Of all the standout guest verses on Kanye West’s pivotal 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Pusha T’s verses on “Runaway” and “I’m So Appalled” are widely considered to be among the best. As it turns out, though, Pusha’s verses might not have been present — in fact, the whole trajectory of his career might have changed — were it not for the intervention of his manager, Steven Victor, who recently told Noah Callahan-Bever how Ye’s slow recording process frustrated Pusha to the point of quitting the island-bound sessions altogether.
In the lead-up to releasing the album, Kanye had absconded to Hawaii, seeking refuge after his 2009 VMAs dust-up with Taylor Swift. Feeling the recriminations of viewers who’d condemned his stage-rushing incident, he knew his next project would potentially be his last chance to swing public opinion back to his side. The recording sessions in Hawaii, which have since become music lore, gathered some of the biggest names in hip-hop for what would turn out to be arguably one of Ye’s best albums. However, because the process had involved so much downtime — the participants often notoriously skived off recording sessions to play basketball — Pusha, who’d been invited by Kanye after learning the Clipse rapper had recently gone solo, almost gave up.
“There’d be periods where we would be in Hawaii for like two or three weeks and no work would be getting done,” says Victor. “So for someone like Pusha, it’s like, ‘What is this? This doesn’t make sense.’ We were supposed to go out there one time and he was like, ‘Tsk. I’m not going, man. This ain’t it.’ I was like, ‘Nah, we have to go! [Kanye’s] process is his process.’ He was like, ‘I’m not going.’”
Eventually, Victor, who went solo, was able to cover for Push long enough to convince Kanye to extend a recording contract with GOOD Music to the Virginia rapper. That was enough to entice him back, and the rest, as they say, is history. Pusha rose through the ranks to become GOOD’s President, presiding over high-profile signings like 070 Shake and Desiigner. Check out the full interview below.