The rapper Pusha T called a “master painter”
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The rapper Pusha T called a "master painter"

Pusha T is a legend in hip-hop and has worked with the best of the best. As one-half of the famous rap duo Clipse, the lyricist (real name Terrence Thornton) rose out of Virginia Beach in the late in the early 2000s.

Since his rise in the 2000s, Thornton has worked with Jay-Z, Rick Ross and even signed with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music in 2004. His 2022 project, It’s Almost Dry, received critical acclaim and his 2018 body of work, Daytona, is regarded as a classic.

However, prior to fame, Pusha (real name Terrence Thornton) looked up to various artists from the East and West Coast. Some of the artists he looked up to include two Brooklyn legends, Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls.

Following the release of his track, ‘Diet Coke’ in 2022, Pusha was asked in an interview who he believes the best “coke” rapper is, to which he responded, “Hov is first because he made Reasonable Doubt and that is the grail of all drug levels, without being all about drugs. It spoke more to the lifestyle,” 

He continued to hail Atlanta emcee Yeezy, stating, “Lyrically, I’m going to say that I’m next. And I’ll say Jeezy is third, because I don’t believe there was a stronger moment in time than Trap or Die.”

Over the years, Thornton has also expressed that, in his opinion, Biggie Smalls is the greatest rapper of all time. He spoke to Rolling Stone in 2015 about why Big was the best and broke down his favourite Biggie verse from ‘Young G’s’ for Pitchfork in 2018.

During his conversation with Rollingstone, the ‘Grindin’ emcee explained, “I believe the Notorious B.I.G. was the greatest rapper who’s ever lived. I remember in ’94, when Ready to Die came out, I was in 11th grade, living in my mother’s house in Virginia. There was a frenzy at my high school, arguing and talking about that album.”

He continued, “We used to spend hours in the car, reciting his raps, trying to figure out what in the hell made him veer off in this way or that way. Some rappers just say a punchline, and it’s like, ‘OK, we get it.’ But Big delved deep. He was a master painter with words. And his flow was just so effortless.”

Thornton concluded, “I mean, I think I’m an awesome writer, but my bars still sound like bars. Big had all these intricacies, all these colours, all these witty things – and it didn’t sound like a rap. It was a conversation.”

You can hear Pusha T speaking about Biggie in the video below.