Pusha T might have been a legend off his work with Clipse alone, but with the release of 2018’s Daytona, fully produced by Kanye West, he has ascended to a much higher level of respect and popularity in the game. Crowned by many as the greatest, most iconic coke rapper, the anticipation for his follow up has been sky high and would really solidify that status. Well not only does his new album It’s Almost Dry live up to the hype, but it’s also a game changer.
Linking with Pharrell Williams and Kanye West for the whole album, we get a blend of Push’s best styles from throughout his whole career. There’s the futuristic, minimal percussion of The Neptunes accented by Kanye’s more soulful take on the sound. Everything is at once barren, yet so hard hitting, polished and forward thinking. Beat’s like “Neck and Wrist” or “Open Air” could almost put you in a “how it feels to chew 5 Gum” commercial, while “Diet Coke” for example is just so ostentatiously crisp.
Kilogram Kickstarter, push a brick harder
Left my elbow in the pot, a la Vince Carter
Compared to two martyrs but I’m chasing moguls
Bosses meet for Hamachi in the back of Nobu
Lyrically, Push doesn’t reinvent the wheel on It’s Almost Dry – and we never wanted him to. You’re always sure to get next level cocaine wordplay, untouchable flexes, and menacing flows. In fact, given the Joker aesthetic he’s adopted with this rollout, he’s gone for an even more unhinged, villain role than ever on some records here. “Call My Bluff” is one of the best songs on here and has Push sounding chilling over this dark baseline and odd squeals. He even breaks from the relaxed flow for some cackling ad libs.
By the same token, there are some subtly more vulnerable, cathartic moments on this album. For example, “Rock N Roll” is an epic sounding track that features a washed out hook from Kid Cudi – whose fit on the album was unclear, but was executed tastefully – and sees Push reflecting on how he maintains the hustle even after making it big. The chopped, chipmunk vocal sample is so catchy too, just a mark of quintessential modern Kanye. The album’s outro “I Pray For You” is another downtrodden moment and perhaps the album’s greatest highlight. We get a rare, killer verse by No Malice over a knocking organ sample which fits his character so well.
Other standout tracks include “Dreamin of the Past”, where Push bellows some bars in a high pitch we never hear from him, spitting some of his best bars on the whole project (“Fuck all your top fives, I only see top me, award shows the only way you bitches could rob meeeee!”), The beat really sounds straight out of an old timey saloon and would’ve been right at home on Kids See Ghosts. There’s also “Scrape it Off the Top”, another track which might raise some eyebrows but works surprisingly well. Uzi actually has some tight bars and continues to prove his chemistry with Pharrell.
Pusha T’s face should now inarguably be carved in mountains of white among the likes of Raekwon and Biggie. Many have already seen him as one of the greats, but his discography at this point is becoming undeniable. With yet another album of the year contender under his belt, Push continues to prove why he’s the best at what he does while over immaculate, unorthodox production from two established legends.