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Fired up: Pusha T and Desiigner live in London

29 April 2016, 11:20 | Written by Jack Dutton

It’s easy to forget how long Pusha T has been putting out top tier rap music.

Beginning his career with his brother as Clipse in the early '90s, he teamed up with Pharrell Williams to make some of hip hop’s most enduring party tracks with the likes of “Grindin’” and “When The Last Time”. When Pusha’s brother No Malice put his rap career on hold to find God after the duo released their fourth album 'Til the Casket Drops, Pusha carried on making music solo, and in the process became one of hip hop's most established voices.

Pusha T fans descended upon Brixton Electric in south London on Wednesday (27 April) to watch his Darkest Before Dawn Tour, named after his most recent album. Pusha wasted no time getting straight into the action, beginning the show with “Intro” off his new LP, complete with thudding 808s and eerie synths. He quickly moved onto his verse off “So Appalled”, a track from Kanye West’s lauded My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, before seguing into “Pain”, his collaboration with Future. Standing on stage with just a DJ for company – compulsively scratching vinyl and letting off explosion sounds to rile the audience up – it was a simple formula, but one that kept everyone on their toes.

The boom bap of “FIFA”, another new track from Darkest Before Dawn produced by A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, and "Nosetalgia", an older cocaine-dedicated collaboration with Kendrick Lamar followed, but the new material was going down so well it often got a more positive reception than some of his older work.

The rapper spoke little in between songs, instead basking in the resulting adulation and letting his talent speak for itself. When he finally did address the crowd directly, it was to announce “I’m Pusha T, also known as King Push… but I also have another name, which you might not have heard before….El Presidito… Of G.O.O.D Music”. Shortly after declaring himself president of Kanye West’s label G.O.O.D Music, he brought on their latest signing Desiigner, who came on as a surprise guest to perform “Panda”, an infectious trap banger currently top of the US Billboard 100.

Desiigner entertained with his frenzied delivery, punctuated by the rapper inanely wincing his face in between lyrics for split seconds at a time. For someone who only has one song to his name, there seemed to be a whole lot of promise from G.O.O.D Music’s latest star.

After he rapped over "Father Stretch My Hands Part Two" and then over the sinister violins of "Freestyle 4" (two tracks off Kanye West’s seventh album The Life of Pablo), King Push came back into the spotlight, reminding the crowd he penned one of hip hop’s most memorable verses in recent memory on West’s piano-driven classic “Runaway”. When recording the track, Kanye famously made Pusha write the verse four times until it sounded “douchebaggy” enough, and its rendition tonight will have made many feel like douchebags for missing it.

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