In their longtime role as the house band on “The Tonight Show,” the Roots always bring fluidity and finesse to their collaborations, and Thursday night’s performance was no exception. Pusha T rolled out the track “Santeria” from his career-reviving album “Daytona,” accompanied by the band and New Jersey newcomer 070 Shake.
While Pusha prowled the stage and ripped through his lines with muscular vigor, 070 was a more spectral presence on the left side of the stage, delivering her Spanish-language lines hook while dimly illuminated by the show’s lights. Seeing show host Jimmy Fallon burst onstage when the song was finished with his usual puppy-like vigor was a disconnect from her haunting presence, but she smiled and gave a fist pump when he introduced her. Her performances on Pusha’s album as well as Kanye West’s “Ye” album have made her one of the breakout stars of the year so far.
In May, Pusha launched his album with a ferocious verbal attack on Drake. While tensions between the two stretched all the way back to 2006 — starting off with a general attack on Lil Wayne and his Young Money crew, of which Drake is a member, and getting more specific over 2012-13 via songs like Pusha’s “Exodus 23:1” and Drake’s “Tuscan Leather” — the battle burst into the open earlier this year when Pusha went after Drake in the “Daytona” track “Infared,” Drake responded with “Duppy Freestyle,” and Pusha hit back with “The Story of Adidon,” which features a cover photo of Drake in blackface makeup and hard lyrical jabs about the biracial rapper being “always afraid he wasn’t black enough”; he also goes after Drake for a child he allegedly fathered as well as his producer Noah “40” Shebib’s multiple sclerosis. While Drake reportedly had a response in the can, he elected not to release it and the situation took a pause; West distanced himself from the beef in early June.
Pusha launches a North American tour in support of the album on August 3.