Album Review Of Pusha T’s ‘DAYTONA’

8.5/10

“In a cranberry roaster, inside track on a G-Rap poster, best D-boy all I’m missing is a Dash… Difference between me and Hova… but I’m King Push…” These self effacing bars off the Pusha T’s solo debut My Name Is My Name accurately position Push’s place in hip-hop’s landscape. 

His career has rivaled G-Rap more than Hov in regards to sales and chart presence, but his major industry moves (President of G.O.O.D. Music & Adidas contract) have been more in the vein of Jay. Much like his after mentioned predecessors, Pusha’s real life drug underworld affiliations are well documented and have left Push as a last man standing of sorts in life and rap. 

With his big brother Malice by his side in the late 90’s a group from Virginia that dubbed themselves Full Eclipse with the lead single “The Funeral” receiving some national notoriety. All of their trapstar contemporaries (T.I. Rick Ross, Jeezy, etc.) had yet to be noticed let alone signed. They would appear over two years later with a new name, The Clipse and arguably the greatest hustler’s anthem ever “Grindin.” And the emcee Pusha Ton was placed in raps consciousness.

Almost two decades later, Pusha T is still utilizing his time as hustler as a spring board for his top tier wordplay, blinding arrogance, and “Flow running on Big’s heels” delivery to brilliance “You all get a bird this ni#%@ Oprah” and also to his detriment. While nobody has sounded this good at talking the life this late this long, he’s been talking about it a long time. His core fan base is aware of his endeavors in prison reform, helping out the community in Flint with the water crisis, shooting the gift with Aaron Rodgers via Adidas sponsorship. 

The problem is not with the rhetoric he does provide, but with what he does not provide because he is more than capable and is living a supreme baller alerts lifestyle that could be just as enticing musically as his prior ‘trade’.

In fairness the subject matter switches happen subtly, the average listener will miss the other content he provides because of how masterfully he moves and manipulates his words and styles-his pen game has always been upper echelon and Daytona is no different in that regard either.

It has been a long time since Kanye West has been on a winning streak. There was a time when Mr. West was a visionary beat maker capable of executive producing classic material. Daytona lends hope and credence that those days are fast approaching (weekly for the next month apparently). 

The good news is that Kanye the sound architect, sample pimp extraordinaire, is alive and well on Pusha’s I got time, piece Daytona. The production is wonderfully eclectic and minimalist in the approach; he has not been in the pocket stylistically with an artist like this since he took the reigns for Common’s career defining classic Be.

The sparse, off kilter instrumentation coupled with Pusha’s top 5 flow make for an enjoyable 21 minute listen. He sounds, spits, talks supreme shit as effortlessly as he ever has in his career. While lyrically not his pinnacle (Hell Hath No Fury, Til The Casket Drops), the gems are still plentiful.

Kanye West, the executive producer is a total asshole, the album cover was chosen and acquired in horrific taste. I can identify creatively with the representation of one Whitney Houston’s vanity area after an alleged binge given the context of the artist and the type of imagery he has previously provided; “Them kilos came we gave you Bobby Brown jaw.”

It sheds poor light on a black woman who is arguably the greatest singer ever male or female and as a community we have to do better how we project with and carry each other, especially given the America’s current climate. There are a lot of lows in Kanye’s last 5-7 years and this ranks high on that low’s list. 

I am aware as a believer that there is significance in the number seven, at a frighteningly brief 21 mins-the problem therein lies that by the time the listener has settled in to the grooves of opulence and evil genius, the groove is gone because the album is over. I understand in these attention deficit times that you only have a moment literally to make an impression. It would have at least been nice to hear “Drug Dealers Anonymous” as a bonus track. That mammoth of a collaboration deserves placement on someone’s album.

While sinister yet reflective “What Would Meek Do” feat. Kanye West is at the peak of this mountain top (this duo’s new God flow chemistry is still intact), it is the album’s finale “Infared” that has generated the buzz with not so thinly veiled shots at Pusha’s three favorite targets: Wayne, Baby, and Drake.

While the recent Drake response is good, for many as myself who love a great rap battle, this maybe too little too late. Pusha has been downright disrespectful to borderline bullying these guys for the better part of the decade at virtually any point he chooses so he may choose to not take Aubrey’s diss seriously but here’s to hoping.

Although not a classic Daytona is a strong effort that has reaffirmed Ye’s status has legendary producer. You might need to be a certain age to truly appreciate some of the bars “I’m top 5 and they all Dy-lan.” Pusha-T’s place has the king of coke rap is secure with no apologies or fucks given along the way.

Armaud Cooper
Armaud Cooper

East Atlanta raised West Charlotte made Keeper of the FIRE