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King Push, kingpin, overlord. Over two decades in the game, Pusha T hasn’t strayed much away from coke rap. But goddamn there’s no one who does it better than him.

Blessed with production from The Neptunes early on his career and now Kanye West, Push has been able to focus on nothing else, but writing the hardest, coldest bars in coke rap history.

We’re going to take a look at the 25 greatest Pusha T songs, and see why he is, without doubt, one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Side note: this list doesn’t include guest verses. Pusha’s done enough great verses that it would constitute a whole other article in itself.

25. “King Push (Intro)”

Album: King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Released: December 18, 2015

Produced by: Metro Boomin, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, G Koop

On King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, Push said he wanted to pull out the darkest moments from the producers he was working with. The opening song to the album says it all. Prior to this, the song’s producer, Metro Boomin, was better known for producing singles like “Tuesday” and “Honest.” But when he came into Pusha’s world, he summoned up an eerie, monstrous beat unlike anything he’s done before.

When you working with Timbaland, or you working with Puff, I mean, these guys are known for pop records, club-driven records. But my favorite things from them were the B-cuts Timb mighta did for Jay Z, or Puff orchestrating the Hitmen in regards to “Who Shot Ya” or “My Downfall.” So I think that, personally, I got the darkest moments out of everybody I work with, and I didn’t want to break that up.

The President Speaks: A Conversation with Pusha T | Vice

24. “Doesn’t Matter”

Album: Wrath of Caine

Released: January 28, 2013

Produced by: The Renegades

“Doesn’t Matter” is a track that gets slept on, but in my opinion, it low-key features. some of the coldest Pusha lines ever. Only he can blend references to Illuminati and the JFK assassination with dope boy talk. Plus that French hook grows on you. This song has aged incredibly well.

Since y'all claim I'm Illuminati, tell me why would you try me?
Kennedy, John F., or Bobby
Almost caught Reagan, but they stopped us at the lobby
And that was broad day, so how the fuck you gon' stop me?

23. “Ride Around Shining”

Album: Hell Hath No Fury

Released: November 28, 2006

Produced by: The Neptunes

Pusha and Malice both deliver career-high verses on “Ride Around Shining” backed by the perfect complementary beat by The Neptunes, but it’s Ab-Liva who comes through and steals the show from everybody.

22. “Freedom”

Album: Til the Casket Drops

Released: December 8, 2009

Produced by: Sean C & LV

Til the Casket Drops was the first (and last) Clipse album to not have production fully handled by The Neptunes, and the outcome is unmistakable. It’s the weakest of their three projects by far. But there are some shining moments, most notably on the first track, produced by Sean C & LV

21. “Untouchable”

Album: King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Released: December 18, 2015

Produced by: Timbaland, Milli Beatz

Despite both being from Virginia, 2015 was the first time Pusha T and Timbaland linked up together, and the result is outstanding. With a vicious sample of Biggie’s “Think B.I.G.” looping in the background, Timbo summons up the darkness of “Untouchable” to provide Pusha with the perfect backdrop to snarl and sneer as he does best.

Album: Til the Casket Drops

Released: December 8, 2009

Produced by: The Neptunes

Til the Casket Drops was a big step down from the Clipse’s first two albums – Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath No Fury – and a large part of that has to do with the brothers calling in outside producers for beats. But The Neptunes still featured prominently on the album, especially on this banger of all bangers. “Popular Demand (Popeyes)” is what Pusha called his Hot 97 moment, and what’s more Hot 97 than having Killa Cam show up?

19. “Trouble on My Mind”

Album: Fear of God II: Let Us Pray

Released: July 12, 2011

Produced by: The Neptunes, Left Brain

For a lot of the younger rap fans, this was the first time they had ever heard of Pusha T. And what could be a better intro than trading verses with Tyler, the Creator over a bouncy, eerie Neptunes beat? This track also spawned one of the best music videos of the past decade.

18. “Infrared”

Album: Daytona

Released: May 25, 2018

Produced by: Kanye West

Pusha knew exactly what he was doing with “Infrared.” The beat on here, courtesy of Kanye, is airy and sparse, giving Pusha’s lyrics just the right amount of space to breathe and take centre-stage. Much is made of the Drake disses on this song, but the true highlight is this:

Shit, remember Will Smith won the first Grammy?
And they ain't even recognize Hov until "Annie"
So I don't tap dance for the crackers and sing Mammy
'Cause I'm ’posed to juggle these flows and nose candy

17. “Santeria”

Album: Daytona

Released: May 25, 2018

Produced by: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Pi’erre Bourne

Pusha has a big thing for rapping over the “Bumpy’s Lament” sample. Long before Kanye used it for “Santeria,” the Clipse were rapping over Lil’ Kim’s “Drugs” (which features the same sample) for their classic mixtape track, “Ultimate Flow.”

16. “New God Flow”

Album: Cruel Summer

Released: September 14, 2012

Produced by: Kanye West, Boogz & Tapez, Anthony Kilhoffer

This might be the hardest diss track that doesn’t explicitly name names or point fingers. Pusha is so disrespectful with the bars on “New God Flow”, you can almost feel him spitting at Birdman. The “Mighty Healthy” sample and Ghostface coming on at the end of the track is just the icing on the cake.

15. “Pain”

Album: My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Produced by: Kanye West, No I.D.

Pusha T has an amazing ability to pull other rappers into his world when they collaborate. Before “Pain,” when you heard Future, it was mainly on club or radio hits, you ain’t never heard him as dark and eerie like this.

14. “If You Know You Know”

Album: Daytona

Released: May 25, 2018

Produced by: Kanye West

The perfect set-off track of Daytona. “If You Know You Know” made you realise that you better pay attention to every bar, every note on this album because each moment is going be fleeting but impactful. Kanye cooks up an insane instrumental and Pusha locks into it perfectly.

13. “Exodus 23:1”

Album: N/A

Released: May 29, 2012

Produced by: Rico Beats

The fact that this song isn’t on streaming platforms is a crime. In 2012, at the peak of Cash Money-Young Money’s power, Pusha decides to go at Birdman, Lil Wayne and Drake all by himself, with no backing from his GOOD Music crew. This is also the rawest rap video ever.

12. “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets”

Album: King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Released: December 18, 2015

Produced by: Puff Daddy, Mario Winans, Sean C & LV, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Yung Dev

I can’t even find words to describe this beat, “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets”, but do yourself a favour and watch the making of this track on YouTube. If you ever doubted Puffy’s abilities to pull out the best from his rappers, that video should clear it up. As per usual, Pusha doesn’t let any chance to diss Baby or Wayne pass him by. Nasty bars over a nasty beat.

11. “Virginia”

Album: Lord Willin’

Released: August 20, 2002

Produced by: The Neptunes

Push and Malice came into the game repping their hometown heavy, and “Virginia” is probably the clearest and darkest look at their upbringing. The beat is more sombre than other tracks on the album, and Clipse do their best at sending threats in their thinly-veiled ways.

10. “Grindin'”

Album: Lord Willin’

Released: August 20, 2002

Produced by: The Neptunes

I’m gonna get killed by some Clipse fans for not putting this number one, but I guess that just speaks to the depth of Pusha’s catalogue that “Grindin'” just cracks the top 10. Nothing much you can say about this song that hasn’t already been said, “Grindin” is one of the greatest Clipse songs of all time, as well as one of the Neptunes’ greatest productions of all time.

9. “Momma I’m So Sorry”

Album: Hell Hath No Fury

Released: November 28, 2006

Produced by: The Neptunes

Clipse took the formula they set on Lord Willin’ and doubled down on it for their sophomore album. “Momma I’m So Sorry” is the epitome of that album, when they talk about not fearing the Miami Vice duo and philosophising about “Glocks and keys”.

8. “My God”

Album: Fear of God II: Let Us Pray

Released: November 8, 2011

Produced by: Hit-Boy, Deezy (co.)

A while back, Pusha revealed that he passed on the “Niggas in Paris” beat when Kanye originally offered it to him. Now, you might think that was a mistake, but I don’t think Pusha could have made that beat a worldwide anthem like Kanye and Jay-Z. No, I think something like “My God” (also produced by Hit-Boy) fits Pusha way better – the triumphant, war-like instrumental fitting for his crowning in the rap game.

7. “Nosetalgia”

Album: My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Produced by: Nottz, Kanye West, Twilite Tone

During a time when Kendrick was straight-up bodying every single rapper he was jumping on tracks with, it was Pusha T who held it down. Kendrick’s verse is immaculate (“nines come out with extensions”), but I’ll still argue that Push had the better bars – “Ivan Drago” And that Boogie Down sample as well? Forget about it.

6. “King Push”

Album: My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Produced by: Kanye West, Sartor

There couldn’t have been a better intro track for Pusha’s solo debut than “King Push.” Over a decade since the Clipse made their way into the rap game, Pusha was facing a whole new generation of rappers, most of whom had grown up on his music, and he had to prove that he belonged at the top with them.

5. “Drug Dealers Anonymous”

Album: N/A

Released: May 31, 2016

Produced by: DJ Dahi

Nearly 10 years removed from Pusha and JAY Z fighting over The Neptunes beats, the two rappers linked up over this monster of a song. This is just straight-up, raw, uncut dope hip hop – two epic verses with no hook over a disgusting beat by the always great DJ Dahi.

4. “Lord Willin’ (Intro)”

Album: Lord Willin’

Released: August 20, 2002

Produced by: The Neptunes

Pusha has had a lot of great intro tracks over the years – “King Push” and “If You Know You Know” come to mind – but the intro for Lord Willin’ tops it all. As soon as you heard “Playas we ain’t the same, I’m into ‘caine and guns / Chopard with the fishes, make the face lift numb”, it was all over for any other coke rapper.

3. “Keys Open Doors”

Album: Hell Hath No Fury

Released: November 28, 2006

Produced by: The Neptunes

Pusha said he was channeling the Life After Death version of Biggie when he was working on Hell Hath No Fury and “Keys Open Doors” is probably the best example of that. From his vocal inflections to the metaphors to his self-assured pen-game, this is best Clipse track of all time.

2. “The Games We Play”

Album: Daytona

Released: May 25, 2018

Produced by: Kanye West, Andrew Dawson

Most rappers 20 years into their rap career are retired or dropping subpar albums with no attention. But Pusha has always defied convention. There is something so classic but at the same time fresh about “The Games We Play” – the chopped up soul sample, but the way Pusha’s voice just cuts through it all while flexing about elevator condos and drug dealer Benzes.

That is the best pure hip-hop record of 2018, by far. I don’t know if there’s a better marriage of beats and lyricism. I don’t believe there is. Some great verses this year and everything, but out of the whole, I don’t know if anything was better than that

A Conversation with Pusha-T, the Best Rapper of 2018 | Complex

1. “Numbers on the Boards”

Album: My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Produced by: Don Cannon, Kanye West, 88-Keys

“Numbers on the Boards” is the greatest Pusha T song of all time. The beat, the bars, the Hov sample. It’s a track that only Pusha can rap over and make it sound like this. In an interview about the song, Push said that him and Kanye released it in response to Hov dropping “Open Letter.” This was a special moment for hip hop.

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