The recording sessions for Kanye West’s magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are the stuff of legend. Recorded in Hawaii after Kanye’s controversial outburst during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye was set to gain back public respect by crafting the greatest hip-hop album ever made.
As detailed in Complex‘s 2010 Project Runaway story, JAY-Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, RZA, Q-Tip, Raekwon, and Pete Rock were among the many A-list names who joined Kanye in Hawaii, contributing to his fifth studio album. In between sessions, artists joined each other for group activities, lavish breakfasts, basketball games, and team-building exercises. Everyone was to abide by Kanye’s strict rules, “no pictures,” “no tweeting” and most famously, “no hipster hats.”
Pusha-T played a big role in MBDTF, appearing on tracks “Runway” and “So Appalled” while featuring on several G.O.O.D. Friday cuts include “Christian Dior Denim Flow,” “Looking for Trouble” and “G.O.O.D. Friday.”
According to his longtime manager, Steven Victor, the Virginia Beach MC almost quit the Hawaii sessions and never came back. In the latest episode of Noah Callahan-Bever’s Youtube series, IDEA GENERATION, Victor revealed Pusha T refused to return to Honolulu out of frustration over Ye’s odd recording process.
“Rick Ross called Pusha and was like, ‘Yo, I’m in Hawaii with Kanye. He wants you to come out to Hawaii and work on his album with him,'” he recalled. “There’d be periods where we would be in Hawaii for like two or three weeks and no work would be getting done. 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.'”
Looking to find a solution, Victor got on the first flight to Hawaii without Push. After landing, he found Ye while buying essentials early in the morning.
“I’m walking across the street and there’s a car flying down the road and I’m like, ‘Who’s this?’ Zoom!” Victor said. “And then I’m like, ‘Fuck! That looks like Kanye’s car!’ The car brakes and starts reversing and I’m like, ‘There’s no way this is this dude, right?’
“He brakes up and he’s like, ‘Oh, hey man. Where you going?’ I’m like, ‘Back to my room.’ He’s like, ‘Where’s Pusha?’ I’m like, ‘Aww man, he’s on a flight. He’ll be here tomorrow.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, why’s he not here?’ I’m like, ‘He has a stomach virus. He’ll be here tomorrow.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, cool! We’re playing basketball; you want to come?'”
It was during their car ride on the way home from basketball that Steven Victor and Kanye West hatched a plan to sign Pusha T to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint.
“We’re talking and he’s asking me questions about the Clipse and so on and so forth,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Yo, we should X, Y, Z.’ And he’s like, ‘That’s a great idea.’ So I get back and I call Pusha and I’m like, ‘Yo, I just had this conversation with Kanye. Ye wants you to come out here ASAP so we can figure this out.'”
Pusha T has since released six projects on G.O.O.D. Music. In 2015, Push became the label’s president. Victor also joined G.O.O.D. Music as Chief Operating Officer, signing artists like Desiigner, 070 Shake, and Valee.