The Pyrrhic Victory of Pusha T

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Pusha T speaks at Harvard University on March 31, 2016 at the Harvard-Yenching Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Since Drake’s entrance into hip-hop, it has always been something suspect about his quick emergence to the forefront of rap. Was it the fact that Drake was from Canada — a place that I don’t really equate with struggle? How far could he have risen from the bottom in a place where everyone gets free medical care? Even the race factor comes into play. Could it be that I didn’t like Drake because he didn’t look black enough and appeared racially ambiguous as opposed to clearly having the characteristics of some of my favorite African-American artists? Or perhaps it was because he transitioned from being on Degrassi: The Next Generation, portraying wheelchair bound Jimmy Brooks.

Discovered late at night, I would watch the show regularly. Before his emergence into mainstream fame, it was difficult for me to take him seriously initially, because of being associated with such a cheesy television show and his first single “Replacement Girl” featuring Trey Songz. It was a good song, but did little to cement his credibility within hip-hop. Overall, it helped cement the perception that Drake was soft — an image he has tried to shake for most of his career. Due to the consistent quality of his music over the years, like many others, I mostly dismissed it and just enjoyed consistent hit songs he continued to roll out and, for the most part, earned him a great deal of respect in hip-hop as an artist. But it was still something that seemed insincere about him.

Drake performs onstage at the 2011 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on November 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California

Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As his career grew, his music became darker and less authentic. On his 2011 album, Take Care, which featured “Headlines,” he raps fantasized lines such as, “You gon’ hype me up and make me catch a body like that.” That’s in comparison to his previous work like his So Far Gone mixtape, which I enjoyed listening to because of the melody and overall authenticity that dealt with more issues that I could relate — such as relationships — as opposed to the dominating theme of the day being trap music. I just chalked up the differing tones as artistic experimentation, and for the most part, Drake being seemingly unbeatable. He was the closest thing hip-hop has had to a superhero since Tupac or Biggie when he confronted serious lyricists like Common Sense on “Stay Schemin’,” with lyrics, “it bothers me when the gods get to actin’ like the broads;” Or when he destroyed respected artist Meek Mill on “Back to Back.” He even avoided altercations with respected artists like Joe Budden and Mickey Factz, who threw vicious diss songs of their own, attacking his character. But because of the marginal fanbase they had in comparison to the Universal backed artist, he cleverly chose not to respond, and these songs were largely forgotten or ignored.

Drake was even given a pass for the allegations of Quentin Miller being his ghostwriter (some of my favorite artists like Nas and Jay-Z have been accused of using ghostwriters). While character-wise, him being a deadbeat dad as Pusha T claims on the “Adidon” diss track could possibly be true, it wouldn’t be the first time in hip-hop that a rapper has hidden a child. Jay-Z was alleged to have a love child with model Shenelle Scott. Now that Pusha T has responded with his diss track, and the photo of Drake in blackface has surfaced, this is completely unacceptable and potentially shows that Aubrey Graham is the biggest fraud in hip-hop since Vanilla Ice.

There’s no acceptable reason for any performer, black or white, to appear in blackface in contemporary society. It’s the equivalent of illiterate porn stars like Misty Stone or Channell Heart appearing in Confederate sex scenes — which ironically Drake has a penchant for, such as his rumored baby mother, former French adult actress, Sophia Brussaux. It is clearly against the best interest of your race when you wear blackface or perform in disrespectful scenes that humiliate your race and disrespect the struggle of your ancestors. In my opinion these actions make you a race traitor. The closest contemporary comparison is Kanye West wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and supporting Donald Trump, which a week ago, I would have described as winning the election of the biggest coon in hip-hop.

However, the half-Jewish rapper has managed to top the Chicago producer with pictures of him surfacing in blackface. The problem is that no self-respecting black man is going to don blackface. It is no logical explanation besides the photo being photoshopped; which, according to Pusha-T, has provided evidence via Twitter, that it’s not. The photo is credited to Canadian photographer David Leyes. Many might make the excuse that Drake wasn’t aware of the offensiveness because of him being from Canada, which, in my opinion, further complicates the issue for me considering Canada’s own historical narrative with slavery. I find it difficult to believe the rapper didn’t know what he was doing when he posed for this photo or why he would feel it was acceptable. But after all, Uncle Tom was from Canada, as well.

One of the main issues that have always bothered me about Drake is that he has never had any social messages in his music. Having benefited from African-American culture, he has rarely used his voice to uplift the African-American community during such a tumultuous time in our culture. Many African-Americans are victims of rampant racial profiling, mass incarceration, and the disparity of justice in the judicial system. Even Rhymefest gave Drake an opportunity on Twitter to step up and help the nonprofit, Donda’s House. When the beef between Kanye West and Pusha-T initially started, Donda’s House was in “not good standing,” according to the Office of Illinois State. Drake, as far as I know, didn’t jump on the opportunity to help the impoverished community that suffers from gun violence. 36 people were shot over Memorial Day weekend alone, notable blogger Zack TV, included. The rapper has done some clever charitable contributions, such as the “God’s Plan” video, which now appears more like a clever PR stunt, when you take into consideration that his own alleged child could have been facing immigration issues. So, the character of the rapper must be called into question. It seems that Drake has fooled a vast majority of the culture, and the nice guy image he’s portrayed, has really been a mask for someone who cares only about about his own glory. But it’s more at the expense of his own child who he planned to reveal until Pusha-T spoiled the announcement; It’s good for the culture. It appears the baby could really be his; and if it is, good for him. I think Pusha-T got in a good punchline with the artwork as Drake’s upcoming LP, Scorpion, scheduled to release in June, approaches. Perhaps we’ll all find out soon enough what Drake’s response is.


With Drake’s explanation of the photos, I will point out that Pusha-T exposing Drake is not the greatest example of being a role model, exactly. He’s pushed the envelope as far as bragging about his former drug dealer past. As Drake calls out in his “Duppy Freestyle” with the line, “but you act like you sold drugs for Escobar in the 80s,” to which Pusha-T’s response could easily be that he sold more drugs than Drake. There was no answer to the scale of either ones’ actual drug dealing prowess, and nowhere near the level that Drake could attest to or the public would willingly believe. Drake has proven over the years that he is an adequate sh*t-talker, but I hope hat he grows from this and is less calculated and ran like a corporation. Drake is the king of hip-hop because he addressed the reason for the blackface; It was for art — not money, or an Illuminati sacrifice. Maybe it’s true that all artists must do something to push the culture in a negative light, but this wasn’t that moment for Drake. He didn’t perpetuate negative stereotypes to succeed, and has done an excellent portrayal of creating the image of a male chauvinist. He has the idea that women are objects in hip-hop with his glorification of strip clubs. But in the blackface photo, he was attempting to help other actors of color with rumors of secret sex cabals, children being sacrificed in the underground Dr. Dre’s newest mega-mansion, and artists like himself, giving money to schools like USC that don’t need it, while HBCUs are in dire financial straits. Even an artist like Nelly is criticized for running a college scholarship program because it’s further indoctrinating black men to assimilate with the colonizers. It’s a lack of identity with your heritage and being brainwashed into thinking that because you are black you can’t do certain things. At the end of the day, both Pusha-T and Drake are images that have been falsely sold as role models, but if you follow either one’s path, it’s a way to hell, but admittedly enviable positions. I’d trade places with one of them in a heartbeat. Drake best alludes to it in the “Duppy Freestyle,” when he says, “Y’all the spitting image of whatever jealousy breeds.”


Drake poses in the press room with his awards during the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Credit: David Becker/Getty Images

Drake’s Jewish connection that has allowed him to prosper and be aligned with the right people, will continue as long as he keeps making the right choices. ABC has room for sitcoms if he wants to start acting again. Many entertainers who have insulted black people and profited off the culture being rewarded, has become more consequential with the firing of Roseanne for her controversial tweet, and many others doing egregious sexual assault acts but not getting called to task until recently such as Harvey Weinstein. Drake is a role model, but more outlandish behavior in this battle could ensue — especially with Quentin Miller stating they collaborated in his freestyle and the reasons he and Drake don’t work together. Depending on Drake’s response, and the Universal backed powerhouse who is worth over $90 million, is on course to be the greatest rapper ever. Watch for Drake’s career to soar more than ever — he’ll probably win an Oscar soon. All the greats have question marks; From Richard Pryor performing homosexual acts to get further up in the entertainment industry, or the molestation rumors that dogged Michael Jackson, and even Drake’s rumors of his homosexuality that have persisted throughout his career. While I have no judgement either way, I believe that some of the rumors could be jealousy, and Drake, by making the right choices in life, has created the success he has experienced thus far. It’s a pyrrhic victory because Pusha T won only because of the lack of context. Plus, both have shown different chinks in each others’ character with the separate diss songs. Drake isn’t a complete sell-out to the black community, and has helped progress communities, but is tied to a corporate, white power structure that has been designed to oppress us and some people just show it more blatantly than others — like Kanye West or Steve Harvey. Others try to disguise it but are pretty much doing the same thing while some may actually care about their communities and aren’t completely heartless; Even if they are doing the charitable work because it’s a Masonic ritual that will bring them more opportunities.

Pusha T performs during annual Governors Ball Music Festival in Randalls Island in New York on June 2, 2018

Credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

So while Drake’s act isn’t as horrendous, there are far more artists who have done things to get further ahead that have done way worse; Charlie Sheen comes to mind. Even Rihanna said recently that she is on Drake’s side in this matter and “tired of people trying to bring him down” on Twitter. She’s completely correct; People are jealous of Drake because he is the best rapper right now. When I initially saw the photo, I thought he was doing it for money or some non-altruistic reason. But because he was doing it to create awareness for the difficulty black actors face. He is a hero. In my opinion, if he was doing it for money, that’s a wh*re, and I have no judgement whatsoever in him getting a semi-adult actress pregnant. Donald Trump became President and was having sex with Stormy Daniels. We can’t hold Drake to a higher standard because he impregnated an urban model and was previously linked to Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. Pusha T blowing the surprise of his Adidas press run will live in hip-hop infamy. I’ll never blame Drake for trying to announce his child in the way he wanted, but Pusha-T really got some good inside information. The photo was out of context and created a good laugh overall! In the grand scheme of things, Pusha T is winning the battle and has some good jokes. He’s managed to interfere with Drake’s branding, but Drake still can ultimately get the last laugh if he responds before the release of his album.

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