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."