"Keys Open Doors". The legendary rap duo "The Clipse" rapped on their album Hell Hath No Fury. The cocaine metaphor of the selling of drugs opening doors to opportunities that only come with money was clever and been well established as their signature style. Pusha T and Malice, two brothers who were different, even though they both spoke about their drug dealing pasts, but it was their delivery and how they approached each record that couldn't be more different. Malice was the more reflective artists that saw the bad he had done to his community as something he hoped to one day be forgiven for. Pusha T on the other hand, wore his drug dealings past as a medal of honor, and a purple heart both representing his survival as well as his wounds healed from the necessary things that helped him become "King Push".
Anyone who is familiar with Pusha T's music knows that when it comes to skill and lyrical ability, Pusha T is a top emcee. But when it comes to lyrical content it can't be disputed that Pusha T's content is limited. He is a specialists, in basketball there are plenty of pure position players or "specialists". But what you find now with the game going in a different direction is that a specialists doesn't get as much game time as a multi-skilled player. Same thing with hip-hop. Nobody calls Pusha T when they want to put an artist on a record that will talk about building the community, or a club record, or even a hardcore lyrical hip-hop track. But when an artist wants to make a song about crack or selling drugs, it's gotta be King Push/Pusha T. This just happened on the release of Freddie Gibbs song "Palmolive".
This is that heroine flow at it's finest. But the self-proclaimed "King Push" has always been known for his dope metaphors and narcotics references. So much is Pusha T known for his drug lingo that there are sites that have charted this his use of drug references throughout his career.
According to a May 23, 2018 article by Ben Carter, Pusha T's as a lead artist references drugs over 20% of the time. This is staggering statistic seeing that an artist's solo album is supposed to be more personal and culturally relevant. And anyone that really sells work knows that crack don't move like it did in the 80s. I am not saying that Pusha T has to stop rapping about dope. But he should be more evolutionary in his topics and subject matter. Jay-Z is a great example of a braggadocios drug dealer turned family man and successfully "legal" entrepreneur. His album 4:44 is a major turnaround from the Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z. But if you look at the chart below Pusha T's drug references has only increased with time.
Remember also that these statistics were taken before his most recent album "Daytona" that featured a picture of Whitney Houston's bathroom littered with drugs and drug paraphernalia. The album even has a song called "Hard Piano" that features another former ex-dope boy "Rick Ross" that samples "High As Pie - Slice II by Charles Wright & The Watts 103 Rhythm Street Band". The title of the song is a double entendre referencing the hard hitting of the piano keys and the hard white that is a dope boys product. Again this is Pusha T at his best drug metaphors and double entendre's that the most skilled dope boy couldn't weigh up to.
So what's wrong with this prison that Pusha T has built? Nothing and at the same time EVERYTHING. Nothing because it's him maximizing on his strengths and going all in on them. He has a sense of self-awareness that has to be congratulated and I truly believe there is no rapper that can beat his Novocain flow. But everything is wrong with it because it shows no growth. It perpetuates an era that fewer and fewer can relate to. A generation that is becoming more and more aged out of hip-hop and are evolving or already dead. Ain't too many 35 year old and up D-boys. If there is, they choose the wrong business. This is why Pusha T's subject matter has to evolve. Like I stated earlier, there are examples. Jay-Z did. T.I. is becoming the next Malcolm X. Even Jeezy has evolved and talks about his community and uplifting his people. But as stated earlier, Pusha T built this prison. Some may argue he built it to his liking. But Pablo Escabor also built his own prison, and that was the start of his decline. Admittedly it would be dope if he did create a song called "La Catedral".
To sum it up. Pusha T can and will survive in the current climate of hip-hop. But it will never be because of his true talent, it will be because he will be seen as a niche' artist. His fan base will only put on his music when they want to feel like a dope boy. But is that where he wants his music to stop is the question? Like we said the crack era is over. Unless he's gonna start talking about meth his music will be niche' at best. Nostalgic at worst. And he's even made a track called "Nosetalgia" that whose title is a pun on nose+nostalgia, a double entrendre for your sense of smell that is linked to memory. In this case dope boy memories. Whether it be niche' or Nosetalgia, it's no doubt that he's King Push.