Choosing the perfect instrumental can often be just as tricky and time-consuming for an artist as selecting a title for their album. Choose wisely, and it can take them from a nobody to stardom, but too often, artists let hits slip through their fingers, and Pusha T is a culprit of this.
While artists like Jay-Z get first pick of the bunch (as evidenced by his Fade To Black documentary), every time an artist makes the right call, they have let at least one hit land in the lap of another artist. However, one call made by Pusha T in 2010 ended up being nothing short of tragic for the rapper.
In the summer of 2010, California producer Hit-Boy approached Kanye West with a selection of beats for the rapper. Upon listening to them, West showed his former G.O.O.D Music artist, Pusha T, and highlighted the instrumental for the hit song ‘N*ggas In Paris’, suggesting that the rapper (real name Terrence Thornton) should use it.
Recalling the event, the ‘Diet Coke’ rapper told Sneeze Magazine in 2011, “Ye gave me beats, and that was in the bunch. ‘N*ggas in Paris’ was playful to me, and I was in demonic rap mode. I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t want this right now!’” However, West knew that the backing track had potential. Detailing his reaction, Thornton revealed how Ye told him, “Man, this will be a club smash!” But he didn’t listen.
But with the beat firmly in Kanye’s possession, he knew just what to do with it, and while he was working on his 2011 collaborative album Watch The Throne alongside Jay-Z, he turned what Pusha considered a “playful beat” into an anthem that still gets played in clubs to this day.
‘N*ggas In Paris’ was the fourth single from Watch The Throne, yet it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2023, the single is nine times platinum and has over 372 million views on YouTube. The music video was filmed at Los Angeles’ Staples Centre and directed by Kanye West. Although the track’s success is great for West, it is not so great for Thornton, who allowed the beat to slip through his fingers.
You can listen to the instrumental and watch the music video below.