There's something about Pusha T's stage presence that incites and almost intimidates the crowd.
Non-black fans weren't as pressed to say the n-word, but they gladly led the crowd to chant "f*** Drake" two songs into his set. Performing on the American Eagle stage at the Governor's Ball Music Festival Saturday (Jun. 2) was last minute for Push, but it came easy as he glided into tracks from his recent album DAYTONA as well as stand out jams like "New God Flow" and "Nosetalgia."
Music festivals are normally cheery and carry a lit vibe, but this was different. The Virginia MC gave off a sinister yet Robin Hood-like aurora as he performed "If You Know You Know" and verses from songs like "Runaway." We were all welcomed into his layer, just waiting to see what he would do next.
It was just a few days ago Push shook the rap table with "The Story of Adidion," the brutally vicious diss track aimed towards Drake's head and pockets. Soon after, the pool of young and old rap heads had mixed reactions as some welcomed the rap beef and others ignorantly tweeted, "Who is Pusha T?"
The act proved to be null and void as many folks recited the lyrics to "Numbers On The Boards," guest spots like "Move That Dope," "Mercy" and the coveted Clipse classic, "Grindin." Pusha T's fan base isn't as niche as one would wonder. They're here and they're in big numbers.
"I am the greatest rapper! I know who's alive," - Pusha T
This proved to be the case as the rapper surgically split his DAYTONA tracks in half. Some jams like "What Would Meek Do" and "The Games We Play" were toyed with in the beginning while the alluring "Santeria" creeped in towards the latter of his set. When "f*** Drake" wasn't being yelled by fans and photographers, Push reminded folks who he was. "I am the greatest rapper! I know who's alive," he said before jumping into "Nosetalgia." Later in the set, he also motioned his arm like an addict to reflect the crowd's urge for him to perform "Adidon."
But the song to close out his set would be "Infrared," his response to Drake's subtle disses on "Two Birds One Stone." His Quentin Miller line and and jabs at Birdman stung louder live. While looking dead into fans eyes, they nervously looked back but held a proud tone reciting the lyrics. He made sure to remind the crowd of a "Surgical Summer," but that was already in mind.
Performing a diss song at a festival isn't new, but Push's timeline is. His chess moves are well thought out and his Gov Ball set is a nice ending to a very hectic week in hip-hop. Those quick to count him out or even accuse him of leaning on drama to promote an album are lazy thoughts.
This isn't a scene, it's an arms race and Pusha T is undoubtably in the lead.