Pusha T is the lyrical rap fan’s favorite lyrical rapper. From his work with his brother as the duo Clipse to his Kanye West-produced debut solo album, My Name Is My Name, he’s received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, who have for years enjoyed the unapologetic snarl with which he delivers verses.
When it comes to his fashion sense, Pusha’s often been on the cutting edge, whether it was being one of the first people on the planet to rock Pharrell’s Icecream sneakers, or helping to bring back the militant all-black-everything look of the ’90s alongside Mr. West. Like the two of them, Pusha’s now got his own collaboration with Adidas in the form of a cream-colored EQT Running Guidance 93. At first glance the sneaker looks just like a monochromatic version of the retro style, but upon further inspection, fans of the rapper’s music will easily recognize the inspiration. Fish scale accents, cracked leather, and a gum sole are all subtle nods to Pusha T’s street hustling past. GQ sat down with him to talk about the EQT, his feelings on Adidas’s year, Lil Wayne, and his famed Gucci Chuck Taylors.
Growing up, what did Adidas mean to you? What did the brand stand for?
I’ll start off by telling you that for my 5th grade talent show, I was RUN DMC. Also you should just know the rate at which I cried to my parents to have an Adidas tracksuit and shell toed [Superstars]. My brother [Malice] is five years older than me, so when I was nine, he was fourteen, and my parents acknowledged that because he was going into high school, he needed to be fresh. But me being nine, I didn’t have to be as fresh. I felt like I was missing out, crying, going upset. I had to have it. It just goes to show how in-tune Adidas has been with hip-hop style and hip-hop culture.
Obviously the Superstars have been extremely important to hip-hop culture, so how did you settle on the EQT?
It’s just about doing something off the beaten path a little bit. And I think the EQT is just a dope silhouette people can rock with today’s fashions. I wanted something that would complement a whole outfit. And that’s how I get dressed. I think of the whole silhouette. You can’t think of the shoe without thinking about the way denim will look with it, and the whole ensemble.
What outfits are you planning for them?
I’ve already bought things to wear with them. There’s this super ill Visvim jacket that I’ve already purchased. There’s a Saint Laurent parka with coyote fur that’s reminiscent of the color of the shoes. I’m just so proud of the shoe.
What’s the inspiration behind the shoes?
Yeah I mean everything–the fish scale nuances, the cracked leather, everything–is inspired by street culture because I feel like I’m synonymous with that. Even the gum sole and the measuring line on the sole relates to that. I just tried to make it as fun as possible. Like, there’s no question that this is Pusha T’s shoe. I wanted to make it me, make it fresh, and really add to the silhouette the best I could.
Adidas has been making big moves this year, bringing on people like you, Pharrell and Kanye West. What do you think about the cultural push the brand is making?
I think these are very monumental moves. The Pharrell move and Kanye move are huge because those guys are staples in fashion. I also love the Nigo collaboration Adidas has going on right now. Nigo to me is the G.O.A.T. Pharrell and Kanye are A-1 tastemakers, and their taste levels are on par with the best. And as far as myself, I feel like I translate ideas from the streets better than anyone. It’s like they lasso’d all of the greats from their respective places.
Other than your own collaboration, what’s your favorite Adidas shoe to come out this year?
For me it was the snakeskin and ostrich Stan Smiths. Both were must-haves on my list. I’m actually currently trying to get more pairs of them, and it’s not really working out for me. People need to know that I have a hard time like everybody else! It’s a testament to how if you see something super fresh, jump on it. Do not hesitate. If you can get two pair, get two pair. If you can get three pair, get three pair, because you will miss out. I take a toothbrush to my Stan Smiths because I have to maintain them because I do not have any more pairs.
You tweeted at Lil Wayne that you want him to come to GOOD Music, and you’ve had beef with him before. Do you actually want him to join the label?
I don’t know. I just like the fact that I’m a prophet because of my song “Exodus” [in which Pusha obliquely talks shit on Birdman and his label Cash Money]. It came out two years ago! People should just call me “The Prophet.” You know what? Wayne on GOOD Music…Well ‘Ye actually likes Wayne, so they could probably make some good music together. But who knows.
Do you still have a pair of “Gucci Chuck Taylors with the Dragon on the side”?
Of course I do. Of course. Curtain$ [from En Noir] bought me the collection of them for my birthday last year. All three pair. He’s the best for that.
So you’re still going to wear them in 2015?
$200, Available December 23 at adidas.com
Interview via GQ