Why Did Timbaland & Pusha T Made Their Collaboration Debut Just Last Year

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Harvard University has always had an open door to Hip Hop. Dating back to the eighties, the world’s most revered academic institution has welcomed venerable hip hop artists from all subgenres of rap music including KRS-One, Paris, Genius/GZA, Lil' B, Kanye West, DJ Whoo Kid, and 9th Wonder as a fellow professor to name a few. Nas was even awarded their prestigious W.E.B. DuBois Medal late last year, and has a fellowship with his namesake there. And let’s not forget that the most celebrated printed Hip Hop publication in the culture’s history, The Source, was burgeoned in a dorm room there back in 1988.

This past Thursday, Pusha T spen an hour of his time inside the Harvard-Yenching Library to discuss the creative process of his latest album King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, his lengthy recording career, race and politics in the rap game and for young blacks in America, and other important facts about the changes in the rap game since he started “grindin” with his on their seminal debut Lord Willin’ in 2002. Here are eight of the most important takeaways from this Harvard discussion with the Virginian.

"Timbaland has a studio in Virginia, and like the greatest man of all because he lets me record there for free. I’ve never experienced that in my life (Laughs). Tim and my brother are both five years older than me. When I was like seven or eight years old, my brother and Timbaland were in middle school and they had a rap group. But by principle you can definitely call it a gang because Timbaland was the deejay for like twenty guys in this group.


I used to ride my bike over to Timbaland’s house with my brother, and we’d stay over and they’d be rapping and doing what they do. And [his] parents would kick me out their house because I would be dancing making too much noise. But it wasn’t until 2015 that I worked with Timbaland on music ever. Ever! I’m watching him be the man with music and production, being behind Ginuwine, Aaliyah, and I’m watching, and still never worked with him. I’m was still working with Pharrell, and we’re all from the same thing. But I wouldn’t change a thing about that."

VA Still Searching For Signature Sound, Even With Pharrell & Timbaland's Contributions
"I feel like [all the other regions] have a particular sound. But I don’t think the DMV has a sound. You have the Timbaland sound, you have The Neptunes sound, you have what Missy does, you got guys like Teddy Riley, who was with Wrecks-N-Effect but he was from Harlem with that New Jack Swing sound, and that was all on Virginia Boulevard, for real. But I think we don’t have a one particular sound. When you look at Atlanta, you can pigeonhole a sound there.

With New York, you could at one time with the West Coast sound, the Houston sound, the Bay Area sound, and you think of those places musically compared to what comes out of the DMV area, I think we are fighting ourselves. I mean, I was there when Tim was competing with Pharrell, and Pharrell competing with Tim. On top of that, the D.C. area has the go-go sound, but there’s a lot going on that’s undefined in that concentrated area."

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