Release Date: Dec 18, 2015
Record label: G.O.O.D.
Even in the exponentially softening climate of competitive sports, one is repeatedly taught since their pop warner years that the only efficient method to keep an opponent from running up the score is to stop them. In spite of his imposing track record, Pusha T’s proclamation last summer that his goal was to “always have Hip Hop Album of the Year” sounded more like well wishes than prophecy. 2013’s My Name Is My Name, his debut solo effort, hardly wasted any time on the digital shelves before being argued as one of the most impressive releases of the year.
Pusha T :: King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The PreludeG.O.O.D. MusicAuthor: Zach GasePusha T has a classic album in him.With his 2013 full-length debut album, "My Name Is My Name," Pusha T was frustratingly close. That album had nine flawless coke-rap records with tight production and laser-sharp writing. Unfortunately the album's other three cuts ever-so-slightly tarnished an otherwise perfect LP.After a relatively quiet 2014 and 2015, Push popped up in November when he was announced as the new president of G.O.O.D.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The president of G.O.O.D Music has addressed you; snarling through his teeth. He's been watching all along and isn't pleased in the slightest. And now, because of us, no one is safe. Pusha T's highly-anticipated second solo studio album King Push ….
Pusha T occupies a unique spot in hip-hop. He's a twenty-year veteran with access to the swankiest production but very little of the nagging pressure to surf mainstream trends that runs his peers ragged. He wrestled the major label rap machine and won, and his scathing sneer has menaced a decade of hip-hop top dogs, from Lil Wayne to Drake. He's the rare instance of a rap talent sharpening over time; few who made their first recordings in the late '90s, as he did as one half of the Clipse, can be argued to possess a firmer grasp on their voice today than in their youth.
Pusha T’s previous duo, Clipse, never truly hit commercially, despite being one of the finest lyrical partnerships around. At an age when many rappers are overtaken, Terrence Thornton’s second act has now expanded to include the presidency of Kanye West’s record label and the first of two linked albums. The Prelude finds T’s distinctive flow and trademark “yeuch” of disgust allied to uncommercial but excellent beats.
There’s a theory that contemporary hip-hop is harbouring a silent majority. A Nixonesque mass who quietly back (and buy) “real” hip-hop (Kendrick Lamar, J Cole) rather than vacuous trap and radio rap (Kanye West, Drake). Pusha T represents something of a bridge between the two worlds, mixing his very real lyrical prowess with stories of drug dealing and debauched living that are so often the wont of trap stars.
It’s fitting that ‘King Push – Darkest Before The Dawn: The Prelude’ eyed its release for the end of 2015. With an army of hip-hop’s biggest and brightest names coming together to write, produce and feature, ‘Darkest Before The Dawn’ feels like a celebration of the year in hip-hop. This was one last big blow-out before 2015 ended, with Pusha T himself as the guest of honour.
A teaser for an upcoming album, Pusha T's 2015 effort is uneven, odd, and hard to navigate, but like his cohort Kanye West, this rapper remains an unstoppable artist, even when presented in shards and strange experiments. King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude comes with plenty of examples of both, but the MC pushes out honest and riveting lyrics like "They call him a 'crack dealer'/I am like Warhol/Gonna paint a picture of a bullet for all y'all" ("Keep Dealing") at an amazing rate, so navigating even his more "difficult" releases yields plenty of gold. He's also a Warhol who is more proud of his cocaine-dealing days than his current status of revered rapper plus CEO of Kanye West's GOOD Music label, an attitude fleshed out on "M.
While many media outlets, including Exclaim!, already settled up their annual Album of the Year lists, veteran emcee Pusha T's latest effort, King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, has left the writing community in a regrettable frenzy. With lyrical prowess and lush production, the newly appointed G.O.O.D. Music president speaks to street dreams and drug dealer destinies, cementing his crown as King Push.Lead singles "M.T.F.R., "Crutches, Crosses & Caskets" and "Untouchable" set the tone for Darkest Before Dawn, establishing nuanced production and gritty drug rap at its best.
What’s so markedly scary about Pusha T is that he desires to be the villain. It’s not about machismo (he rarely speaks of women thus degrading them is rare) or even the almighty dollar (plenty of which he could make legitimately as the new president of Kanye’s label). As he spat with fiendish, maniacal glee on 2013’s My Name Is My Name, “I just want to sell dope forever / I just want to be who I am.” Or try his heel’s credo on the new “M.P.A.”: “They want to bury me / Because I’m anti-everything.” What is he? A pusher.
Pusha T isn’t the good guy. The first words out of his mouth on Darkest Before Dawn, a chest-beating victory lap and the prelude to his oft-delayed, highly anticipated 2016 album, King Push, are “leave your conscience at the door.” It isn’t a warning; it’s a command, an industry requirement put forth by a rapper who treats coke like chalk in a LeBron James pre-game celebration. Pusha is America’s worst nightmare: a remorseless, industrious hood entrepreneur turning 13 hundred an ounce into Enzos, LaFerraris, and a quarter million dollar gig as president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D.
The cover art for Pusha T’s previous album, My Name is My Name, was an austere barcode, rigid lines and numbers—identifying yet obscuring, unique yet universal. The music followed suit, featuring Pusha simultaneously returning to the coke-peddling state of mind from his early career and bouncing around contemporary rap’s eclectic soundscape. Quite explicitly, that album was an effort to establish who Pusha T was and who he could be, to brand him.
King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude is very much a mixtape style release, but it succeeds thanks to Pusha T’s menacing charisma and a laundry list of producers that is too big to fail. It isn’t as mesmerizing as My Name is My Name, but succeeds as a holdover for the G.O.O.D. Music president as he preps his next project, King Push. At a lean ten tracks, Pusha T’s new record isn’t going to earn him any new fans, but for people who’ve been jonesing for pure cocaine rap it will certainly serve as a satisfying fix.
Pusha T, pushing 40, is not afraid to forge ahead in his own lane. The Clipse rhyme backflipper’s second solo album has assists from a co-op's worth of industry heavies, with multiple productions by Puff Daddy, Timbaland and Kanye West on just 10 lean tracks. And just as Pusha advises listeners to "leave your conscience at the door" for another cool 34 minutes of mafioso puns ("banana clips for all you Curious Georges"), these A-list producers seem to leave their resumés at the door, too – they all bend to the Virginia MC’s world of minimalist clanks, sideways rhythms and funky menace.
As its name would suggest, King Push—Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude is a bleak, caustic, and at times unsettling listening experience. It is a 10-track twisted odyssey crafted by one of the most lyrically gifted rappers of the 21st century as he unloads on a range of specific enemies and larger issues both real and perceived. Never before, either in his solo work or as a member of Clipse, has Pusha T sounded more pissed off.
He's finally done it. After the promising mixtapes, unlikely guest spots (Pixie Lott anyone?) and fitfully great solo debut proper, Pusha T has delivered his long-promised "hip hop album of the year". 10 tracks, 33 minutes and a full deck of superproducers doing some of their wildest work to date, dropped, in time-honoured rap fashion, the week before Christmas.
Few musicians can boast a career that includes being signed to Pharrell's and then Kanye's labels, picking up a Grammy nomination for Justin Timberlake's debut solo single and serving as president of Kanye's record label. Expectations are appropriately high for Pusha T's new solo album. Darkest Before Dawn, the prelude to King Push (out in the spring), is the answer to hip-hop's generation gap.
The number of rappers who’ve been able to maintain a critical and commercial buzz beyond one hyped album is surprisingly titchy. In October 2013, US hipster-hop mag Complex put together a list of MCs who’d managed objectively successful five-year runs within the 40-year-old genre, and came up with just 20 names, nearly all of which were big: Tupac (1992-1996), The Notorious B.I.G. (1993-1997), Kanye West (2007-2011) and Drake (2009-2013).