Rap’s John Grisham, El Presidenté, Blowbama — these are just a few of the titles that Virginia rapper Pusha T appoints to himself on his latest single, “H.G.T.V.” Those last two, in particular, feel like a coronation years in the making for the 39 year-old MC, who just last year became president of Kanye West’s label, G.O.O.D. Music. Braggadocio and cocaine puns have anchored Push’s brand of rags-to-riches lyricism since at least the early 2000s, when he first garnered widespread attention as one half of Clipse — the now defunct rap duo formed with his older brother. But unlike his contemporaries from that era, the rapper born Terrence Thornton has only gotten better with age, showing time and again his ability to work with this week’s in-demand producers while making music that is distinctly his own.
“H.G.T.V.” continues that hot streak, condensing plenty of quotable Push-isms into a single verse over menacing, bass-heavy production. Last year’s Darkest Before Dawn featured some of the weirdest beats on a major label rap album in recent memory, with known quantities like Timbaland mining for left-field samples to operate in Push’s gleefully menacing orbit. The ubiquitous Mike WiLL Made-It follows suit here, laying down sparse, clattering drums (à la “Numbers on the Board”) before getting the hell out of the way. Lyrics sharp as ever, Push reasserts his mogul status while leaving just enough bars at the end for some thinly veiled jabs at a certain Canadian (“With a questionable pen, so the feeling ain’t real”). Billed as “H.G.T.V. Freestyle” on Apple Music, the two-minute track suffers a bit from feeling incomplete, but it remains a welcome teaser for those of us awaiting the long-delayed King Push.
Chris Stanton is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].