When Pusha T first inked his name on the G.O.O.D. music contract, The first thought was that this would be a GREAT MOVE for Push. Not only would he be having access to one of the best hip hop producers of the new generation(Kanye West) but he was also aligned alongside a team of spitters(judging from their BET Cypher from 2010) with Common, Cyhi the Prynce, Big Sean(who was gonna be the next rookie to break out) and Kanye himself. Kanye’s name associated with Pusha’s project alone would have given him the overall push that he truly needed to showcase his true potential to a new audience since he already grabbed the streets as apart of the Clipse.
But due to Kanye’s constant need to delay the project with his own issues, Big Sean’s debut doing better than expected, and Pusha possibly rubbing people the wrong way with throwing shots at Drake and Lil Wayne, It was even believed that Pusha’s project would be shelved due to politics and the fact that “lyricism doesn’t sell”.
Despite the constant delays and the release of countless mixtapes, Pusha made it official on The Breakfast Club that his debut has a release date and it was gonna officially drop. Perhaps it could be that with the shift of the musical landscape focusing once more again on emcees bringing something into the mix gave labels new-found confidence in Pusha’s project. What makes Pusha such a unique emcee isn’t that he has limited content, It’s the way Pusha would paint vivid pictures into his verses and would be able to deliver them with such boastful confidence. Within every verse, Pusha has the gift to pinpoint street analogies with sense of wisdom within his 16 bars.
The first couple of tracks showcases Pusha at his best. King Push is a great way to set off the album with his braggadocio and introducing himself into the masses. Kanye produces two of the album’s highlights titled “Number on the Boards” which was the album’s street single knocks hard. Ye finally stepped out of his “creative genius” soapbox and laced Pusha with one of the best beats in years:
The other Kanye track titled Hold On sounds a bit too much like a left over from Watch the Throne from a first but Pusha and Rick Ross does the beat justice despite the Kanye auto-tune crooning. It gives both rappers a chance to bring a different deep introspective of their persona’s because people are accustomed to see one dimension of their rap characters. Pusha wanted to show more shades of his self as an artist and throughout the album, He did a great job of showing that he can craft songs, Sweet Scheranade which features a very addictive course and a very night-time vibe like beat show Pusha can kick the fly shit to the ladies. Its catchy enough to grab the ladies and it doesn’t turn away his hardcore followers:
Suicide is one of the album’s highlights because its reminiscence of that old Clipse sound that we grew accustomed to love. A feature from his brother in crime Malice would have done this track much more justice. Instead it features the Clipse affiliate Ad-live but he does a good job of holding his own next to Pusha. During the middle part of the LP is where it stumbles at time. Lyrically Push shows his prowess on the Dream produced 40 Acres but it comes across as the typical cliché hit for radio. He continues to try to chase hits on songs such as No Regrets which features that tired trap heavy commercial sound, Let Me Love You falls flat as your typical “rap for the bitches” type of hit. To makes matters worse, Pusha tries to emulate Mase and it’s basically a poor-mans imitation.
The album picks up steam again with the last 3 songs reigning from dope to solid. Who Am I would have been a banger had he would have featured better rappers(I’m not a huge fan of 2 Chainz or Big Sean) Big Sean provides a verse more horrible than 2 Chainz here. It’s a shameful waste to what could have been a good collab had Push featured some real spitters.
Nostalgia featuring Kendrick Lamar is no question one of the album’s main highlights as well. When Kendrick made the roll call out on Control to all of the current class of rappers to bring their best, Pusha T understood very well what Kendrick’s intentions were. Instead of going at the little guys neck on some beef tip. He wanted to try to out do him so he featured him. You can sense the aura of competition here . Pusha would possibly deliver two of his hardest verses that we’ve heard for a long minute. Kendrick on the other hand attacks the track with such aggressive prowess proving to be one of the today’s sickest lyricist.
The Future featured “Pain” is surprisingly pretty good. Many hardcore rap fans don’t feel Future at all. They feel he’s basically the current version of T-Pain. But he may have gave Pusha a hit record here which is clearly the main objective for this collab. Instead of taking a Future collaborate and wasting it rapping about the same cliche topics, Pusha took it a different route to where we get a glimpse of what Pusha’s struggle within the street life and everyday living as a Black Man(As Captured on the video)
The album’s final track titled S.N.I.T.C.H reunites him with his fellow VA and former Clipse producer Pharell. This track is similar to the Clipse classic titled “Cotdamn” where Pharell sung the addictive hook. This would have been much better had Pharell got somebody else to sing the hook because he sounds too much like Future, But Pusha’s tales of a former friend turn Snitch carries it throughout and bring life into the track.
Overall this was a solid debut from Pusha. There are instances where I feel he OD’s on the Autotune throughout this album and the obvious for radio cuts throws the album out of track. But considering this is a major label debut from Push, This comes across as pretty solid. He shows why he’s possibly one of the game premier lyricists. Even though it has its mistakes, Pusha’s ability to bring what could have been weak songs to life is a gift. Definitely work checking out despite the obvious skippable songs
Vic Da Ruler
Rating: 7.5 Outta 10