By Nadeska Alexis with reporting by Rahman Dukes
Pusha T has plenty going on right now, including his work on the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music LP, but his most important project at the moment is surely his official debut album. Although it seemed likely that Pusha would look mainly toward Kanye West for guidance on the album, he also teamed up with The-Dream, who’s helping the Clipse rapper make ‘superhero’ music.
Between the mad genius that is Kanye and the R&B storyteller that is The-Dream, Pusha might’ve just hit the production jackpot.
“I’ve learned so much about song structure from Dream and I’ve learned so much from ‘Ye about finding the most colorful parts of your rhymes, editing it down and making sure, like, all the best parts of the rhyme are right in your face,” he told MTV News during a studio session with Mr. Terius Nash in Atlanta. “I’ve just totally taken this [attitude of] sitting back and absorbing everything they say.”
After just a few sessions with Dream, Pusha said he has learned to accept the creative criticism as a tool to push further. “Sometimes [a track is] wrong. Sometimes it’s over-rapped and [The-Dream] will tell you, ‘Nah, stay right here. Stay within these lines, in these perimeters right here.’ This sh– is school, man; it’s real live school to me.”
What might be school for Pusha, however, is just another spiritual experience for The-Dream, who’s infamous for crafting engrossing narrative across his projects.
“It’s [being] spiritual about it and I think it’s just a timing thing,” The-Dream explained of how he builds the perfect songs. “It has a lot to do with what we want to hear, so it wasn’t [like I wouldn't] allow Pusha to get off on rapping. We just need [him] to be this guy for us right now, because I need that music in my car. I’m R&B, but I grew up on Bankhead and I was riding around with UGK in my car, so I know what that real sh– is. I know how it makes you feel like a superhero.”
“I want to feel like I’m literally beating my chest out the car,” he added. “You look over in my car — I’m mean-mugging you, you mean-mugging me, and I got Pusha in my deck. That’s how I want to feel. And so I was just providing that feeling, I just wanted to capture it in each song. We need [him] to say this because [he's] talented enough to do it.”
Thus far, we know that a few titles on the album will tentatively include “40 Acres” and “Automatic.” But Pusha, who recently dropped the fiery “Exodus 23:1,” is sure that the entire project will be cohesive and, of course, classic. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to make classic material,” he said. “Everybody who’s here is tuned into this project — period. It’s about being cohesive, and cohesive musicality is just not happening right now.”
Since Pusha and The-Dream are hitting it off so well on this album, we asked if we might expect any future collaborations? “Man, I called him about the next album, already,” Pusha said without hesitation.
And to that, The-Dream said with a laugh, “We will grow old together.”