Pusha T Speaks On Changing Hip Hop Demographic

The Clipse/G.O.O.D. Music alum speaks on diversity in the Hip Hop and the changing racial demographic.

Pusha T recently caught up with The Tanning of America to discuss the racial implications of the ever-broadening fan base of Hip Hop. The Clipse emcee said he that he first realized how his music appealed to a racially diverse crowd at a New York performance following the release of his Re-Up Gang's We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2.

"[I]t was so much of a shock. I can remember specifically, The Knitting Factory in New York City," he explained. "We had dropped We Got It 4 Cheap Volume 2, I think it was. We walked out to a sea of suburban white kids who had on everything I probably had on, or something close to it in terms of BAPE shoes, jeans, varsity jackets, and hoodies. It was totally a shock to me because, you have to remember, when I started off with records like 'Grindin’,' I think I was in every black ghetto and performed for every black promoter in the United States for at least a year or nine months before the record even popped. These kids were not at my shows."

Pusha Ton also spoke on why he feels the shift in the racial demographic of Hip Hop came about so suddenly. He said that he feels that the openess of the Internet and the appeal of streetwear cultures helped Hip Hop reach a greater variety of people, and added that he he's happy to see such a mix of people connect with his music.

"I think the shift came along with the Internet and blog culture," he noted. "Because the mixtapes were promoted and critically acclaimed through the Internet, more so than on the street corners or in the mom and pop record stores in the hood. It was more an Internet thing, and I think that gave everyone access to the music we were making...[and] then you have the whole streetwear culture—and that’s some of everybody at this point. Everybody wants to put on a fly sneaker. It’s so much so, that also mixes my crowd a lot. The music pulls from so many different people. In the crowd, there’s definitely that hipster kid and there’s definitely that hustler. It’s just there, and they all come out regardless of where I show up at."

He added, "I love how it diversifies everything. I love going to my shows and seeing some of everybody at my shows. It makes for a bigger reaction once the show is over. All those kids hit the streets, and they’re all screaming the same thing, but they’re all screaming it in their respective areas. Some kids are going back to the hood, back to high school in the suburbs, and some kids are going to college. Some kids are going to black college, some to white college. I perform everywhere. I perform at all types of colleges."

RELATED: Pusha T Cancels Black Friday Album Release


  • Anonymous

    pusha t is changing himself. he went from closet gay in clipse. to open gay with kanye. this nobody need to shut the fuck up. his only hit came 10 years ago, he's nothing but a hanger on that books interviews on the strength of who he knows, not what he's doing. drop that solo album push. the world can't wait to show how much they don't give a fuck.

  • Doubl Negative

    People still hold on to Dr King's quixotic dream of Black/white diversity and unity, but whenever people congregate somewhere, even if through shared interest, Jim Crow will be appear. You see it everywhere, parks, schools, clubs; the Brothers chill amongst themselves, the same for white and Asian dudes. There's no doubtin' hip-hop's demographic has changed over the years. To accommodate the large number of whites now listening to rap, our music has become attenuated to placate their sensibilities, and if you're not a white/middle-class/homosexual/female the music's unlistenable. Em's recent material has been horrible for this reason - eschew the the inveterate, indigenous audience that made you and make records for people who don't understand or appreciate the culture. I'm just gonna stick to death-metal from now on. It's a pure and unadulterated music scene that doesn't pander to current trends and PC nonsense.

  • DrewDown91

    These comments are ridiculous. Pusha-T is right, it was in the early '00s that it changed. Not in the beginning or even the nineties. Not at the concerts at least. My friends and I (mostly white, and philipino) growing up went to see Wu-Tang, and Mobb Deep in jersey circa '97 - we were the only non-black people at the shows. I think it was because most white kids were shook. They would buy the music but were afraid to go to the shows. Then I remember up-in-smoke tour circa 2001, it was almost all white. Eminem had a lot to do with it. My boy was at the Slim Shady EP tour, Em got booed off the stage in Philly. A mostly black audience. When he was accepted it was like a legion of white rap fans were also accepted. Before Em there were not a lot of us repping Mobb Deep in suburbia, I can tell you first hand.

  • Christopher English

    It's not some type of "sudden shift". Hip hop has always appealed to a diverse fan base regardless of whether these dudes know their history or not. Hip hop artist used to play at punk rock clubs before there was a such thing as a "hip hop spot" Some of NWA and Ice Cube's and Gangster Rap in general, where white. In the 90 when people where going 2x and 3x platinum off their albums, that was diversity. It's a known fact that a black audience will push your album to gold and platinum. when you start doing numbers higher than that.... there comes your diverse audience.

  • koth561

    Corny euro dance music is running the whole music scene... that is why hip hop is changing

  • Bad Kid

    Smh y'all need a new fuckin editor "The Clipse emcee said he that he first realized" I couldn't even read the article no more

  • The B

    Just get the faggots and corny muthafuckas out the way and we'll be ok!!

  • Anonymous

    Yea cus the beastie boys, snow, vanilla ice etc came after the internet..maybe people just like what they fucking like.

    • Anonymous

      the main word was "suburbian" white kids the beastie's are from from brooklyn ,white people have been involved in hip-hop since the begining Producer paul c ,rick ruben , dante ross it just fell off because white people moved out of the inner cities ,

    • Anonymous

      Other than Beastie Boys, those guys weren't picking up the hipster demographic whereas Clipse definitely owe Pitchfork et al. for a decent part of their success.

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