When I first heard “Nostalgia,” I immediately imagined what the visuals would look like. I pictured the richness of ’80s drug dealer fashion, Pusha rocking a solid golden cuban-link chain with the two-tone starter jacket he mentions in his verse. Kendrick wearing a classic royal blue L.A. Dodgers hat, with some red chucks on some timeless West Coast shit. In my head, I saw all these bright and vivid colors, then I saw the video. It was monochromatic, it was minimal, it was Pusha T.
“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious…” ― Yohji Yamamoto
The idea of minimalism is to take the bare and simple elements of a medium and exhibit the raw essence of the art. Pusha T’s art is his unapologetic lyricism. He doesn’t have to use all the bells and whistles most rappers use in their videos. It’s not about that, it’s about the raps. Lyrically, Pusha’s aesthetic has always been dark and sinister. His identity can be found in his subject matter and by eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts, you’re only getting Pusha T. Uncut, raw, and pure columbian powder.
Minimalism has been the consistent theme in the marketing for Pusha T’s debut solo album My Name is My Name. The artwork for “Numbers on the Board” and “Who I Am” were literally white backgrounds with black text reading “No Artwork” and “No Artwork 2.” The single “Sweet Serenade” features an illustration of an alligator drawn in all black with an intricate focus on its scales. One may argue that the approach is lazy or even boring, but who else can do it and get it away with it? How else could Pusha meet the artistic integrity and representation of Kanye, DONDA, and G.O.O.D. Music? I mean art is all about juxtaposition right? On the song “40 Acres” featuring The Dream, Mr. Thornton says “Called him tar baby, now he’s transcending genres.” Though he refers to his skin color this line parallels Pusha’s presence and presentation in the game. Less is more, and the pot is bubbling.