Words by Jerry L. Barrow & Dylan Green
Pusha T’s name is synonymous with lyrical excellence. The current GOOD Music President has put pressure on plenty of rappers with his effortless ability to mesh menace with majesty. The only thing he knows how to describe better than making money is spending it, and pity the soul who gets in his way from doing either. To celebrate his birthday we’ve compiled 20 of his best guest verses for our latest Spot Rusherz.
20. Birdman, “What Happened To that Boy” (2002)
Around the time that the Clipse debut album Lord Willin was certified Gold, Push appeared alongside his brother to direct an 8MM murder scene for the lead single to their fellow “freshman” Baby’s first solo outing. The ominous, sanguine confessional shows Pusha using bullets as paint brushes: “Another soul lost/ had to make his shirt match my ox-blood-colored Porshe/ Yuugh, the rims match of course/ Blood hit his Timbs, reminded me of them.”
19. Royce 5′ 9″ “Layers” (2016)
Once again taking the pole position, Pusha peels off on the Mr. Porter track folding the contradictions between his actions and his faith into an unrepentant origami. “Tug of war and my mind’s like a clash of the titans/ Thoughts contrast so it’s layers to my writing’/ God fearin’, but I’m Guy Fisher/ Yeah, God hearing, but I’m gone fishin’ ” Fisher was a Harlem heroin dealer who became the first black man to own and operate the Apollo Theater when he bought it in the 70s.
18. N.E.R.D. f/ Kelis “Truth or Dare” (2001)
The stars align whenever Push and Pharrell make music together. Push doesn’t hold back on this cut from N.E.R.D.’s classic album:
Best line: “I ain’t one to care; I ain’t used to fare/Baby you can keep the truth, choose the dare.”
17. Fabolous “Jokes On You” (2007)
Fab has it like that, but Push helped take him to another level on here.
Best line: “See, the figures don’t add up to the claims/You Sam Kinison, you just screamin’ names.”
16. Kanye West, “Mercy” (2012)
On a star-studded ode to opulence, Push still manages to shine by going supernova with his turn of phrase. Just when you think you’ve heard every possible jewelry metaphor possible, King Push strolls out of his walk-in closet with the GDP of a small country on his back. “Check the neck, check the wrist, them heads turning, that’s exorcist/ My Audemars like Mardi Gras, that’s Swiss time and that’s excellence…”
15. Roscoe P. Coldchain “Hot” (2003)
What’s better than Coldchain on a Neptunes beat? Being joined by Pusha T, of course!
Best line: “Flow more sicka/So much shake in the street they measure my weight with Richter.”
14. T.I. “I’ll Show You,” (2010)
There’s a fierce arrogance to Push’s bars that bring out the best in everyone he raps with. T.I. is no exception on this fire track.
Best Line: “I’m over Kane like novacane, I’m Frank Ocean of fishscale.”
13. 2 Chainz, “Hard In The Kitchen” (2011)
Three MCs who don’t run from their pasts catching up in the kitchen to make coke bubble and it has nothing to do with your favorite soft drink.
Best Line: “Started in the kitchen, king of the whippin’/Denzel in Glory, tear drop was missin/Just like the roof is, ridin in that Chris Brown/Two seater deuces; peelin’ like I skipped town.”
12. “Move That Dope Remix,” Future ft Pharrell (2014)
Chances are, if you’re reading this and have clicked play you’re jumping up and down right now.
“Pablo, Versace way before Migos/My dinner plate’s no silverware, all you n*ggas my hijos”
11. “Runaway,” Kanye West (2010)
What will become a quintessential Push track in years to come. Pusha is an inversion of the kind of “douchebag” Kanye West spends the entire song lampooning.
Best Line: “Hoes like vultures, wanna fly in your Freddy loafers/You can’t blame ‘em, they ain’t never seen Versace sofas.”
10. “Lose Your Life” Alchemist f/Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss (2008)
A superstar tag-team of epic proportions like this and you’d better believe Push brings his A-game.
“Avalanche P, pushed powder till you snowed in/No in. Open sesame, unveil the recipe.”
9. “Don’t Like” Remix (2012)
It’s almost as if Kanye let Pusha speak first on this to act as a kevlar defense against Keef for jacking his record. Pusha’s 8 bars were efficiently menacing as it took fakes and frauds to task for emulating the life he actually lives (or lived), punctuating his warnings with some braid-shaking Ric Flair battle cries. “Your shit make believe, rapping ‘bout my own life/ Real names kill things, that’s the shit I won’t write/ Cause my n*ggas still selling dope like they ain’t on their third strikes.”
8.”Go N Get It Remix” Ace Hood, Beanie Siegel, Busta Rhymes, Styles P (2011)
Anyone crazy enough to mention Malcolm X, MLK, and dope in the same verse better bring the best damn bars they’ve got packed away, and Push does.
“Gotta get mine by any means, Malcolm X vs. any King/Marched this bitch with kilo dreams, Tony locked up, let freedom ring.”
7.”Click Clack,” Slim Thug (2005)
Your whole life is a bootleg Truman Show filmed on an iPhone 4s and Pusha is telling you to take your Netflix and no chill ass back to the minor leagues and hire a publicist–or three–before you can get on his level.
“Hood DVDs the closest you get to TV–BE or MT, the world done seen me.”
6. N.E.R.D. “Everyone Nose” Remix (2008)
On this remix to N.E.R.D’s ode to recreational nose candy Pusha is right at home (obviously) serving fiends in double time as they line up to powder their booger shooters. “P to the usha, with a name like that, what you look for?/ More or less like P with a hook up/ Hit me on the bat phone if you want it cooked up.”
5. Joe Budden “Dessert 4 Thought” (2010)
For one of the more somber records to make this list, Pusha tag teams a Marvin Gaye-flavored joint from Joey’s Mood Muzik 4. Coming after Styles P and before Joey, Push doesn’t runaway with the song, but keeps pace before passing the baton. “It’s been a minute so they ask where the fire went/ My kitchen clean but I still got the pilot lit/ Made a fortune out of fumes, my MacGyver shit/ Reality TV before ‘Survivor’ bitch…”
4.“You Need This Music” Remix, Nottz (2012)
On this remix of the title track from Nottz’s 2010 debut, Pusha connects with his Virginia brethren to help him vent with a semi-autobiographical tale of redemption. “Bumps in the road cause flats, no crashing/ Ride till the wheels fall off, keep mashing/ Album didn’t sell, never settle for defeat/ No airplay then we took it to the streets.”
3.“Tick, Tock,” with Raekwon, Joell Ortiz, Danny Brown (2012)
In the grand tradition of High School High and Cradle To The Grave, The Man With the Iron Fist was a so-so flick with a stellar soundtrack. One of the standouts was this cut with Rae, Push, Joell Ortiz and Danny Brown riding a Frank Dukes and S-1 beat. Pusha pens an assassin’s creed so convincing that he gets a whole second verse to collect the heads of the fools he decapitated on the first. This is technically his song, but it’s on RZA’s soundtrack so we’re gonna let it rock.
2.”No Flex Zone” remix Rae Sremmurd f/ Nicki Minaj and Pusha T
We all know Pusha to be a man who possesses a very particular set of skills, so on this unofficial- turned-official remix to Rae Sremmurd’s hit, hearing Pusha channel Liam Neeson from Taken makes all the sense in the world. “Cross the boarder like I lost a daughter/This foreign n*gga, he ain’t know better/Him pick and choose where them bullets fly/I lose the plane on this fool n*gga.“
1.“The Deep End” Wale (2014)
If you’re making a Christmas-themed mixtape that really isn’t, who better to go dashing through the metaphorical snow with than Pusha? Side-stepping your chimney and Nativity scene, Push isn’t quite The Grinch or Santa, just posting up outside your crib in a six-figure sled holding his sack. “The shearling is Prada, the peacoat Chanel/Powder face like a ghost, supreme clientele/The first Noel with a scale/My prints in the snow leave a trail.” Cold world.