Pusha T occupies a unique spot in hip-hop. He's a twenty-year veteran with access to the swankiest production but very little of the nagging pressure to surf mainstream trends that runs his peers ragged. He wrestled the major label rap machine and won, and his scathing sneer has menaced a decade of hip-hop top dogs, from Lil Wayne to Drake. He's the rare instance of a rap talent sharpening over time; few who made their first recordings in the late '90s, as he did as one half of the Clipse, can be argued to possess a firmer grasp on their voice today than in their youth. Since jumping to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music after the Clipse began a now-permanent hiatus, Pusha T has zeroed in on a mercenary style both weathered and totally disrespectful; he's seen whole labels, crews, and organizations dissolve, and he's happy to tell you how yours will come apart on you if you're not careful.
A popular rapper with a disdain for the machinery of hip-hop fame is a dangerous assassin, and Pusha spends a good piece of his sophomore studio album King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude pulling back the curtain on rap stardom to reveal it for smoke and mirrors. "M.F.T.R." razzes rappers who'd "rather be more famous than rich," and "Crutches, Crosses, Caskets" shames a platinum rapper whose "momma lives in squalor," before smirking that Push's own mother is "in the Bahamas for the month/ She probably sittin' in her pajamas, having lunch." In a year where a multi-platform media mogul like 50 Cent declared bankruptcy, and Drake and Lil Wayne grumble publicly about Cash Money not paying up, Push's dart in the Biggie-sampling lead single "Untouchable" about which companies' checks don't bounce is sound business advice as savage quip (or vice versa).