Pusha T has been on this odd trajectory during his career. While a member of the Clipse he was well respected by his peers and the underground but mainstream success was somewhat elusive. His perseverance paid off and after his brother took leave of the rap game pusha stepped up even more and built upon his following. Linking up with Kanye West only helped and now he is the President of Good Music and one of a few artists who has managed to build upon a solid core following while not flooding the market too much. As his profile has grown so has the anticipation for his next project, and while the official album is still being waited on, he has just dropped a street album or EP, King Push Darkest Before the Dawn: The Prelude.
The collection starts with the typical heavyweight sound for Pusha, just so you know he's not on some light hearted shit. He goes in with braggadocios bars about his skills both in rap and in the dope game. That leads into the underground single, "Untouchable" which uses a Biggie sample over a haunting string and drum track that's simple yet effective. The second verse is such a stand out and exemplifies what Pusha can do.
Kanye West, Asap Rocky and The Dream feature on "M.P.A." where the first verse is about the fellas and their motivations. money, pussy and alcohol. The second verse is directed to the women who are tired of getting used and Push lets them know to go out and go for theirs. Pusha evens coaxes Beanie Sigel out his exile for "Keep Dealin" where they rap over the idea of doing what it takes to keep moving on the streets. "Retribution" featuring r and b artist Kehlani is decent, it has a different sound and feel to it, a more accessible and friendly song with a booming bass line.
Now I know Pusha loves his dude Ab-Liva but as usual, the song on which he is featured is a weak link. The production is odd to say the least on "Got Em Covered". "F.I.F.A." is alright but really short. "Sunshine", with Jill Scott is a political song with a take from the Virginia Rapper on the events in the news affecting the black communities today.
"M.F.T.R." with The Dream is another banging aggressive song which is the best of Pusha's nature as he observes the world around him and pulls people's cards. Now, "Crutches, Crosses, Caskets" is a different track in the way it feels but Push brings the guns out as he goes off on the attack aiming shots at some of his favorite rap targets from Cash Money. He shows some of his great imagery and his delivery is on point.
Pusha T is a more than capable rapper. Much like I said with the Rick Ross review, he has the ability to paint a great image of his lifestyle for the listener. Unlike the Florida rapper, there is something extra in his delivery that brings an extra edge across when he raps. He also isn't a formulaic rapper, experimenting with different sounds and altering his delivery between and within tracks to bring something new to it. That said, his subject matter is of course limited at times and while this isn't a full album set of songs it could have used a little variety and hopefully when the next project drops it will be more well rounded to break up some of the street tales.