Decoding Pusha T's Well-Calculated Diss Track, "The Story Of Adidon"
Pusha T and Drake's beef (or competitive rap) entered a new level after the release of "The Story Of Adidon."
On the diss, Pusha connects the dots on many aspects of Drake's life including his parents' strained relationship, the health of his close friend and producer Noah "40" Shebib and claims the rapper fathered a child with a former adult film star.
On the surface, the track can be seen as gossip, but Pusha T has proven to the game that he has cunning skills in and out of the booth. "The Story Of Adidon" reflects this with the instrumental, bars and rollout telling various "truths" about music's most-adored figures. “Let’s deal in real truths,” Pusha told Vulture before the release of DAYTONA. “My truth was questioned, and I’m gonna deal in truths all summer long.” It's a sentiment to what was over the horizon, which was the album's final song, "Infrared."
If you're just tuning into Pusha's lyrical series, then a binge session is needed. His bars over the years have always been in the spirit of menace and vigor, including "Exodus 23:1," where his beef with Lil Wayne and Drake was at its peak.
Now that we've sat with the track, there are plenty of elements that fell under the radar. Check them out below.
7. The "Artwork"
Push refused to call the image artwork for "The Story of Adidon." Either way, it was hard to ignore.
Photographer David Leyes confirmed that the decision to wear blackface in the photoshoot was Drake's. The cards seemed to fall into place. The image was perfect for the track, as it used JAY-Z's "The Story of O.J.," a crafty take on blackness and humility as the instrumental. The parlay was already in effect.
Drake released a press release of sorts Wednesday (May 30) and tried to give context to the photos.
"This was not from a clothing brand shoot or my music career," he wrote. "This picture is from 2007, a time in my life where I was an actor and I was working on a project that was about young black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and typecast. The photos represented how African Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment."
The rapper says he and his close friend at the time Mazin Elsadig were trying to convey the difficulty black actors face when they're designated to stereotypical roles. "This was to highlight and raise our frustrations with not always getting a fair chance in the industry and to make a point that the struggle for black actors had not changed much," Drake wrote.
From minstrel shows like Amos 'n' Andy to old Disney cartoons, the controversial use of blackface is one of America's favorite past times. While black creatives like Spike Lee and Little Brother have spun it into art in a digestible and informative way, Drizzy's attempt appears to be tasteless and juvenile. It all circles back to Push's "Adidon" track, which points out the rapper's alleged struggles with his blackness.
6. Kanye & Pusha T's Adidas Connection
Baby reveal aside, Push brought to light Drake's upcoming line with Adidas titled, "Adidon." The line was reportedly named after his son with former adult film actress Sophie Brussaux. The information regarding the Adidas deal more than likely came from a reliable source. Kanye and Push both have relationships with the brand so someone at the company may have spilled the beans.
Like journalist and author Touré points out, this has essentially spoiled the rollout of Adidon given its direct connection to the diss track and the image of Drake in blackface.
5. Push Predicted Drake Would Respond To "Infrared"
There seems to be a method to Push's madness as it was clear "Adidon" was already in the chamber. While speaking to The Breakfast Club on the day of DATONA's release, Push expressed he was ready for a rebuttal to "Infrared."
"Of course," he said when asked if he was prepared for "Drake smoke."
"Listen man, it is what is. ['Back to Back'] was a cool thing. It was cool." It also speculated that he already had the diss track prepared since some lyrics from "Infrared" foreshadow "Adidon."
His confidence has also yet to waver since the release of the track. "What is there to talk about?" he said on Big Boy's Neighborhood Thursday (May 31). "It's all true, what's up? I'm not afraid of nothing, nothing. Ain't no skeletons with me. I'm the realest in it, been it in 16 [years] and still giving y'all classics. Not playing no games."
4. Noah "40" Shebib & The History Of The Insensitive Diss
The most nail-biting aspect of "Adidon" was Push's diss towards Drake's longtime friend and producer, Noah "40" Shebib. “OVO 40 hunches over like he’s 80/Tick, tick, tick,” he said. “How much time he got?/That man is sick, sick, sick.”
The reason behind his choice to mock Shebib's multiple sclerosis was in part due to Drake calling out Kanye West on "Duppy Freestyle." Shebib was diagnosed with the disease in 2015 and has gone to raise awareness about it. Push showed no regrets over the line during his talk with Big Boy. "I'm in the mix of a rap battle right now, music like I said, is competitive and it's a sport to me," he said. "My fiancée was mentioned in something I don't involve her in. I see nor hear nothing no more."
While many were shook over the line, it's not the first time brutal raps have been exchanged in rap battles.
JAY-Z brought to light the late Prodigy's sickle cell battle in "Takeover," Ja Rule dragged Eminem's daughter into "Loose Change" and Tupac opened up "Hit 'Em Up" bragging about sleeping with Faith Evans. The blows have always been painful in rap, but in this age of hip-hop, digs like the 40-line are almost nonexistent. One of the few brutal diss tracks heard in the 2010s was Remy Ma's "Shether" record directed at Nicki Minaj.
3. Pusha Dropped The Track On Hot 97–Where Drake's Infamous Blackberry Freestyle Happened
Whether this was done on purpose is up in the air. Drake's issues with Funkmaster Flex goes back to 2009 when Drizzy was clowned for "freestyling" bars from his phone on Hot 97. Flex had plenty to say about the incident in 2016, shortly after the rapper called out the station for instigating the 2015 ghostwriting scandal. "You see, they tellin’ lies on Hot 97, that’s how it goes/I told ’em fire Funk Flex and then I’ll come and do your show,” Drake said in a freestyle at his first show at Madison Square Garden.
Flex responded, claiming Drake's camp urged himself and Cipha Sounds to post the video online to, ironically, prove he writes his own rhymes.
“They help circulate the video. I'm wondering, why would they put that out? You told Zane Lowe you didn't know the video was coming out. You calling a lot of people liars," Flex said. "Okay. Video comes out, everybody jokes on him on it, but everyone says, 'Yo, but he got bars.' ... You wanted people to think that you write your bars. You wanted people to think on that BlackBerry, those were yours, that you wrote that. You wanted to solidify that because you knew this day would come when people might see or question your pen."
Full circle indeed.
2. Clark Kent Warned Us About Pusha T's Pen Game
There's really not much to say here. We're sure no one would've predicted a Pusha T vs. Drake battle in 2018, but the Virginia MC is the perfect candidate given their history. "Do not f**k with Pusha T," Kent said on ItsTheReal's "Waste Of Time" podcast in 2015. "He has at least 30 verses for every single one of you and all of ya'll in his crew. Trust me, I speak to him regularly. Leave him out of all you rapper's mouths. He is dangerous."
1. Push Has More To Say
Push isn't afraid to go for a few more rounds with Drake as he told Big Boy there are plenty of more layers to peel. "We can take this slow, I'm just peeling back the first layer," he said. He also made it clear that "Adidon" was a direct response to the "Duppy Freestyle."
"This whole joint right here was 100 percent responding to those things," he said. "He said, 'You chasing around Kanye.' I've been aligned with the greats my whole career. You talk about me, Pharrell Williams. Chad Hugo, The Neptunes. Records with Kanye. Records with JAY-Z. I've been doing my thing. I've been aligned with the greats my whole career. The only greats I'm chasing are ghosts. Pac and Biggie. Period. I don't have to chase no 'Ye."