Pusha T @ Alife, NYC

ALIFE is known as the destination for sneakerheads, and the LES “clubhouse” brings street lifestyle and fashion together with hip hop performances for the ALIFE Sessions. The small outdoor area of the clubhouse transforms into a intimate venue for the select few fashion influencers, industry professionals and hypebeasts who are in the know. Last night, King Push himself performed. This was a perfect fit since we all know Pusha T is huge into fashion with his Play Clothes line, and the street hip hop nerds have a good amount of crossover into the sneaker collector world.

It was a mob scene in the back by the time Pusha moved through the crowd to the front. He immediately shouted out Alife and proclaimed “Let’s start where it began”. Then, he went right into “Grindin'” – the Clipse classic that broke the duo of Pusha and Malice to all the right people in the streets. The crowd knew every word.

The theme of the night was, surprisingly, not promoting the new album My Name is My Name. Instead, Pusha broke out deep cuts from Clipse days – “Popeyes” – and solo songs from mixtapes like “Blocka” and “Don’t Matter”. These song resonated with the crowd at a level which is rare at hip hop shows. Streetwear dudes were unapologetically singing every word, rapping right along with Pusha. I literally saw one guy have a spiritual moment with his eyes shut, singing every word.

King Push did play some newer tracks – “Sweet Serenade,” “Numbers on the Boards”. But, once again, this internet savvy crowd already knew every verse.

We already knew Pusha’s dope doesn’t spoil, and playing so many older song just reminded the fans why he is king. I have never seen a show with so many true hip hop heads, there for the music and into the performance – not just as industry folk or fashion killas, but as fans.

After the hour-long reminder of Pusha’s talent last night, the quality of the new album is undisputed. I was hopeful for to hear a live version of some unreleased “My Name is My Name” tracks, but I guess I’ll just have to pre-order it on iTunes and wait my turn.