Pusha T on Why 'DAYTONA' Is 'Rap Album of the Year,' His Run as G.O.O.D. Music's President & Kanye's Return
In June, G.O.O.D. Music rocked the hip-hop industry with their unconventional rollout and released five albums in the same number of weeks with Kanye West’s ye and Pusha T’s DAYTONA leading the charge. Not only did West lunge his way into the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 with a staggering 208,000 equivalent album units, but his G.O.O.D. Music cohort, Pusha T, also sealed a top five project as well.
With West handling the production of all five albums, including Nas’ Nasir and his Kid Cudi-assisted endeavor Kids See Ghosts, G.O.O.D. Music re-emerged as one of the premier labels in hip-hop with their audacious attempt against conformity. “Nothing's gonna sway us. Nothing is gonna make us conform,” says G.O.O.D. Music president Pusha T regarding his label’s off-the-wall rollout.
With his eyes now set on the label’s burgeoning acts such as Sheck Wes -- who successfully notched his first Billboard Hot 100 record in “Mo Bamba” earlier this month -- Valee and 070 Shake, Pusha T’s blueprint to building a perennial powerhouse in G.O.O.D. definitely seems within reach. But, until then, the label's veterans will continue to anchor the ship, as Kanye will be releasing his second solo project this year with Yandhi on Saturday. As for Neighborhood Push, he'll return to the road next month for the second leg of his DAYTONA Tour.
Months after the release of his magnum opus, Pusha T spoke to Billboard about his biggest achievement as G.O.O.D.’s president this year, the label’s rising acts and Kanye’s best moment of 2018.
Talk about your biggest achievement this year as an artist versus your biggest achievement as the president of G.O.O.D.
I’d have to say my biggest achievement for this year would have to be the creation of DAYTONA. I truly stand behind that being the rap album of the year. It’s the rap album that I’ve always wanted to make. It’s a rap album that some of the greats I’ve looked up to made at this point of their career. At this point in my career, I feel like I’ve made an album with first album energy. The same amount of rawness. Just that same energy. To me, DAYTONA, that’s just a milestone that I really ran over, man.
On the president side, it was just the actual overseeing of the whole five album, seven-track Wyoming experience. I was one of the ones who never left. I went starting on my album and then we found Teyana’s album and found the vision for Ye’s and Cudi’s. At times, it was just watching and being there to see Ye get back into his production chops and finding his sound. Being a part of that whole process and watching it materialize into the hottest moment in music this summer. I don’t know what was more eventful. I feel like we recreated the energy of G.O.O.D. Friday’s.
When we did G.O.O.D. Friday’s the first time, everyone started doing their own different versions of that. We had to sort of sit back and figure out what was going to be the moment. We were sort of figuring out as we went along as well. The seven-track album, people were skeptical of that but they heard DAYTONA and it set the tone like, “This is enough.” It’s totally different and going against the grain, as G.O.O.D. Music would do versus everybody putting out 20-track albums and playing the streaming game.
It was a time for G.O.O.D. Music as a whole to stand out and say, “We’re always gonna be what we’re on. Nothing is gonna sway us. Nothing is gonna make us conform. This is what we think is hot and this is what we think is dope and we’re gonna introduce it to y’all.”
Since you became president, what has improved under your reign?
Under my presidency, we have identified the sweet spot in particular albums or songs or whatever is hot, and we capitalized on it. Whether it was finding the “Panda” and also turning that into a sweet spot on the Pablo album. Also, just being able to bring Cudi back into the fold and getting the Teyana record out that people have been waiting for so long. Under my presidency, I feel like we’ve been way more competitive than we’ve been. When I say competitive, I mean with sonics. I feel like now, we have to compare the sound and sonics to everything else that’s going on in the world and you do get to see that there’s a difference.
You guys made splashy moves by signing Sheck, Valee and 070. Talk about adding these young acts to the label and what we can expect from them.
I feel like we really honed in on what those cult followings and pockets of people who love 070 Shake, and who love Sheck Wes and those kids who love Valee. We found and heard those pockets of people early. With that being said, we capitalized on acquiring them and bringing them into the fold. Those kids are the energy to me. They’re the new perspectives, new flows and new energy. It’s all been a plus. Everyone that I just named is definitely an asset.
What would you say is Ye’s biggest accomplishment or achievement this year with G.O.O.D.?
Listen, I watched him do 35 tracks, so we were talking. I don’t know. People took that seven number for granted, but it was a lot. It was really a lot, like super tedious. Hours of finding interesting chops and loops and things like that. He spearheaded everything. I thought it was phenomenal. You gotta remember that this started off as therapy. We were like, “Let’s go work on an album, man. We’re just gonna go knock this out.” That turned into, “Wait, this is would be good for Teyana” and “I may even want to put out and album.” Just watching him discover all those sounds and actually make the music, it was a lot, man.
You guys had the whole G.O.O.D. Fridays movement and then the five-week rollout. What comes next? How do you top that?
I don’t know. The end of the month, he wants to go in and make more music. I’m gonna try to just focus on making the music and maybe this time I’m gonna try to be a little more meticulous about the rollout. A little bit more calculated. I feel like we let people into the whole inner workings. You guys rolled this out with us. When we didn’t have the hard work and it’s the day before, you guys really went through that with us. Next time, maybe we should keep a little more under wraps.