Following the release of his album It’s Almost Dry earlier this year, Virginia rapper and G.O.O.D. Music artist Pusha-T has decided to open up for in-depth interviews with media outlets and reflect on his career, acknowledging all that has brought him to where he is today. In an interview with DJ Bobby Trends on Hot97, the artist recalled all the music he listened to prior to his success and named the five albums that have influenced him the most in his career.
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Pusha-T was one half of the famous rap duo Clipse. His fellow member was his brother, Gene Thornton. Pusha’s real name is Terrence Thornton. With his brother rapping as a duo in their local area, they would rise alongside Virginia Beach natives The Neptunes, frequently featuring on their projects. In 1996, Pharrell Williams would help secure the duo a record deal.
Clipse would continue to rise and, in 2002, would have a breakout hit from their album Lord Willin’. This hit was ‘Grindin’’ and, released in 2002, would land them a place on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 30. However, the song has become iconic due to its stripped-back Neptunes-produced beat.
However, things would go downhill from here as label disputes, and contractual issues started interfering with the amount of music they were allowed to release and the budget behind their music. With their mixtapes doing relatively well but their album still being red-lighted by the label, in 2010, Pusha got a lucky break, as he got signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music label. He featured on Ye’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, on the track ‘Runaway’ and has continued to prosper since then.
As a Virginia native, the state where the Mason-Dizon line divides the north from the south, musically, you get the best of both worlds. However, Pusha T was influenced at an early age by hip hop coming out of New York more than anything. Speaking with Bobby Trends on the five albums that influenced him, Pusha stated, “I will say, the Infamous album by Mobb Deep, ruined my life. Right? I’m gonna say that ruined my life,” he said. “Reasonable Doubt, you know what I’m saying, if anybody else comes in, that’s great, and I welcome them, but that album is one that showed me like, yo, just focus on your base. The Purple Tape. The Purple Tape, Raekwon. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard in my life.”
At only four, Pusha had to reach for one more, and he had to pay homage to the late Biggie Smalls stating, “Life After Death is the best double album that I could never make, in life,” he said. “Like, I just can’t. You might give me six years, I don’t know if I can make a cohesive project [like that].”
The five albums that influenced Pusha T most are:
- Infamous – Mobb Deep
- Reasonable Doubt – Jay-Z
- The Purple Tape – Raekwon
- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx – Raekwon
- Life After Death – The Notorious B.I.G
You can watch the full interview in the video below.