One thing Pusha T has never been shy about, on almost every record, is his drug dealing days. He’s usually rejuvenating the subject with slick rhyme schemes and dope metaphors. Now president of GOOD Music, he’s relaying the inevitable truth of being known as King Push. Except he has two humps on his long path to be properly named that by the public; one is his follow-up King Push, while the second is more long-term as he needs to facilitate who’s signed and the quality of the artists. He definitely has the momentum for King Push, even if the prelude is somewhat forgettable.
The album isn’t devoid of lyrical ineptness, in fact Pusha kills it on that front, but it doesn’t reflect the album as a whole, though on one occasion does Pusha get the boot by The Dream.
He bodies a spectacular hook on “M.F.T.R.” or “More Famous Than Rich,” and Pusha T delivers some of the best verses, full of metaphors and clever word play. As it progresses, it regresses to how he’s the scariest coke-rapper in the game — something that’s been known since his Clipse days. The instrumental contains complex layers of percussion, creepy keys and synths, which is unlike some of the instrumentals on the album; all of them coming from a variety of producers.
This comes to be beneficial for Pusha T. And of course with every positive, the negative is reflected in his ability to deliver over certain productions. “FIFA,” for example, is produced by Q-Tip, which relays his usual slow jazz inspired percussion and brass-electronica as the recurring under layer. There’s “M.P.A.” or “Money, Pussy, Alcohol”, which contains a lazy Kanye West, Che Pope and J. Cole made instrumental. It’s a disappointment as Pope has produced some quality tracks on Miseducation of Lauren Hill. It’s also subject to a lazy hook that never demonstrates this album’s full potential.
You can say Push has always been an interesting rapper for sure, but consistent use of similar subject matter, themes and production keeps him devoid of being capable of expanding horizons. This was heavily evident on his previous album My Name is My Name. He’s trying to make it a point to have listeners understand that he’s rap game’s most dastardly Villain. He’s the Dick Dastardly of the rap game’s wacky races. At times it feels as Push is trying to bring his Clipse days with double the effort, but lesser on the content value.
Unfortunately for Pusha T, he’s improved on the variety aspect of his music, but everything else is often underwhelming or whelming. If split into thirds, the first third is the best part of the album, while the middle is weaker and the last is mostly decent.
This album’s forgettable nature comes from the middle. After the disappointing “M.P.A.” only Beanie Siegel’s verse on “Keep Dealing,” and “Retribution,” as a whole are amazing tracks, but it’s muddled over oddities from Pusha’s attempt at being radio friendly. As well as his typical narrative driven delivery that still holds the mold, but isn’t really keeping the interest for King Push alive. Unless you want to count this as the teaser you don’t want.
“M.P.A,” “Got Em Covered” and “Sunshine,” come off as the most forgettable tracks, specifically “Sunshine,” which underuses a great talent in Jill Scott.
In a way this teaser doesn’t feel complete. Most of the instrumentations are consistently similar with the percussion being off kilter on most of it, though it complements the album’s mood.
It’s a case where you want this to be what you wanted from the near 40 Push, but he’s nowhere near that scale on this second half. It’s honestly at a similar level as My Name is My Name, and that’s a completely fine thing. Here’s hoping he prevails with King Push.