Despite rumors that the track takes aim at Weezy and Drake, producer Rico Beats says they weren’t part of the conversation.
By Rob Markman

Pusha T in his “Exodus 23:1” video
Photo: Universal

If Pusha T intended to dis anyone on his “Exodus 23:1” single, the track’s producer, Rico Beats, wasn’t aware.

“Honestly, when we were in the room listening to that record, I didn’t hear none of these guys’ names brought up,” Rico told MTV News on Wednesday of rumors that Pusha was taking shots at Drake and Lil Wayne on the track. “It was none of that. Dream got in his zone and he went in the booth. Pusha got his pen, like I didn’t hear nobody mentioned.”

On the track, the Clipse rapper spits, “You signed to one n—a, that’s signed to another n—a, that’s signed to three n—as now that’s bad luck,” a verse that many fans thought targeted the two rappers and their YMCMB squad. Wayne took immediate offense to the song, tweeting, “F– pusha t and anybody that love em,” and firing back with his dis song “Ghoulish” two days after.

But before making the beat for “Exodus 23:1,” Rico says that the only instruction he received from Pusha was to make him something with a dark sound. He immediately went to work and found inspiration in Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 underground favorite “What’s Beef,” which he sampled from and then built his sounds around.

“Pusha kept tellin’ me, ‘I need something dark, man. The album sounds crazy, but I still need somethin’ for my fans’. So I was like, ‘I got you, give me by six o’clock,’ ” Rico recalled. “I went down to the studio and I was just listening to Biggie. I was just playin’ pure Biggie. So [“What’s Beef”] came on and once I heard [B.I.G.’s] ‘ha-ha-ha-ha’ [vocal] I was like, ‘Oh sh–‘.”

If Pusha’s “Exodus” left things up to interpretation, Weezy’s dis did not. On “Ghoulish,” Tunechi took direct aim with lines like “Brrrr, what happened to that boy/ He was talkin’ sh– we put a clappin’ to that boy” making direct reference to Birdman and Pusha’s 2002 single “What Happened to That Boy.”

Rico, a Brooklyn native, says he hasn’t heard Wayne’s record in its entirety, but did admit that it was playing in the background during a Memorial Day weekend barbecue. And while he doesn’t know whether Pusha plans to respond, the producer confirmed that he and the Virginia lyricist will collaborate more in the future, as he is slated to produce about half of Pusha’s next solo album.

What do you think of Rico Beats’ “Exodus 23:1” beat? Let us know in the comments.

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