The lines of fact and fiction in Hip-Hop have been blurred indefinitely with no clear exit strategy to the gateway of infallibility. Yet and still, Brooklyn emcee PUSH! Montana remains true to the values instilled in him during the period of his lengthy tenure in the streets. As of recent, he’s been hitting the music scene with intense vigor like a determined beginner, although PUSH! is technically not a rookie.
In a brazen tone, PUSH! gives TSS explicit details surrounding his origin in and out of the rap game as well as his plans for constructing his empire. You may be amazed but this enterprising talent is not the type to be mendacious.
TSS: O.K. so we got French Montana, Montana Mustard, Hannah Montana – Montana Fishburne…where are you in the family tree? How did you come up with that name?
PUSH! Montana: Well I got the name PUSH! from my homie Prez who’s incarcerated. I added the Montana because of the movie Scarface. I always felt like I was going to get it like [he] did but I got out the game before he crossed Manolo. I was the first Montana, though. People who are familiar with me and know me from my early days know that. When I was getting my name out in the streets in 2003 I was the only one. Now there’s 30 of em. But I take that imitation as flattery; I ain’t tripping. The music will speak for itself.
TSS: Since everybody is a basically a few degrees from being a rapper themselves, when did you know you wanted to pursue it professionally?
PUSH! Montana: I started rapping in 2002 but it was August 2009 when I really buckled down and put all my focus in it. My right and left hand men got locked up on separate conspiracy charges. My cousin Two got fifteen years, my other cousin and uncle both got shot and paralyzed by police in separate instances. Both my grandmothers died, and my pops got cancer. So I just took it as a blessing that I’m still here and decided to put all my effort in to my music and leave all the street shit alone. I’m gonna be the one to help my homies with the talent that God gave me.
TSS: In the seven years in between you honing rap skills, did you feel yourself spiraling out of control in the streets? Did it inspire much of the music we hear today?
PUSH! Montana: Yeah, it was getting outta control. I always kept a job and hustled at the same time. Always did both but once I quit my job and went all the way in, that was it. Like my name is PUSH! for real, I live by that. I PUSH! my niggas and go hard with whatever I do. I was never a petty crime nigga.
Before I got started, I always said if I got locked up it would have to be by the Feds or the D’s at the least. So you already know how I was moving. I wasn’t a stand on the corner nigga. I got locked up in 2005 on a coke charge but after I beat it, I just went harder. I bought a Benz, and moved tougher. It really was just all my friends and family going through crazy shit that made me look at the bigger picture and catch myself.
TSS: With the fallback, you got a major look on If Tomorrow Comes… What was that feeling like when the album hit stores? What’s your current relationship with Maino?
PUSH! Montana: The feeling was incredible man. I mean I was on Hi-Tek’s album before that so it wasn’t my first time in stores. But the feeling was crazy because my brother album finally came out. I was with him from he first came home to now. And I’ve seen all the hardships and experienced all the pain on this road to that release. I cried actually to be real. Joy man, thought about all our homies behind the wall and in the grave that fought for this. Maino is like my big brother and our bond will forever be rock solid. This Hustle Hard, Money In The Bank, Black Flag City thing ain’t no rap shit. Its family for real. Get familiar with the Familia.
TSS: So we got FreshDope! around the corner. For clarity, is it an album or mixtape?
PUSH! Montana: It’s an album! I put so much into this project man and it’s a story behind every record. Everybody won’t get it at first but it’s not for everybody. It’s soul food for your soul fool! (Laughs). Real rap though. I get emotional talking bout the album because of the situations that caused these records to be made. I just put my heart and soul on these songs. Its amazing actually son.
TSS: When artists put their emotions in the music, history shows it could lead to the best results. Do you feel like FreshDope! will define your career leading up to this point?
PUSH! Montana: Yeah, that’s how I feel son. I poured my soul in it. I sent my brother – who’s in the halfway house – some songs off FreshDope! and he said it had niggas in there tearing up. Stone cold criminals. So I know I’m doing the right thing. I didn’t put no commercial records on it because I feel like it’s a timepiece. Like it’s what I was going through at the time. It will be apart of my history forever.
TSS: Have you been in Brooklyn your entire life?
PUSH! Montana: Yeah but I travel a lot, though. I have a lot of homies all over the country due to my prior line of work but I’m Brooklyn born and Brooklyn bred. Wouldn’t want to be from nowhere else in the world.
TSS: Coming up in BK, you had to see the musical culture shift from the essence to what it is now. What’s your take on the current trends?
PUSH! Montana: I mean a trend is a trend. They come, go, and come back around again. I don’t have a problem with none of it. I think the essence of the music you’re talking about is coming back slowly but surely. Thanks to all the new artist putting dope shit out.
TSS: Speaking of which, you went out and got Freddie Gibbs and CurT@!n$ for the album. Are those some of the new artists you felt are motivating the game right now? Anybody else we can expect? What producers did you link up with?
PUSH! Montana: Yeah, definitely. Both of them are dope and are true to who they are. I call both of them good friends of mines too. Not just on some rapper shit. I like a lot of the new dudes though. I don’t really listen to radio so I get all my music off the net. I’m working a lot with my homie Wink Loc. We just put his street album out called “LoComotive”. He’s dope and has a story that’s never been told. And as far as the producers on FreshDope!, it’s all been in-house. My dude Rico Beats, Trilogy, and Steven James. That’s my go-to team. We crafted music specifically for this project. But shoutout to all the producers on the album. Kuddie Fresh, O-Dizzy, Taurus Scott and my man Cali Beatz.
TSS: In the middle of a recession, how prominent is the music and ideology you’re making? In other words, would you say it comes from a more realistic angle?
PUSH! Montana: My music comes from the heart and speaks to the soul. I come from a real angle. I speak on real situations and give 100% truth. One line I said on [the song] “Freshdopeboy” was “we hustle hard hoping that God forgive us/We sell poison, but the fiends outlive us” that’s not a metaphor or nothing but it’s real life shit.
TSS: That’s a deep analogy. Are you saying that you’ve seen fiends being served by multiple drug dealers because the ones before them either fell or got incarcerated?
PUSH! Montana: Yeah! That’s just the truth bro! They outlive us. They’ll go through a million dealers before they die. We getting locked up or killed before they die, but they the ones “addicted” to the poison. I’ma keep it real: this street shit don’t add up G. And math always been my strong suit. The losses outweigh the gains. Outta fifteen homies, one might be able to make it out. And then if you’re that one person, you can’t even enjoy it because all your niggas you came up with is in the can – or dead. I tell these niggas all the time to get a plan before the warden gives you one.
TSS: When fans approach a PUSH! Montana song, what do you want them to get out of it? What’s the motivation behind telling your stories through music?
PUSH! Montana: I want them to leave away saying PUSH! is a real dude. I fucks with him. Not just the music but him as a man. He goes through or went through the same shit I go through in my life. That’s all I can ask for. My motivation is to speak to the souls of my niggas out here going in the thick of it. Like I always say, I don’t expect everybody to get it. It ain’t for everybody. But I know all my fresh dope boys and girls love me. And that’s all that matters to me.
I’m gonna get money regardless. But I will never sell out for my CD to sell out. I know kids are gonna be listening to my music looking for motivation and a first hand report of what’s really going on out here. I can’t lie to them. It’s just not me. I do this for the “have-nots.” I want them to have knots; that bread man. Be successful. Fuck what these other rap niggas talking about. They gonna have you in jail and they still gonna be out here lying on records and dancing wit Puffy.
TSS: So, do you think the excessive amount of rappers makes hard for people to be noticed or do you feel everybody has their time?
PUSH! Montana: Hell. Yeah! Attention spans are shorter too. You just gotta put your all into every line because you never know who’s gonna be listening to you for the first time. Everybody has their time though. Gotta stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Keep the faith in God and go as hard as you can. As long as you making real music it’ll catch on sooner or later one fan at a time. FRESSHHH!!!!!!
PUSH! Montana’s debut street album Freshdope! will be dropping very soon. In the meantime, keep up the Brooklynite’s power moves on his official website Push! on Demand and follow him on Twitter @PUSHMONTANA.