Although he's lately been working with a slew of marquee rappers while branding himself as a solo artist, Pusha T says that he's come a long way since his days in Clipse, when he was reluctant to collaborate with anyone.
"Musically, we were snobs," the rapper tells Billboard.com's The Juice of working with his brother Malice and crafting coke-rap anthems like "Grindin'" and "Trill." "Just because I didn't work with people musically doesn't mean those relationships weren't there. But we were snobs all the time in regards to collaborating with people. We didn't care to."
Since reemerging as a solo artist on Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint, the "Runaway" co-star has approached his craft in a different way. "Fear Of God II: Let Us Pray," the rapper's 12-song EP due out Nov. 8, features guest verses from a-listers like Rick Ross and West, as well as handpicked up-and-comers like French Montana and Meek Mill. Tyler, The Creator also appears on the Neptunes-produced track "Trouble On My Mind," where Pusha raps, "Who else could put the hipsters with felons and thugs?"
"The best thing about Tyler to me -- and the whole Odd Future crew -- is that they're doing what they wanna do right now," says Pusha. "I say to myself, 'I get it- I know what you're feeling right now. You don't give a fuck or look at anybody else. You're just in your own creative space, and it works.' "
After releasing the first edition of "Fear Of God" as a free mixtape in March, Pusha T opted to model its follow-up as a more formal, in-stores release. "With today's climate, you gotta keep putting out music. I wanted people to know that I was worth a full album by myself," he says.
The rapper also confirms that he's already worked on a handful of songs for Kanye West's upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation album, which is expected to be released next spring. "I feel like G.O.O.D. Music is one of the best assembled crews of artists out there. There's not many crews out-rapping us," says Pusha. "I did four records (so far) and there are a few more we've discussed... but they haven't been submitted yet, so were gonna wait and see how that turns out. But you know, it's always a movie with Kanye."
Until then, Pusha proclaims that 2011 has been full of solid hip-hop releases: "I went and got ( Wale's) 'Ambiiton' immediately," he says. "I download Ross' shit as soon as it goes on iTunes -- 'I Love My Bitches,' boom, it's in my car. I got Lil Wayne's new album as well." As for his five favorite singles of 2011? Meek Mill's "Ima Boss," Miguel's "Quickie," Common's "Blue Sky," The Throne's "N**gas in Paris," and 2 Chainz's "Spend It" are at the top of his list.