Pusha T @XOYO London

Probably one of the best underground Rap shows I’ve witnessed. For someone who’s almost always been known to be apart of a group or a collective of individuals, Pusha T stood out on his own tonight. Not only did he captivate the audience with his lyrical dexterity but Pusha commanded everyone’s attention with his electrifying stage presence. Verse after verse, hit after hit, there was never a dull moment. At one point Pusha T singled out a lady in the audience and expressed his admiration towards her for knowing every lyric.

Prior to attending the show, I must admit that I had my fair share of preconceptions; lead role in [yet another] nostalgic drug dealer turn rapper tale -I wondered how Pusha T would begin to captivate the audience. Starting off with Grindin’ before taking us on a journey through his hottest verses. It made me wonder why I had these preconceptions in the first place because the audience were very receptive to his tales riddled with clever street allegory. 

I commend Pusha T’s performance as it has been a long arduous journey of ups and downs to reach this point. Many may see Pusha as a veteran lyricist with moderate levels of success, who was signed to a record label -run by a pair of super producers, who left the label to float around for a while before dropping gem after gem on features -from everyone across the scale between underground and mainstream. Pusha T became your favourite MC’s, favourite MC [to never ‘make it] so it makes me ponder why he didn’t go further with such lyrical and metaphorical wizardry. Sure there could have been a lot of politics involved; loyalty, contractual obligations and loopholes, differences in direction and the acceptance of such differences in the paths one may take. With all this on Pusha’s shoulders it isn’t hard to understand why he puts so much thought and energy into verses, it isn’t hard to understand why he’d often perform a song and break out into an accapella for the final verses; it’s that constant show and prove, it’s hunger, it’s confidence and enlightenment of the audience to the levels of alchemy that Pusha T wields in his mighty pen.

Some of our favourite rappers forget this hunger once their bellies are full from the spoils of success, but if you go back and listen to Terrence’s verses, they are filled with a craving to escape the life before rap. Maybe the hunger expressed is a bi-product of never wanting to live with one eye watching over your shoulder, second guessing associates, constantly reading and observing people and their non verbal gestures. It’s a hunger to be free. However audacious the politics of the streets seem in comparison to the passive methods employed within the industry, one thing’s for sure; Pusha is living the dream, he’s on the cusp of success and proving once and for all that’s he’s a force to be reckoned with.

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