"I've had a good fucking year and it's pretty amazing!" Pusha T, one half of the Neptunes-endorsed rap group The Clipse, sounds relaxed and happy as he prepares to release his new solo project, Fear Of God II: Let Us Pray. Clipse might have become icons of the crack rap movement, but left to his own devices Pusha sounds like he's lightened up a little. Along with his much ballyhooed collaboration with Tyler, The Creator, "Trouble On My Mind," the album sees Pusha trading rhymes with the lofty likes of Rick Ross, Kanye West, 50 Cent and P Diddy. The song "Feeling Myself" also features a joyful hook bragging about "spending money like a rich white girl."
So, with Pusha performing at the House of Blues tonight, we nixed ideas of asking him about the future of the Clipse and instead tapped into his hip-hop hedonist side. He reciprocated with anecdotes about his favorite nights out and most memorable celebrity parties.
You have a song on the album titled "Alone In Vegas." What's your most memorable night in Vegas?
Ah, man, it's the Oscar De La Hoya versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight night. I was there for the fight, then afterwards we went to the club Tao and we just partied. Everyone was there: 50 Cent, Chris Lighty, just a who's who of the music industry. I was signed to [Lighty's] Violator management company at the time. We had a good time.
Did you bet on the fight?
No, I didn't bet.
Do you bet?
Man, I'm just not a good gambler. I do gamble, but I always lose. My attention span is so short it's like the idea of having these chips and just putting down these chips and working it -- I'm like, fuck it, let's just put $500 on and that's when they get me.
On the album, you also brag about being "pissy drunk." When was the last time you drank too much?
That was last week, in Virginia, at a club called Mansion VA. Every time we go there it's a special occasion, bottle after bottle. I'm often on the road during party nights, but I'm home early in the week.
If the Pusha T was a drink, what would be in it?
The Pusha T would definitely be Ciroc and ... actually, I'ma just say Ciroc straight!
Talking about Ciroc, you have P Diddy opening your album with a monologue.
Puffy needs to be on every Pusha album, just talking on a song. That's it. That's his place. His era of hip-hop was probably the best era just for me, that '94, '95 whole little gamut. It was the best time in street music and mixtapes, the Bad Boy era, and he talked over all of my favorite rappers' songs. His ad libs make [Biggie's] "Who Shot Ya?" so haunting. On top of the lyrics, which are just godly, Puffy is screaming and going nuts and I feel like that intensity is missing in music now.
Have you been to many of Puffy's parties?
Yeah, they're star-studded events where the stars get really loose. That's all I'll say.
Ross, man, he got a hell of a following! He's got a mean following right now and the energy he brings is the energy I like in the club. Ross brings the women out -- that particular woman out.
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How would you describe that particular woman?
Fast, and they want cash! [Laughs]
So what's the most lavish celebrity party you've ever been to?
The best is Gilbert Arenas, a basketball player, when he was at the Washington Wizards. He drove his Lamborghini in the club and I was done, it was over! You won forever! T.I. performed. It was at Club Love in D.C. -- the owner was Marc Barnes, who's like a heavy promoter, does a lot of Puffy's shit and goes back to the Howard University days with him. It was a birthday bash. I actually flew to New York to buy a Dolce & Gabanna tux with this stylist named Mike B. He met me, took me to get this tux, and I flew to D.C. the next day. [Laughing] And I can hardly remember anything else!