Pusha T’s position in 2016 is one that holds an insane amount of possibilities. Having been one half of Clipse and now president of GOOD Music, it’s very odd how much of a presence Pusha T’s had in the rap world yet still feels that he has to keep proving himself to us. I’ve honestly never met any Pusha T fans. Not that I’ve never met anyone who likes Pusha T, every verse here and there I really enjoy him, but there seems to be no die hard Push fans like there are for Kanye, Chance, Drake, J. Cole & Kendrick etc. So why is that? To me, it comes down to how Push utilizes lyrics & voice.
Production wise, to get out of the way first, he’s the president of GOOD Music, and that stature, mixed with his previous fame, can gather giants like Timbaland, Q-Tip, Puff Daddy, Boi-1da, Metro Boomin’, and Kanye West to the record. Pusha’s production sound is very clean but still raw, like on the single “Untouchable,” where Timbaland samples a rare Biggie track under boom bap style drums. Other than “Get Em Covered,” whose sample is a bit too repetitive and pretty out of time sounding for me to enjoy, the rest of the record’s production is very uniquely Push, and maybe my favorite aspect of Darkest Before Dawn. Other than “Untouchable,” “M.P.A.,” my favorite track of the record, boasts Kanye West production circa My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy tracks like “Gorgeous” or even the recent “Tell Your Friends” off of The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness.
Besides the production, the best part of Darkest Before Dawn, the topic of Pusha’s success and fame vs. rap prominence lies in his lyrics. Pusha T’s voice is exactly where it needs to be, exactly where it was on Kanye’s “So Appalled,” and exactly where it sits on “Untouchable,” but lyrically most of the time, I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s a combination of look where I’m at, look how long I’ve been here, drug pushing past boasting, and just an assortment of the oddest simile’s and references that he could possibly make.
I love how Push sounds, and I love how Darkest Before Dawn sounds, but if his business acumen is to match his rap prominence, the content of King Push is going to have to be clear and cohesive. Push has all the skills and resources that he needs to make King Push amazing, and I’m not saying he hasn’t delivered a decent record with Darkest Before Dawn, but if “The Prelude” is any indication that he’s been saving the best of the best for King Push, then let’s just say that I’m very excited.