There’s no business like blow business, or whatever the lyrics to that old song say, and in the last two decades, no one rapper has been a more persistent purveyor of supreme powder raps than Pusha-T.
Those who weren’t privy to the Clipse’s unreleased Exclusive Audio Footage album, which was shelved by Elektra Records in 1999 following the release of the sole single “The Funeral,” were more than likely introduced to Blowbama alongside his brother Malice on the seminal single “Grindin'” in May of 2002. While pre-Y2K Push lacked a nuanced savvy and had yet to find his voice, the MC who emerged as Mr. Sniffles on the Clipse’s debut album Lord Willin’ was peddling white lines with a dope boy dexterity that put music fiends on notice.
Push-A-Ton’s product has remained un-stepped on. Throughout three Clipse albums, a handful of Re-Up Gang mixtapes, several solo projects and numerous guest appearances, the Virginia lyricist has been a main supplier of some verses hot enough to heat up a junkie’s dope spoon. Memorable lyrical offerings on Kanye West’s “Runaway” (2010), G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy” (2012) and his own single “Numbers on the Boards” (2013) come to mind. (Spoiler Alert: None of these songs made the following list).
Ziplock P recently bagged up another scene-stealing verse on Freddie Gibbs' “Palmolive,” one of the more talked about highlights on an album that some critics are already hailing one of the best rap projects of the year.
As Brick James continues to raise the bar, XXL
sniffs sifts through all of Pusha T’s masterful verses since 2002 and plucks the most fire lyrical offerings from each calendar year.
If you know, you know.
"Comedy Central," Clipse Featuring Fabolous (Verse 3)2002
No joke, Pusha came out the gate slinging on Clipse's Lord Willin' debut in 2002. So, which one of his verses earned the title of the year's best? "Grindin?" "I'm Not You?" That distinction goes to his fuego contribution to the LW cut "Comedy Central" featuring Fabolous.
“Hot,” Rosco P. Coldchain Featuring Pusha-T and Boo-Bonic (Verse 1)2003
So cold. Push effortlessly floats over this track off The Neptunes’ album The Neptunes Presents…Clones in what may be the most slept-on verse of his career.
“Queen Bitch Freestyle,” Re-Up Gang (Verse 2)2004
During the four-year hiatus between Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath No Fury, Clipse formed Re-Up Gang with Philly's Ab-Liva and Sandman, and released the We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series. Terrence goes for the crown on a freestyle over Lil’ Kim’s “Queen Bitch” beat.
“Play Your Part,” Re-Up Gang (Verse 1)2005
Pusha has proven to be a team player, but an all-star in his own right. Mixtape P puts on another MVP showing on this We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2 gem. Yugghck!
“Keys Open Doors,” Clipse (Verse 1)2006
Pusha-T unlocks the lyrical cheat code on this track off the Clipse sophomore album Hell Hath No Fury. He leaves Earth over an eerie soundscape from the Neptunes.
“Cheers,” DJ Drama Featuring Clipse and Pharrell (Verse 2)2007
A toast is in order for this lyrical showcase put together by King Push on DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz album.
“20K Money Making Brothers on the Corner,” Re-Up Gang (Verse 1)2008
Those Re-Up Gang days were something else. Pusha delivers a brick of raw on this We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 3 banger.
“Footsteps,” Clipse (Verse 1)2009
Terrence puts his foot in this verse off the Clipse’s final album, ‘Til the Casket Drops, and heats up the pot over an organ-driven DJ Khalil instrumental.
“So Appalled,” Kanye West Featuring Pusha-T, Jay-Z and CyHi The Prynce (Verse 3)2010
There was a ridiculous amount of talent on Yeezy’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy posse cut. Here, King Push proves why he deserves to be mentioned with the greats.
“Trouble on My Mind,” Pusha-T Featuring Tyler, The Creator (Verse 1)2011
Push over Neptunes beats is always out of this world. The Virginia rhyme spiller makes easy work of this horn-heavy Fear of God II: Let Us Pray single, also bringing Tyler, The Creator along for the ride.
“New God Flow,” Kanye West Featuring Pusha-T (Verse 1)2012
Pusha got with Kanye in 2010, which seemingly breathed new life into his career, and has been all in ever since. Ziplock P shows off his divine raps on the Yeezy collab from G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer compilation.
“Nosetalgia,” Pusha-T Featuring Kendrick Lamar (Verse 1)2013
Pusha-T and K. Dot—yes, please. The Clipse member absolutely bodies his collab with Kung Fu Kenny with both lyricists dropping exceptional one-rounders.
“Move That Dope,” Future Featuring Pusha-T and Pharrell (Verse 2)2014
Leave it up to Snowplow P to come correct on a single titled “Move That Dope.” Push tips the scales in his favor with a verse that was nominated for Sweet 16 (Best Featured Verse) at the 2014 BET Awards.
“Untouchable,” Pusha-T (Verse 1)2015
B.I.G. would be proud. Pusha-T takes off with a menacing verse on the Notorious B.I.G.-sampled song off King Push: Darkest Before Dawn.
“Drug Dealers Anonymous,” Pusha-T Featuring Jay-Z (Verse 1)2016
Who gets Hov for a throwaway single? Pusha-T. Blowbama goes toe-to-toe with Jigga on what was quietly one of the best hip-hop songs of the year.
“OMG,” Vic Mensa Featuring Pusha-T (Verse 2)2017
The sultan of sniff has released more OMG-worthy moments on wax than a little bit. He proves the tank is still full on this collab with Vic Mensa.
“The Games We Play,” Pusha-T (Verse 3)2018
Pusha-T’s Grammy-nominated Daytona album finds the rapper putting out some of his most additive product yet. He puts on another rap masterclass via the fan-favorite Kanye West-produced “The Games We Play,” stamping the track with the impressive final 16 bars.