

Pusha’s ties to his old stomping grounds run deep. Liked an aged oak tree, his roots are fused into the dirt of Virginia. No one complains when he arrives an hour late to set. It’s all business for No Malice’s younger sibling. He comes straight from the baptism pool to sit down for the interview, still soaking wet. “You want to change first?” I ask him. “Nah, let’s just do this. I’ll just change when I get home. I don’t live far,” he replies. P isn’t capable of forgetting where he came from. He never left.

VIBE: Witnessing the baptism scene was powerful, man. What did you think think when we first pitched the idea to you?
Pusha T: When it comes to my brother and the church, I just know it’s something he’s truly passionate about, so I don’t question it. I just see him growing in so many ways. I’m definitely seeing another step in his life. When it comes to the music, we’ve always called him “the voice of reason.” His mentality has always been from a consequential, conscious, Christian way of thinking. He’s the one who speaks with common sense, principals and morals. From the very beginning, it’s always been there. To me, it’s been a gradual progression, but a true fan shouldn’t be shocked.

Were you baptized as a kid?
Yea, of course.

Even with your brother on a different path in life, I know you still get asked every day about the next Clipse album.
I hear it all the time. When it comes… if it comes… it’s going to be right, and that takes time. I’m not going to rush the process. That brand means too much. We aren’t going to compromise anything.

Here’s a story to just let you know how serious it is. The 10th anniversary of Lord Willin' was last year and we had 20 shows lined up in every major market. $20,000 a show, The Clipse haven’t had an album out since 2009. Right before it was time to head out, Malice told me he didn’t want to do it. It was like a week or two before. We talking 20 days tops to make $400,000

How did you feel about that?
I just let it go. This isn’t something I’m ever going to debate with him. Coachella, I asked him to come out and do some records with me. And he was like ‘Man, alright, but which ones?’ And to me for that big of a crowd, records like “Keys Open Doors” must set off life [Laughs], and he chose not to do it, but I don’t worry about it. I just respect it and take it in stride. It’s just where he is right now, and as long as he’s at peace, than I can’t be upset. This is my brother, I would never want him to not be at peace, especially on my account. It’s the music game and I don’t particularly love it. When it comes to his beliefs and morals, I’m not going to say anything. You could just hear it in the music on Til The Casket Drops, “Life Changes.” I wasn’t shocked or anything at all. The strength that he has is what’s shocking.

So, I know your solo album is pretty much done.
The album is done. Right now, I’ve just been making revisions here and there. It’s just a production thing. Some of the records haven’t been through Kanye’s full process. That’s what I’m waiting on. He actually took my hard drive and all my files.

At any point did you think about moving your date up to June 18 to drop with Kanye?.
I wasn’t really worried about him and June 18. I look at it like Ye does exactly what he wants to do in regards to his music. He’s taking major risks on this album. You can hear the brashness. It’s aimed on a worldly, political, cooperate level. But my album by far is the best hip-hop album of the year.

That’s a big statement.
Nah, it’s a real statement. I posed to Kanye ‘If you don’t make the date, we should definitely drop on the same date.’ And his campaign being ‘I’m only competing with myself. I’ve reincarnated myself for the 7th time, Yeezus.’ Everybody can’t be a part of this conversation. I was recording my album at the same time in Paris so I felt what he was doing the whole time.

What do you say to the critics that want to hear you rap about different subject matter on this album from what we’re accustomed to from Pusha T?
I think that’s what the title of my album is about. By now, you should know what you’re getting with Pusha T. I’ve been in this game since 2002, and my name says it all. You know I’m only moved by a certain style of rap. Not that many other styles move me. You have to really be a rapper’s rapper for me to like it.

There was a time when you couldn’t shake the coke rap title, and then you kind of embraced it.
Coke rap is such a pigeon-holy title. If that’s all you take it for, you’ll forget the parallels in the verses to regular life. Now, Trap rap is the biggest thing going on. With the Clipse gave you all the elements and fundamentals of hip-hop with the theme that everyone is embracing now. We did it much better.

The Re-Up Gang mixtapes are going down in history, man. I still listen to them in my car, and the Hell Hath No Fury album. I tell people all the time that I’ll never make another album like that one again. Never! If I can make another Hell HathNo Fury, I would be going to jail. I don’t even want to be able to that. If I was able to write like that again, I’d have to be in the space where I’m going away… I’m guaranteed to be out of here. That’s one of the best albums ever made to me.

Better than My Name Is My Name?
Listen, let’s get off all this street shit and everything else. A great rapper has a curated album by one of the greatest producers right now, period. My album is one of the greatest… I put my album up against anybody’s.

From any time period?
Well, I’m such a fan, so my album isn’t as good as Life After Death. Purple Tape, I ain’t got one of those either. This ain’t Reasonable Doubt yet, but I’m a get one of those. I’m getting there. But I took a lot of those influences from all those great albums. I was the best student that I could be to give you the best album with My Name Is My Name. This album is everything that is missing in rap right now. And, I actually think rap is good right now. It’s better than it’s been in a while.


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Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!"

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills.

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter !

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

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Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth.

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

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KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Arrested For Murder Of George Floyd

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.

“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.

“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Chauvin's arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020

“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”

Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.

Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”

The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.

Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters

— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020

Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd's last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.

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