“It’s goin’ down, I’m ye-llin 'Timberrr,'" Ke$ha’s Southern drawl crackled over the phone. I couldn’t help but find it ironic that this was the hotel hold music for Pusha T, an emcee known less for country hip-hop than serpentine sonic beats and venomous vocal punch lines.
In 1992, Pusha T and his brother, No Malice, formed Clipse with the help of fellow Virginian Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes, producing four full-length albums. The duo's 2006 Hell Hath No Fury
is nothing short of a modern classic. Yet following the release of Til the Casket Drops
, the brothers announced a hiatus in 2010 in order to more fully pursue solo projects. A year later, Pusha T joined the proverbial 1996 Chicago Bulls of hip-hop: Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music.
Last year was perhaps one of Pusha T’s most ambitious; in between performing at Coachella and dropping his smash solo debut My Name is My Name
, he collaborated with OC pal Marcelo Burlon
for his own spin on Marcelo’s County of Milan T-shirt line. Limiting the two shirt styles to 500 pieces each, the super-exclusive collaboration left us wanting way, way more. Fortunately, Pusha T and Marcelo are back with a full blown collection of T-shirts, bandanas, iPhone cases, and shoelaces, sold exclusively as of today in OC stores in New York and Los Angeles. The County of Pusha capsule will also be sold on Pusha T's spring tour
through North America and Europe.
So after a brief hoedown, I caught up with Pusha T before his Montreal show last week to talk teaming up with Marcelo, his teenage style icons, and the dopest pieces in his dog’s closet.
Shop OCNY and OCLA for the collection!
Emily Manning: This collaboration is by no means your first foray into fashion: even before working with Marcelo on a smaller T-shirt drop this summer, you launched your own line, Play Cloths, which just celebrated its five-year anniversary. How do you approach these creative projects and what makes this collaboration with Marcelo different from your efforts in the past?
Pusha T: I would say that I try to approach every project with the true consumer in mind. I just want it to be fresh; I want it to be wearable and timeless. Even in doing this with Marcelo, we kept using the term “merch” and it was sort of bothersome to me. "Merch" just has a stigma to it that sort of sounds like it’s for a specific moment in time: you wear it, and that’s it. And I expressed to Marcelo, “Listen, I want it to be forever. I want to put it on every day after my tour.” And as we spoke about it, he was like, “You know what, that is the goal.” Then we came up with the idea of Opening Ceremony just to stamp the idea even further that these are real pieces the consumer needs to have.
“Numbers on the BoarDS” features the line “Givenchy fittin’ like it’s gym clothes.” What were you actually wearing when you were 13? Who was your teenage style icon?
When I was a teenager it was so all about Ralph Lauren and all the little sub-genres he had...
I think Polo Ralph Lauren 1992 was a big one...
Yeah! And like the Snow Beach
stuff. There was just so much going on with the line at that time, and even in the hood at that time... I was in Virginia and we would hear these stories of the Lo-Lifes [an 80s NYC gang
that only wore Ralph Lauren] and we would mimic these things. And it being a college town, we would get the guys who come from New York and other different places that would wear it from head to toe. It became a thing where you just had to have not only the clothes but the towels and the basketball and the goggles and everything else. As a teenager that was our biggest thing to do—
have exclusive Ralph Lauren pieces.
Judging by his Instagram, @reupgangcj, your dog is doing it far bigger than most humans I know, from his Givenchy birds of paradise prints to his doggy style Pyrex T-shirt. What’s the dopest thing in both your and CJ’s closets at the moment?
Aw, man! CJ definitely has a few new Marcelo T-shirts actually. And in my closet, I have this Lanvin overcoat that I’m totally fascinated with right now. It’s for the winter and it’s fresh; it’s like a long overcoat that I’m extremely happy with.
I read that you were listening to a lot of stuff made between 1994 and 1999 while working on My Name is My Name. What are some of your favorite albums? Has anything dropped in the last year you’ve loved? Anything coming out this year you’re excited about?
My favorite albums are definitely Reasonable Doubt
, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
, and Life After Death.
I feel like in the Clipse discography, Hell Hath No Fury
is definitely one of the classic albums of our time. And in the past year, there’s been so much great music out there. I love the Kendrick Lamar album. And looking from the outside, there's a lot of underground club records from the South that I'm into. A lot of the Chicago wave stuff was incredible as well. I feel like My Name is My Name
was the best album of the year, can’t leave that out!
Absolutely not! From Tupac walking the 1996 Versace show to Missy’s inflatable trash bag in “The Rain” video to Killa Cam’s head-to-toe pink mink with the matching Rover, there's been many great moments in hip-hop fashion history. What in your opinion has been the greatest?
I would have to say that the greatest moment in hip-hop fashion would have to be the Dapper Dan era of Eric B. and Rakim
, or street legends like Rich Porter
. Those iconic shots of the Rich Porters, the Alpos, the Eric B. and Rakim album covers with the knock-off MCM—
I feel like that era was so, so important to hip-hop. Just with it being so geared toward high-end, and someone like Dapper Dan really making his own high-end, the streets just gravitated towards it. I feel like it made a huge impact on hip-hop and our lust for luxury.