I was never an initial fan of the Clipse. Lord Willing is considered a dope rap classic but I think for me the duo of Malice and Pusha-T were unrefined and the production by the Neptunes was a hindrance on their ability to just get into the verses and rap. I mean I thought that "Gringing" was one of the more annoying beats ever created. It might have been the change on the hook but I really hated this.
In the years since, styles have changed and the skills for Pusha have developed a bit. I loved the last Clipse album and his verses especially stood out as particularly poignant in their depictions of hustling along with the luxury lifestyle. Not to say this can't get old or boring, see Rick Ross as someone who does it so often that it gets tiresome, albeit well. Pusha does come across as slightly more realistic and cinematic than some of his contemporaries.
More recently, he has worked on solo projects as he is now signed to Kanye's Good Music imprint. Some of the music has been exceptional, just listen to "New God Flow" More recently, Pusha has seemed to take the rap staple of questioning other artists realness and become more specific, targeting the 'leader' of the newest movement, Young Money/ Cash Money and Lil Wayne. Look everyone knows Wayne isn't a real gangster, yet it has become acceptable to allow him to continue with his claims without question.
That is Exodus 23:1 the first shot fired by Pusha at the camp. He followed that up with a song with Alley Boy called "Favorite Rapper" where they talk about your favorite rapper being a liar. Rumors are that Alley is dissing T.I. throughout the song and is the current recipient of the diss from the song "Addresses" off of the Trouble Man album. Regardless, Jae Millz dropped a decent diss called "Hearing Voices" and it wasn't a bad shot, but it still wasn't Wayne, who did throw some weak shots back. The latest in this salvo is a Pusha-T and Ludacris song called "What They Mad For"
Point blank, 50 Cent laid the ground work for such a way to create a buzz so many years ago it seems when he went after Ja Rule, and while some of my readers insist that 50 had nothing to do with Ja's fall, it would seem too convenient that one ascension and one descent just happened to randomly happen at the same time. This seems to be the way Pusha is going to go about getting some publicity for himself and to a certain extent it is working. However, what he might be underestimating is that the new hip-hop climate does not take kindly to diss records or beef. So while in one of these videos he talks about the great heritage of subliminal disses and the pure act of spitting, the newer generation, of which the entire market of hip-hop music is basically dependent upon for revenue, does not care for it. They are more into Trinidad James and the image an artist can portray. A person being 'real' and calling out someone who fits their mental image of what they would prefer to see as the truth doesn't want to see that happen. In a time when the main thing is to present an image without necessarily becoming that thing, no one wants to expose the poster child for such behavior.
Overall, I think Pusha is putting out some good, if not very original or deep music that fits in with the time, however if you're not under one of the pre-eminent umbrellas right now, Maybach and Young Money, you can only benefit from the attention of their cults of fans by becoming the opposite, the enemy so that everyone has to pay attention to you. This is the same lesson 50 cent taught to Oprah in an interview. We see who was paying attention.