We’re sat on a spacious sofa in Pusha T’s penthouse suite at Delano, Las Vegas. A golden DJ booth is positioned pompously opposite a flat screen plasma airing a talk show where T-Pain is causing an eruption of hilarity to an attentive audience. Even with the sound on mute and the TV behind me, I can feel the artist’s charisma to have an effect on his peer, my interviewee. Push’s focus is divided, yet nonetheless, he pauses to think before speaking. “If I have to think about it right now, how the hell do you roll out the next Kanye West project? We just filled up Madison Square Garden in a listening session. How do you up the ante?” chuckles Pusha T in disbelief as he describes his working relationship with his close friend and colleague. Collaborations such as Yeezy-produced “Numbers on the Board,” club howitzer “Mercy,” or the melancholic Darkest Before Dawn-feature “M.P.A” are examples of the two’s longstanding kinship, with the latest being Push’s new appointed role as president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music Inc.
“It just happened over a phone call, man. I got off the plane home and ‘Ye called me to offer me this position.” Outside of music, both artists have spearheaded fashion with their own unique dialogues with streetwear. ’Ye’s empire needs no introduction, one which is heavily wrapped in sneaker wars and controversial fashion shows. Like ‘Ye, Push has also found backing from adidas in his footwear ventures, an appropriate counterpart to Play Cloths which he started with the intent to “not just be another rapper’s brand.” Understanding both artists’ expertise, it’s only natural for ‘Ye to pass the torch to someone whose managerial outlook runs parallel to his. “Being president, I do have a heavy say-so, but the A&R process is based on scouting self-contained artists and musicians who’ll benefit from our nurture.” Now, at the helm, Push looks to innovate, with the aim of heightening the overall brand experience of G.O.O.D. Music without forgoing profitability. G.O.O.D. Friday and G.O.O.D. Festival are some of the projects Push is working on to magnify the brand’s presence both online and offline. As the conversation continues, 61 floors up, we learn about the key components to a successful brand.
Surround Yourself With G.O.O.D. People
As a manager of both G.O.O.D. Music and his own Play Cloths label, Pusha T has learnt the importance of teamwork. ”You have to be open, man, it’s a team effort. ‘President’ sounds singular but I work with a team of great people.” Push recognizes that collaborations are key to progression. “I work with a bright team who know the ins and outs and have a different opinion and a different spin to fashion and music, it’s necessary to surround yourself with good people.”
Know When You’re Wrong
Staying humble is inherently a quality among great leaders, one which Pusha T echoes. “There was a time when I use to argue back and forth with every release. Checking in on things, sometimes right, sometimes wrong. Nowadays, I’ll leave it to the head designer or label manager who knows me very well. These guys have seen things through on decisions I was so wrong on, and I’m glad I spoke on it. You need to know when you’re wrong and that you don’t know it all. You don’t have all the skill sets for perfection.”
Engage Your Audience at Every Level
Creativity sees no boundaries, especially in a time when the realms of fashion, music and art cross-pollinate more than ever. Good fan engagement helps cement a loyal fan base. When signing new acts, Push looks for “self-contained artists” who aren’t only musicians, but performers and personalities who’ll benefit from the label’s support. “G.O.O.D music is the culture. Everything that’s hot in music and fashion right now has something to do with an act on G.O.O.D. Music and DONDA. I ensure the brand is seen in a particular light that’s engaging beyond just the music.”
“You need to know when you’re wrong and that you don’t know it all. You don’t have all the skill sets for perfection.”
Business Can Also Be Creative
In the cesspool of rising talents looking for record deals, Pusha T offers a few tips on what him and the A&R team look out for. “The kids have really mastered how to cultivate a fanbase, they’ve mastered how to get their vision out to the public, they’re mastering the internet, they have 100,000 followers, and are touring without even being signed. I pay attention to the artists’ output, consistency, and how they build out their social media platforms. It’s easy to gauge how consistent somebody is by others’ feedback on the Internet. People in my position need to push that energy forward and help guide that.”
Check out a recap of our recent HYPEBEAST Live party with G.O.O.D. Music, headlined by Pusha T and Travis Scott.