Underrated/Overrated is a new hip-hop column where we examine the legacy of a rapper and try to determine once and for all: Are they overrated or underrated? First up, Pusha T.
Pusha T Is Overrated
“Grindin'” the infectious, lunch table beat box inviting single by Virginia Beach rap duo Clipse was released nearly 15 years ago. Since then, the reputation of the brothers that made up the group, Gene “Malice” Thornton and Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton has been sterling. In 2010, the brothers took divergent paths, with Push pursuing a solo career, and Malice renaming himself No Malice, penning a memoir, and becoming much more outspoken about his Christian faith, before releasing a solo LP himself. The line for years has been that that the critically-acclaimed duo will never reunite for another joint album as Clipse, though that’s wavered some, it’s mostly been Pusha that has born the Clipse flag this past decade, receiving nearly universal acclaim for his solo works. His supporters have propped him up, slated him alongside the best rappers alive, wondering if the younger Clipse brother is the best rapper alive, continually pushing the narrative that Drake was afraid of a lyrical war with him and just heaping praise on Push nearly non-stop.
But all of that bears the question: Is Pusha T worthy of all that? Or has Pusha T become overrated?
Like many words, the internet has mostly skewered what the word “overrated” actually means. Most take overrated as an outright lambasting of something or someone, essentially declaring them not good. In reality, overrated means “to have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved” simply put, if you’re rating something a ten and really it’s just an eight than it’s overrated. An eight out of ten is still good, really good in fact, it’s just not perfect.
That might be the perfect definition of Pusha-T, who is hailed as one of the greats by some, when really he’s one of the goods. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Pusha is undoubtedly talented and obviously has the gift of gab and an interesting vocabulary. He raps with a certain conviction that makes you believe everything he says, from the most rugged and raunchy tales of street life, to the most gaudy and opulent exposés of high stakes coke dealing. Push always seems at his best when he could swoop in on somebody’s track like a hawk and kill it, like “New God Flow.” Get in, rip through an aggressive, colorful and pointed verse and never waste a syllable.