The Virginia MC on his debut solo LP, working with Kanye, the controversy behind G.O.O.D. Music's "I Don't Like" remix, and the uncertain future of Clipse. By Ryan Dombal , October 22, 2012 Thanks to his ginned-up appearances on G.O.O.D. Music hits like "Mercy", "New God Flow", and the remix of Chief Keef's "I Don't Like", Pusha-T is more visible right now than at any other time since Clipse broke in with "Grindin'" 10 years ago. "I've never felt more like a rapper in my life," he says with a laugh, calling from his Virginia home a week before embarking on a brief European solo tour.. "I'm doing rapper shit: collaborating with motherfuckers left and right, going to listening sessions. I mean, I have rappers in my phone-- I've never had rappers in my phone." He'll try to parlay that momentum into his debut solo album for Def Jam, which is tentatively due out early next year and set to feature production from No I.D., Swizz Beatz, Rico Beatz, The-Dream, Pharrell, Young Chop, Travi$ Scott, and Kanye West, who's behind the witch-doctor instrumental for first single "Pain".
Pitchfork: As an artist who's been around for a decade, what's your mindset like getting ready to release your first solo record?Pusha-T: All of this is about timing and prepping the public. I feel like when people first heard my sound on G.O.O.D. Music, they were like, "Oh man, you need to drop an album now!" But I treated my progress like a totally new artist: I wanted to be on records, drop a mixtape, do virals, and go on the road for records that don't really have a true body of work to attach themselves to. I want people to delve into what the hell I'm doing, the purity of the rap. I wasn't going to be arrogant, like, "Man, y'all know me!" They don't. I mean, some people do, but a lot don't.
It's funny, my godson is 12, and when [the recent Tyler, the Creator collaboration] "Trouble On My Mind" came out, his friend said to him, "Tyler's with this new dude called Pusha-T-- and he got busy on that record!" It was the awakening of awakenings. Like, I am 10 years strong in this shit! But I am new. That's exactly why you must respect the game and give so much: records, freestyles, collaborations. You have to.
Pitchfork: While it makes perfect sense for a 12-year-old to not be familiar with your work, I'm not sure if other artists would have such a positive outlook if put in that same position. PT: That's where ego comes into play. Like, why would I be frustrated that a 12-year-old doesn't know my dope boy chronicles from 10 years ago? Are you serious? What am I supposed to do, give him my discography and say, "Now you take that, go home, and study!"? He was only two when we first came out! I got a big fucking ego, but it ain't that big.
It ain't my job to be fucking out here, telling people what I've done, or acting like you should know what I've done. I should continue being good, and just let people say, "Wait a minute, Pusha is in my top five right now."
Pitchfork: Hearing your verses on songs like "Mercy" and "New God Flow", it sounds like you're hungrier than you've been in the last couple years. Did something happen to make you re-energize?
PT: No, man. It's about being around the creators that I'm around: Kanye West, fucking Big Sean, Common, numerous producers, from Hit-Boy to Mike Will to fucking Mike Dean, to young upstarts like Travi$ Scott and Young Chop. And there's a certain energy that you have to have to compete with what's going on right now. A lot of people can't do it. But my energy is my win, as well as having substance and rap fundamentals. It's an angst. These statements, like, [from "New God Flow"]: "I believe in a God above me, I'm just the god of everything else." You can't just say that if you don't believe that.
Pitchfork: I'm curious, as far as how the G.O.O.D. Music crew works, do you guys put together a bunch of records and then figure out where things go afterwards? PT: We don't do shit. We all get a skeleton, write verses, and then 'Ye X's motherfuckers out. [laughs] He X's this guy out, edits that guy's shit, and then we come back and there's a song on top of a new beat. That's how it works.
Pitchfork: As a guy with a healthy ego, is it hard to be edited or X'd out. PT: No. I just had to learn what 'Ye was looking for. At the end of the day, you have to remember that this Cruel Summer<http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16994-cruel-summer/> shit-- all this shit-- is his shit. He wants certain performances. Luckily for me, 'Ye likes something that I already do; he's time travelling when it comes to me. He goes, "Man, I want 'Keys Open Doors' <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU-MGQksnZ4> -- please don't be nice." So it's not bothersome to have to re-write for him. But let me tell you what is bothersome: when he edits my verses and something I want to say is taken out. That becomes a problem. But that's my problem, and we have this discussion all the time. It's a give and take. If I want to keep something in the song, he'll say to me, "I can't give you that alley-oop if you have so many bars, it doesn't work that way." Read the rest of the interview here: http://pitchfork.com/features/update/8971-pusha-t/
Geneva: Thank again for agreeing to this interview, How are you doing by the way?
Dirty Diana:I'm doing great thank you for the opportunity and exposure
Geneva: Now not like it's needed by refresh and introduce yourself to the new upcoming fans of your music!
Dirty Diana: My name is Dirty Diana from Bronx New York currently in ATL. I have a mixtape hosted by DJ scream on datpiff and livemixtape im currently working on some major features for my next project and working to get everyone familiar with who I am
Geneva: Your music video for "What Up Doe" your showcasing skills many haven't seen in this industry for awhile. Is that what gives you an edge in this music game?
Dirty Diana:My what up doe video is taking it back to hip hop when all the legends use to tell stories in there videos. It gives me an edge along with many different styles I posses in my music.
Geneva: Now on a deep level being a young female now on the scene, what has been the greatest test for you thus far?
Dirty Diana: When being in a studio with a whole bunch of male mc's and they ask "yo you want to hop on this track" lol not only do you have to show you nice but I have to make sure I body them on the track as well. :.)( shout out to all female rappers going hard )
Geneva: Many artist hate being compared, but how would you describe yourself and what sets you apart?
Dirty Diana: I would describe myself as not trying to be like anyone or copying anyone's style being myself is what makes me real and my lyrical content is what makes people respect me as a down to earth rapper.
Geneva: Your mixtape "Dirty Diana" hosted by DJ Scream (HoodRich) what was your concept if not motivation for this work of musical art?
Dirty Diana: The concept of the Dirty Diana Mixtape was to introduce who's dirty diana to the world, proving not only that I can rap but that I would be ever to stand alone against the many other rappers in this industry
Geneva: I understand you were at this years BET Award show, what was that like for you?
Dirty Diana: It was a great experience it gave me a visual of how my life would be like and made me realize how closer to my dreams I'm getting. I hope next year to be on that stage with all the other talented rappers that was there.
Geneva: Now I'm loving your style, are their any trends you follow or your own trendsetter?
Dirty Diana: Thank you, I consider myself a Trendsetter, I'm currently trying to come up with unique hair styles, clothing, shoes and accessories to help brand my name and continue with the hot trends of today.
Geneva: Collaborations I have got to ask any artist out there you want to mix it up with in the studio?
Dirty Diana: Well I currently have some surprise features on the next project but if I had a choice I would love to work with Jay z, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz and Big Sean.
Geneva: What's the next level what can we look forward to music wise or even appearance wise?
Dirty Diana: You can look forward to a major deal by 2013, movie appearances, new female artist an nomination, and hopefully some major performances coming to a town near you.
Geneva: Thanks again so much for your time, I know I'm a fan but can you please tell soon to be fans where to find you? Also is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Dirty Diana: Thanks again, You can find me on Twitter : whosDirtyDiana Facebook: dirtydianafans Instagram: whosDirtyDiana Reverbnation: whosDirtyDiana YouTube: teamDirtyDiana Mixtape: datpiff.com and livemixtapes.com
BAD25 chronicles the making of Michael Jackson’s iconic, record-breaking Bad album and Michael’s first world tour as a solo artist. With BAD25, Spike Lee examines Michael Jackson’s creative vision for the album that ended up defining an era. Michael's lasting artistic legacy comes to life thanks to rare and never before seen footage and the vivid recollections of Michael's collaborators and confidants, such as Martin Scorsese who directed the 18-minute short film for the single Bad. TIME Magazine called BAD25 “an intimate view of a performer at his peak in the intense splendor of creativity” and the Hollywood Reporter said “restore(s) the reputation of Jackson as a multi-hyphenate musician of peerless discipline, professionalism and perfectionism -- not to mention a pioneering influence in dance and fashion.”
BAD25 joins an incredible body of Spike Lee documentaries including the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning, WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS and its follow up, IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON'T RISE, KOBE DOIN’ WORK and the Academy Award-nominated, 4 LITTLE GIRLS. Lee directed both short films for Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us from the 1996 HIStory album.
The BAD25 documentary aligns with the worldwide release BAD25 (a collaboration of Epic Records, Legacy Recordings and the Estate of Michael Jackson). The deluxe package contains remastered versions of the entire original album, a second disc which includes 13 rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks as well as the first ever DVD from the Bad World Tour – the July 16, 1988 sold-out show at Wembley stadium and the first ever Michael Jackson live CD from the same concert.
“I don't ever think that lyric driven hip-hop go out of style,” says a goaded Pusha T. We’re talking about his latest single, “Pain,” a record that sounds as dark as Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino’s 1997 flick The Devil’s Advocate with Push blanketing his verses with lyrical gems that’ll have many rewinding it back like a DJ. The record, which finds Future crooning a sinister hook, will serve as the first official single of P’s forthcoming Def Jam solo debut and he can't stress that enough. “That’s the biggest thing that I want people to get across,” he explains to XXL, placing strong emphasis on the words first and official over the phone on this rainy Monday afternoon in NYC. “This is the first official single off of my album. This “Pain” record really embodies the whole mood.”
How fitting is it that this record comes as the aforementioned flick, which he previously explained will embody the soundbed of the album, celebrates it’s 15th anniversary this week? The new single arrives as the Virginia lyricist enjoys quite a run this year. His Rico Beats-produced “Exodus 23:1″ sent shockwaves within the blogosphere, an appearance alongside The-Dream for the crooner’s “Dope Bitch” record made for one of this past summer’s dope offerings, “New God Flow” continues to be mentioned in the ‘best rap record ?of the year’ conversations and, well, we can't forget the release of Cruel Summer.