Pusha T’s new nickname is Pusha Tea. I can’t take credit for this. Black Twitter gets all the credit.
Pusha T spilled a cup of piping hot TEA last night when he dropped “The Story of Adidon,” his official, SAVAGE response to Drake’s diss track “Duppy Freestyle.” There is so much gossip in “The Story of Adidon,” it’s more like a full kettle. Pusha Tea tipped over a giant pitcher of scalding, blistering, boiling hot tea in the form of personal information about Aubrey Graham – so much so that this sparring could turn into one of the most legendary hip-hop beefs of all time. Before we get to the details of Pusha’s response, let’s recap.
Lainey and Duana addressed Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle” in this week’s episode of Show Your Work. Drake came at Pusha T for calling him out on his song “Infrared.” On the song, Pusha references Drake’s alleged ghostwriter Quentin Miller. Drake has been accused of using a ghostwriter before, most famously by Meek Mill, and we all know how that went. Drake bodied Meek Mill and turned him into a joke. Until last night, it was the assumption that he had just done to same to Pusha T. “Duppy Freestyle” came less than a full business day after “Infrared” dropped and it was good – good enough that I’m sure Drake was sitting comfortably, sipping champagne no doubt, blissfully unaware of what was coming.
Welp, Pusha T is no Meek Mill. He may not be as recognizable as Drake but lyrically, he’s always been vicious. This isn’t a guy who got famous on his “girl’s tour”. This is Terrence LeVarr Thornton, Grammy nominated, one half of Clipse, creator of Wrath of Caine and My Name Is My Name. As an MC, Pusha T is a legend in his own right so it’s no surprise that he could come with what he did on “The Story of Adidon.” What may be surprising is why he was underestimated. F-ck, I underestimated him. I also wasn’t rooting for him, mainly because of his current ties to Kanye West (that joint Kanye and Drake album is for sure not happening now, right?), and their audacity to use a photo of Whitney Houston’s bathroom littered with drug paraphernalia as the album cover for Pusha’s latest album Daytona. I won’t get into why this album cover enrages me so much to spare you from all-caps yelling but after I saw it, I decided not to listen to Daytona. There wasn’t a single ounce of me that was hoping for a Pusha T win.
The timing of “Duppy Freestyle” was perfect because of the sheer speed of its drop but also because Pusha T was vulnerable. He was already getting sh-t, rightfully, for the Whitney cover. It was an ideal time for Drake to shoot his shot. I don’t think he was expecting to get dunked on this hard in return.
“The Story of Adidon” is a well-researched, straight up investigative personal attack on Drake and the entire good guy, ‘for the culture’ image Drake has created. To start, Pusha T handed Drake his own cover controversy by using an unearthed photo of Drake in blackface as the album artwork. Not only is Drake in blackface, he’s mimicking movements of the minstrel era and wearing “Jim Crow” on his t-shirt. The photographer has allegedly said these photos were Drake’s idea and pushed for them to be taken off of Pusha’s Instagram account. “The Story of Adidon” uses the beat from Jay-Z’s “The Story of OJ” which also invoked minstrel imagery for its music video. “The Story of OJ” is also a commentary on OJ Simpson’s reluctance to embrace his blackness. On “The Story of Adidon,” Pusha T mocks Drake’s biracial identity. I don’t agree with this specific attack –especially since Pusha has aligned himself with Kanye, someone who clearly has issues with his own blackness— but the layers to this diss are masterful:
Confused, always thought you weren’t black enough
Afraid to grow it ‘cause your ‘fro wouldn’t nap enough
It’s harsh on a lot of levels and a low f-cking blow but it’s also one of the tamer jabs Pusha throws on this track. Drake has been open about his insecurities about being biracial before so it’s the easy play. Rap beefs are personal. They are meant to go for the jugular. Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” was personal. Nas’s “Ether” was personal. Tupac’s “Hit Em Up” literally includes the line “I f-cked your wife.” Some of these songs and artists are problematic as hell now but there’s history here. If you’re clutching your pearls over what Pusha T says about Drake, the rap battle isn’t the genre for you. Listen, is this healthy behaviour that contributes to furthering conversations about abolishing toxic masculinity? No. Is it petty as f-ck? Yes. Am I entertained? YES.
The most headline-grabbing thing Pusha says about Drake is that Drake fathered a child with a porn star. I’m sorry, did I bury the lede? It took Pusha T more than 24 hours to respond to Drake but I don’t think that matters now since he had SECRET CHILD in his back pocket. The rumours about Drake being the father of Sophie Brussaux’s baby have been out there for a bit (The Read’s Crissle has BEEN on this) but now they are everywhere.
A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap
We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts
You are hiding a child, let that boy come home
Deadbeat motherf-cka playin’ border patrol
Adonis is your son
And he deserves more than an Adidas press run
Love that baby, respect that girl
Forget she’s a pornstar, let her be your world
The way Pusha says “You are hiding a child” though? I am deceased. If you’ve listened to “Duppy Freestyle,” you know that it now seems like a playground nursery rhyme in comparison. Drake came at Pusha for being played out and Pusha came for every single member of Drake’s family and his integrity as a man. This tweet hilariously sums it up:
drake: u fell off lmao— jaboukie young-white (@jaboukie) May 30, 2018
pusha: You’re perpetuating the cycle of fatherlessness, Aubrey.
Drake has always seemed like an impenetrable target. He’s self-deprecating. He shows vulnerability in his lyrics. He’s open about his past on Degrassi. He’s never claimed to be a drug dealer or someone whose hardness on the streets could be questioned (like Rick Ross for example) but the brilliance in Pusha’s disses is that they are dismantling the image that Drake created. The Drake we know is not a deadbeat dad. He’s not the guy who doesn’t treat a woman, let alone the mother of his child, like she’s his world. He just put out “Nice For What” celebrating female empowerment. Bar by bar, Pusha T demolishes the guy we thought we knew.
I don’t want to give Pusha T too much here. He’s still the guy downplaying Kanye’s dangerous rhetoric, he disrespected my Whitney and some of these lyrics are not only heartless, they expose a history of rap’s use of women as pawns in the power-plays of fragile men.
The burning question tonight. Would rap beef exist if women weren’t the collateral damage? News at 11.— Karlie Hustle (@THEkarliehustle) May 30, 2018
After “Duppy Freestyle,” Lainey wrote that Drake is best at “Boy Sh-t Management.” How does he manage this? We know that Drake likes to respond quickly so a retaliation may be coming soon. But if Drake goes just as personal as Pusha did, is it going to be as effective? People don’t care about Pusha T’s personal life as much as they do about Drake’s. Plus, Drake’s strength is creating hits. Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon” is not a great song. Drake’s best play here is to go the Nicki Minaj route and not even try to come back at Pusha in the same way.
In “The Story of Adidon”, Pusha T promised a “surgical summer” in which he would take time tearing apart Drake bit by bit. So, he’s got more tea to spill. Do you think Drake is scared? He should be. So he needs to play to his strengths. If Drake tries to go toe to toe with Pusha T, I don’t think he’s making it out with his credibility as an MC intact. No matter how this plays out, he’s obviously going to be FINE because he’s Drake but there’s now more pressure on him to keep putting out hits and dominating the summer charts with his upcoming album, Scorpion.
You can listen to “The Story of Adidon” here.