Review Summary: Tell Kanye, he's been 'Caesar'd' once again.
2015, what a time to be alive
, hit-singles, sold-out shows and some real, solid Hip-Hop. At the beginning came Drake, then came Kendrick, Future, Travis and now, here comes the new king, Pusha T. What's a man without a crown? Well, he certainly isn't a king but what if he believes that he is? That's Pusha T. A man, a has-been Coke-dealer on the block, an underground kingpin aspiring to be the 'King' of Rap/Hip-Hop. When Clipse appeared, he and his brother, No Malice, took the world by storm, they breathed life into the streets and into the music genre they loved. The success came, and then Pusha T began to branch out on his own, releasing some good albums, nothing spectacular. He's always danced with greatness, but he's never reached it.
With his previous album, 'My Name is My Name', Pusha wanted to make a statement, that he in-fact may be seen as an underdog but an underdog he certainly isn't. Never once has he believed otherwise, and why would he? It'd be strange for a Rapper, especially from a background such as his to believe that he isn't the best lyricist, and all round Rap God or King. Ferocious singles such as 'Numbers on The Board' and 'King Push', made it pretty clear to the Rap/Hip-Hop world and community what sort of artist they were dealing with, he wasn't just another GOOD music/Def Jam signee, he was something else. Something hand-picked by Kanye, but like a lot of things that Kanye has helped build (even his own career) they've not always beared fruit (Cyhi the Prince, for example), or they've begun to rot (I'm looking at you, Kid Cudi). However, 'MNIMN' (acronyms are so Trap, bruh
) didn't set the world on fire, while it was solid, some of the features (if not most) were lacklustre and the album lost steam pretty quickly. When you tout you're a hardcore Coke-dealer, undisputed King of Rap and you'll crush anyone who's gonna threaten your domination, it's pretty hard to take you seriously when you have Kelly Rowland on a hook about, you guessed it, Love (shudders). I mean, where was Beyonce
Regardless of the reception that his earlier work received, Pusha T has been carefully crafting his long-awaited album, 'King Push' but in the meantime he's managed to deliver a prelude, 'King Push- Darkest Before Dawn'. It sounds pretty ominous doesn't it? Well, it is. Pusha T is like a Pitbull (not the Cuban one) who's rabid and ready to bite, and not just to wound but to kill. The album begins with the aptly titled track 'Intro', which completely sets the tone for the dark, gritty and powerful journey, that you as the listener are about to embark on. The beat shudders and jerks with melody as Pusha spits and snarls over the haunting echoes, reverberating synth and break-neck pace drums, creating a heart-pounding yet anxiety ridden listening experience. It doesn't stop there, track after track, Pusha appears to earn his self-claimed title of a King. Every song offers something, whether it's the head-bobbing sample of 'Untouchable', the menacing yet breathtaking hook of 'M.F.T.R', where The-Dream delivers sinister line after line, enough to strike the fear of God or rather, our dear King Push into our hearts. Another one of the singles, 'Crutches, Crosses and Caskets' again, carries on the fearless approach to Rap Pusha takes. Lyrically, he tears down other Rappers, while not naming any names, he takes shots at half of the industry. The beat grooves and glides at an eerie pace building up to a climax that never materialises, instead we get the following track 'M.P.A'. The fifth track on the album, features Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and The-Dream, who take a stab at that melancholic, self-reflective 'Art' Rap infused Soul approach. It works for the most part and I say that with uncertainty because while the artist himself carries the track with emotional weight and deliberation, the hook seems like something that some has-been drunks in a Go-Go bar have conjured up, not something from two of the biggest Rappers in the 'game' right now. However, that Kanye-assisted track is the only song on the album that has an air of uncertainty, the rest that follow are tightly crafted and come at you at a brisk pace, they never linger for too long. The album itself is short, sweet and definitely well-rounded.
A prelude is a taste of things to come, and with 'Darkest Before Dawn', Pusha T has finally given a reason for his fans, for his peers and for the industry to consider him as 'King'. Whether it's his impeccable taste in beats, that conjure an array of emotions, his ability to deliver the same line about Cocaine a thousand times over but in a fresh, revitalised way or his unquestionable, undeniable presence he has as an artist. His flow commands attention and if you don't pay attention, well it's your life on the line. I'll ask again, what's a man without a crown? A man with an unwavering self-belief in himself, and Pusha T is one step closer to being the King he believes