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Exclusive Album Stream: Pusha T Goes Solo With 'Fear of God II'

Clipse rapper says he and his brother will collaborate again

November 3, 2011 11:35 AM ET
pusha t
Pusha T, 'Fear of God: Let Us Pray'
Jason Goldwatch

Click to listen to Pusha T's album 'Fear of God II: Let Us Pray'

Pusha T, one half of the acclaimed rap duo Clipse, makes his formal debut as a solo artist this week with Fear of God II: Let Us Pray, his first album recorded for Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label in association with Decon. As the title implies, the set is actually a sequel to Fear of God, a mixtape the rapper released earlier this year. We caught up with the emcee to discuss the record – which you can stream above – and the future of Clipse.

Fear of God 2 builds pretty naturally on the mixtape you put out earlier this year. What was your goal for the follow-up?
My goal was actually just to put the body of work together. The new record was going to be just things that I leaked to the Internet, but I figured that the fans should get it in a better way, rather than just having to download the whole record from off of HulkShare. This is just street music. It’s for the street, it’s for the fans. As soon as the records are done, I usually just give them out anyway, to keep the energy and the intensity going.

My full-length album is coming out at the top of the year and up until then, I feel like people should just hear music, hear me, hear me with my peers, people that they respect. And it’s my solo project. In the Clipse, we were always snobby in regards to working with other people. People never really heard us with a slew of other features. I took this opportunity to give the fans the opportunity to hear me with some of their favorite artists, favorite rappers and new guys coming up, and people who have a presence in different genres of hip-hop. 

You've got a long list of collaborations, including Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and Juicy J. Is there one that stands out to you?
I really like the "Body Work" record. People don’t always understand that I’ve always been so pro lyric-driven hip-hop - they would be surprised at some of the people that I’m fans of. People just don’t guess that Pusha is a Juicy J fan. People don’t guess that.

It’s not necessarily expected.
It’s not. I feel like Juicy J's cadence is one of the most remarkable things in rap, and the way he rides the beat. The aggression and the simplicity of what he does is, like, you know he means it. You can’t just say half of this shit that he says and in that way. He really means it. He really feels it. This is like feelin’ music. I’m just really happy that it came out the way that it did.

One of the standouts is definitely "Amen" with Kanye and Jeezy. How did that track come together?
It was something that Jeezy had. These collaborations had a lot to do with fans and fan demand. Everybody, for some reason, wants to hear Clipse and Jeezy. Everyone wants to hear Clipse and Rick Ross. Who knows why? I’m gonna say I don’t know, actually. [laughs] But everybody wants to hear the spin on it, man. This project was so much about me giving people what they wanted and showing people the alliances and the affiliations. I’ve never been a solo artist, so I sort of felt like I needed to be ushered into the solo realm of music and compete with the best. These guys really came through for me.

Any idea when your full-length will come out next year? Are you done with it?
No, no, I’m not done with it. I’m definitely not done with it, but what we’re dropping first is the G.O.O.D. Music compilation. I’ve done at least seven songs for my full-length, and for the G.O.O.D. Music record, I’ve done four. I don’t know what’s going to land and what’s not going to make it on, I’ve done four thus far, and I’m pretty sure I’m doing more. Fear of God Part I and Fear of God Part II, is just the prelude.

You’ve also talked pretty recently about the likelihood of doing another Clipse album with your brother, Malice. Is that something that you two have talked about?
For sure. People don’t even understand the reason that I’m not doing a Clipse album right now is because Malice said he wanted to write a book. That’s really what happened, he’s like 'No, I’m not doing a record right now I’m about to write this book, don’t you want to do your solo project? Well, go.'  So I was like 'Oh, okay, all right. I’ll holler at you.'

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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