Ahead of slots at Meredith Music Festival and their own headline tour of Australia, Pedestrian caught up with Pusha T. of Virginian duo Clipse to discuss the songwriting differences between Pharrell and Kanye, meeting your idols and the infectious creativity of Good Music.
Pedestrian: How’s you’re day been man?
Pusha T.: Great man what’s up with you?
P: It’s like 10am in Australia at the moment so I just got to work, what have you been up to today?
PT: Oh man I’m just at home, so I’m basically just hanging out and trying to get a few things situated.
P: And how many months of the year are you at home? Is this in Virginia?
PT: Yeah I’m in Virginia right now but I’ve got a very hectic tour schedule right now so I’m back less than half of the year probably.
P: Oh shit, are you used to traveling though? Do you like that process?
PT: I like traveling you know but sometimes it gets a little tiring.
P: Despite the rigors though, where’s Clipse’s favourite place to play?
PT: I’m in love with Paris right now but I’m trying to get in love with Australia.
P: I think you’ll like Australia it’ll be pretty nice weather when you guys come out. What do you like about Paris?
PT: Oh man I just love the whole scenery, the nightlife it’s just really good.
P: So let’s talk about writing. In the realm of hip hop you guys have managed to drop some pretty eclectic material – has the writing process change for you guys since in the 10 years since the first album?
PT: No I don’t think that it’s changed at all. I think the writing process is still what it is. It’s still like very, we’re very strict on ourselves, very hard on ourselves. A lot of times what we try to do is just get as personal as possible.
P: And when you write a song, does it start with the beat or does it start with the lyrics first?
PT: It definitely starts with the beat first.
P: And do you guys know straight away if you’re going to use a beat?
PT: Yeah, you always know straight away if you’re going to use a beat.
P: And what jumps out at you. Like what are the things you look for in production?
PT: Oh man the drums. If the drums are knocking it’s always an easy sell.
P: So what’s the difference between someone like Pharrell giving you a beat and someone like Kanye giving you a beat?
PT: You know what it’s so amazing working with both of those guys. You know they have very different styles of working. And with Pharrell he’s pretty much all the way done when you get it. And Kanye builds like you’ll hear something and you’ll think it’s amazing and when you put your vocals to it and it builds around that even more and that’s why the production is so secretive. So it’s like no stone is left unturned. It’s really good working with both. Being able to see how both work is amazing.
P: And what’s the main difference between Malice and Pusha?
PT: Well I think the dichotomy of Clipse is that Malice comes from a conscious perspective a lot and then I come from a very brash word play perspective. That’s the biggest difference that people tend to notice but I think that’s what makes Clipse great.
P: Two sides, and what kind of rappers were you guys listening to when you were growing up?
PT: You know, Eric B. and Rakim, Public Enemy, Run DMC, just to name a few. Big Daddy Kane too.
P: And have you since gotten to meet those guys?
PT: I’ve met Rakim. Oh yeah I’ve met them all.
P: And what was that like, have you ever been kind of star struck?
PT: Oh man, they all acted that they were fans of my music and they love the lyricism and things like that and that was all I could ask for. I mean that was way more that I could ask for. They didn’t have to know who the fuck I was and I still would have been in awe.
P: What’s been the most surreal moment as far as meeting an idol?
PT: The most surreal moment…the most surreal moment has to have been the tour with Jay-Z in Europe. I mean, opening up for Jay-Z is a crazy awesome thing. That was years ago but it was just awesome.
P: You guys are in a lucky position in that the kind of collaborators you have are the biggest names in the game, what is it about Clipse that draws these people to you?
PT: Oh credibility. There’s no kinks in our armour. Credibility, at the end of the day Clipse is definitely the most credible group out there, with out a doubt no two ways about it. Our life is an open book I mean up til even last year you hear everything, the scandal is there, the drama is there, the fight is there and through that you still get good music. Who could possibly do all this shit?
P: And what’s it been like signing to Good Music. What’s the difference between Good Music and the last label?
PT: You know the good music signing is just an amazing thing because to me it’s that creative jump start that sometimes you need, you know what I’m saying? Like there’s that creative jolt that comes with them, an energy of being in that camp. And it’s a level, another level of perfection, another level of epiphany that if you’re not exposed to you’ll never work that and that’s crazy.
P: And what are the offices like? What is that creative environment like?
PT: That creative environment is honestly one of like, it’s a major collaborative at first and like I mean it’s just like a house of opinions and if you collaborate it and with all of the opinions you cannot go wrong.
P: And tell us what you have coming out in the future, like new album, fashion lines, stuff like that?
PT: Oh man, little Pusha’s solo album. That should be a Good Music album. Collaborative album. There’s also the fashion line, that’s out now, it’s in its 2nd year, it’s amazing. You know just check for everything man, Australia we on our way we love you all.
P: Well Pusha thank you so much for your time.
PT: Thanks man.