VIBE: On “Never Change,” Jay-Z speaks about retaining the hustler’s spirit in spite of his music success. Is it easy to let go of that mentality after you’ve made it in?
Pusha T: In all honesty, that whole hustler mentality is addicting on both ends of the spectrum. Of course for the user, but for the seller as well. There’s a rush, man. In the music game, you have to keep that hustle so you can stay on top. That’s what made him have to own the summer each year.
Jay-Z shocked some on that record when he rapped “I lost 92 bricks, had to fall back.”
That may be something Jay taught me: You can’t always be the superhero. A rapper who’s not intuitive probably would have said, “I sold 92 bricks in three hours and blew it on 50,000 bitches.” But things do happen in a fucked up way sometimes [and] you lose drugs and money. More artists need to realize that the truth makes for amazing music.
Ty Ty actually said that it violated the code of the streets by going into such detail. Do you think he crossed any lines by going into the specifics?
I can’t really tell you whether he crossed the line or not. I don’t know what was so incriminating that he hasn’t been saying his whole career. This is Blueprint Jay-Z, not Reasonable Doubt Jay—he’s far removed. I don’t think he was endangering anyone with what he was saying. People really need to appreciate the artistry and his attention to detail, giving you that type of material that so many people can relate to who are in a worse position.
Could Hov have really made that money back “from the first to the fifth”?
It happens a whole hell of a lot. But when you’re at a level of seeing 92 bricks, you’re not dealing with Johnny up the street—this is probably something that crosses country or national boundaries. The person giving you that is probably sitting back looking at 1,000 bricks or more. So it’s a big deal, but you could come back.
Have you had any experiences like that?
Aw, man. I speak very poignantly through my music; people hear my ups and downs, all the time. I’ve had my share of pitfalls. That’s all I can say. —Steven Horowitz
Be sure to check out VIBE’s August/September 2011 Juice issue, which features the full Blueprint 10th anniversary commemorative package.