Pusha T Talks Collaborating with Future for “Pain,” Untitled Debut Album and Ric Flair

You have on an affinity for the wrestler Ric Flair. Was he a childhood hero of yours?

Actually he wasn’t. I was watching wrestling a lot growing up as a child right so, NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) one of the major stops was Norfolk, VA. WWF didn’t really do Norfolk as much as NWA did.  So, I was into the Dusty Rhodes, Road Warriors and the Four Horsemen. I was a Dusty Rhodes fan more. My dad would take me to these matches and he’d be like, “Why you like him?” I would be like, What you mean that’s Dusty Rhodes. My dad would be like, if gonna like somebody you need to like Flair. “Why aren’t you into this [guy]?” So I was like, Aight dad I’m not into him [Rhodes] no more. He’s telling me what to be into and that was it. From there it was Flair, bang. Four Horsemen, bang.

So it started from there.

Flair was a showman. Just comparing him to rap and people in rap, Flair was rocking out Gators like they would. Gators, Rollies, jets-listen he was on it. 

You’re celebrating a couple anniversaries this year. Lord Willin’ turns 10 and Play Cloths turns four years. Do you often keep track of these celebratory moments or does it just hit you when someone else mentions it?

It’s like a rude awakening. A lot of things move so fast in this game and we lose track of time a lot of times. With losing track of times it takes for something like a Lord Willin’ to hit its 10 year anniversary for people to make a big deal out of it for you to even digest that it’s been that long.

You and Malice hopped on Justin Timberlake’s first solo single 10 years ago too, for that “Like I Love You” record produced by The Neptunes.

Yeah for his breakout solo career. You know what’s so funny, I couldn’t get on a mixtape back then but Justin Timberlake put me on his first single. When I had the hardest street record. [Laughs].

Now you’re about to embark on your own solo career.

Yeah, it’s really just about the music now, like seriously. I done been through everything in and outside the rap game, now it’s just about my fans. I want them to be happy. I remember when I, for example, I was really into Nas coming up. I was like man, Illmatic was great but when “If I Ruled the World” came out I was so happy for his success because I felt like the guy that I championed is finally getting his recognition. That’s what I want to be and I hope I’m like that to somebody and I want to achieve it so they could feel like that.

But you’re on the right path.

Thank you man. —Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)