Review: Pusha T at The Republik
REVIEW BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Amidst a packed lineup of quality Pro Bowl-related events in Honolulu this week, rapper Pusha T blessed The Republik with performance on Wednesday, Jan. 22, that’s best described as sucker-free.
Opening the show was Fool’s Gold artist Donnis, who recently moved to Oahu and now lives in Kaneohe, backed by Hawaii’s own DJ Jami. Jami helped take the club to another level, despite never talking on the microphone once while he was behind the decks.
But Las Vegas and San Francisco-based DJ Franzen made a cardinal mistake when he announced Pusha-T would hit the stage “in 10 minutes.” While Franzen did a stellar job at keeping the crowd involved, Pusha T didn’t appear for another half-hour.
The impatience of those in attendance was obvious, but there were no outward signs of their displeasure. Franzen’s false promise didn’t seem to matter, either, once it was announced that local promoter DIGS Hawaii will bring Kendrick Lamar to Oahu on March 8.
Following the news, Pusha T was seen entering the approximately half-full room via The Republik’s VIP section. A small entourage accompanied the G.O.O.D. Music lyrcist into the club.
Pusha T, who traveled cross-country after attending an event in New York to celebrate the five-year anniversary of his clothing line, Play Cloths, the night before, showed no signs of jet lag as he opened the show with “King Push.”
Enthusiastic from start, the Virginia-bred rapper, was adorned in his signature braids and black backwards cap. Those in attendance were fixated on his drug hustle raps and conscious rhyme flow from earlier material as a member of The Clipse to his latest project, “My Name Is My Name.”
Onlookers were fully engaged as the talented MC performed “Sweet Serenade,” while the intelligent, vivid storytelling on the Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Nosetalgia” captivated fans.
Pusha T’s verses on Kanye West’s “Mercy” and Clipse’s “Grinding” got the biggest response, and after giving a shoutout to the Pro Bowl and fans of good hip-hop midway through his set, “King Push” asked the crowd, “Is this the Album of the Year?”
As expected, The Republik crowd responded with raucous approval.
Backed by the a crisp sound system and realistic expectations of fans in attendance, Pusha T’s no-frills performance showed that delivering the goods live is a priority. The prominent street poet made up for whatever was lacking in total minutes with the sheer quality of his rhymes.
No bells and whistles or generic crowd call-and-response gimmicks were necessary on Wednesday night. The 15-year hip-hop vet proved that he is still a force to reckoned with and pulled no punches in his 45-minute performance. It was apparent that his mission was to make sure fans got their money’s worth.
Unfortunately, an abrupt end to Pusha T’s set meant no encore. All that remained after the self-proclaimed “conscious dopeboy” left the stage was a soaked floor littered with plastic cups.