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Meet Pusha T’s Real “King Push” Producer Sebastian Sartor


“You know when time just blends in together and you have no fucking clue what happened?” Sartor says in his British accent that he picked up in his six years living in London. “I don’t even know, time just disappeared. And everything just blended in with moving [to New York], and it was just like, whoa, what the fuck?”

After sending off the stems, Sartor was met with radio silence, not knowing what would happen to his beat, how Kanye’s team might chop it up or whether it would ever be released anywhere at all. And then Pusha gave his interview with Vibe. “When I turned in [the album] in June, [Kanye] gave me probably two or three new beats,” said Push at the time. “One of those beats was from Joaquin Phoenix, and it’s probably gonna be…I want it to be the intro to my album.”

“I did hear that, but I didn’t know what they did with it,” Sartor says; it was the first confirmation he had that his music might be surfacing. “Maybe they took, like, the intro, maybe they took a sound, a small part… I didn’t even know how someone could rap over it. [Laughs] And then, it was amazing.”

It turns out Kanye barely touched the track, if at all—the full instrumental Sartor provided them became the full backbone of “King Push.” But Sartor still didn’t know that—he was denied from Pusha’s listening party in New York, having been left off the list, and couldn’t hear the album. “The first time I heard it was when I didn’t get to go to the listening party,” he says. “I wanted in so bad that I think I sat on Instagram and just typed in hashtags that it could have been. And somebody had taken a video of a 10-second snippet of the end of the track. I was like, ‘It’s on the fucking record!'”

He still hadn’t heard the whole track or found out what Kanye had done to it. That didn’t come until Push dropped the music video for “King Push,” another unexpected move that put the song, and it’s eerie, dark tones, back in the headlines. “The first time I heard the full thing was the music video, and I think I listened to it like 100 times on repeat,” he says. “It was so dope, I couldn’t even…I think I was just joyous. It was even better than getting the e-mail.”

*     *     *

Sartor joins the likes of Wondagurl—who placed a beat on Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail—and Young Chop—whose beat was flipped by Kanye for his “I Don’t Like” remix which launched Chief Keef into the stratosphere—among young producers who have been mined for high-profile beats. But this isn’t his endgame: the day the album came out, Sartor was in the studio by 6 a.m., working on what’s next. “I bought the album on iTunes, but I wanted a physical thing,” he says, explaining his trip to Best Buy. “I wanted to touch the album. [Laughs] I don’t believe it until I see it. It’s been cool to see such a response, and I hope you guys get to hear more of my stuff.”

The Italian-born, New York City-raised Sartor moved back to NYC three months ago, and since then he’s been working with rappers he’s met around the city, as well as friends he hung with in London when he was first starting out behind the boards. His initial hesitation about doing interviews—he hasn’t spoken to many people about the track, preferring to let the music speak for itself—has given way to a desire for more work, more beats, more tracks. “[I’m] just trying to get my name out. I’m hungry man, I wanna make music,” he says. “I’ve been in the studio working and trying to make things happen. I want to make beats that I’m always proud about. That could be maybe timeless one day.”

He’s been working all day, but since the album has finally come out, he allows himself a moment to reflect on the track. “It’s next level, man,” he says, smiling again. “It’s nuts.” —Dan Rys (@danrys)

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