@PUSHA_T Darkest Before Dawn - Review by @Mariannoo
Walk with me for a few.
Intro (2:33): Immediately the sample is speaking about one being torn between being 3 people at a time “1 for me, and 1 for you, and 1 for them” that sets the tone on Pusha choosing to be himself with his darkest project yet. “Leave your conscience at the door…” is the very first line Push speaks to confirm it.
[Standout bar from this track]: “I done been blackballed, and never gave a f**ck cuz I’m Jack Frost of selling that blast off”
2. "Untouchable” (3:09): as the “lyrically I’m…untouchable, uncrushable” BIG sample floats over a very different, but amazing, sounding TImbo beat, Pusha aims to show why he’s not to be trifled with when it comes to the bars, and from the looks of it he’s a marksman.
[Standout bar from this track]: “my breakdown game brought me 8 Mile fame, selling Eminem to him and them”
(SIDENOTE: the length of this song is the exact date BIG died [3:09 3/9] and he’s on the sample, carry on…)
3. “M.F.T.R.” (ft. The Dream) (4:07): which stand for More Famous Than Rich; here we get Pusha’s view on those who prefer fame over money. The hook is like Dream saw Pusha cutting to the rim and threw him the perfect lob because it absolutely brings the song home.
[Standout bar from this track]: “filling all standing orders, would you question could I swim if you saw me walking on water? While every song got a rapper dance, I’m drug money like Dapper Dan.”
4. “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets (2:24): here we hear exactly how Pusha views the current landscape in rap, as he boasts, “all I see is victims”. Seeing himself as the last rap super hero and one of the last few holding the torch for authenticity he speaks on said disappointment while assuring us he won’t be a vic.
[Standout bar from this track]: “rappers is victimized at an all time high, but not I, you pop niggas thought I’d let it fly. I’m Yasiel Puig, I’m in another league, I defected; only thing we got in common? Niggas bleed.”
5. “M.P.A.” (ft. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, The Dream) (4:45): Money, Pussy, Alcohol. Don’t worry, the features read much different than they sound. At first glance you think this is a DJ Khaled type record with the features but The Dream sings the opening bridge while Ye and Rocky are on the hook and doing background work. Title is pretty much self-explanatory as Pusha breaks down the weaknesses of most rappers and people in general, learn a lesson.
[Standout bar from this track]: is basically the whole joint if I’m being real. To quote one bar wouldn’t do it justice because the intricate story telling is a MUST hear front to back. My personal favorite bar is “money, pussy alcohol, what a wonderful cocktail. Fronted my first brick over oxtails…and ran with it.”
6. “Got Em Covered” (ft. Ab Liva) (3:15): Pusha brings back a familiar voice, Re-Up Gang’s own Ab Liva over a totally abstract Timb beat. This has vintage “We Got It For Cheap” mixtape series energy and the chemistry is A1 per usual.
[Standout bar from this track]: “not concerned with ya rap beef, poetic justice watching you sock puppets.” which I took as a jab at Wayne for his current situation with Cash Money, like Pusha is telling him this is karma.
7. “Keep Dealing” (ft. Beanie Sigel) (4:11): Sigel was in an incident earlier this year where he was shot and his voice being a little off is one of the results. At first listen I thought he was Ab Liva, but you hear that Philly come out as the verse progresses, yea he STILL got it. Pusha and Sigel recall how they had minor setbacks but their stash kept them above water.
[Standout bar from this track]: Sigel “Spend it all till I’m swallowing dirt, cuz I ain’t never seen a Brinks truck follow a hearse.”
8. “Retribution” (ft. Kehlani) (3:18): What can I say, man…..the bass on this track is incredible. Kehlani sounds like a unicorn making snow angels in coke as she sings the hook. Pusha plays with the flow, riding the beat perfectly, poking his chest out like he just hit the game winner from half court with the bars.
[Standout bar from this track]: “I’m the fire and the base, I’m admired by the greats. This to each and every rap nigga; I look you liars in the face.”
9. “F.I.F.A.” (2:18): By far the most mind blowing beat on the album. Just…pure hip hop drugs for the user in audio form on this production. “drug money kicked around like it’s FIFA”, more brilliant coke talk and stern warnings about crossing him in a different form from King Push.
[Standout bar from this track]: “they been tryna tie me to the BALCO, too many clicks in the dial tone. I’m my city’s Willie Falcon, how you niggas celebrating Alpo?”
10. “Sunshine” (ft. Jill Scott) (3:13): here we get Pusha over the perfect mix of boom bap and soul production speaking on the current social issues such as Baltimore with Freddie Gray and how the system views young black men “just another nigga dead, just another nigga dead. Send another to the FEDs, send another to the FEDs.” Jill Scott is audio soul food as usual, singing beautifully on the hook to give the song the right seasoning.
[Standout bar from this track]: “Sunday to Sunday, pastor only want one day. Grandma praying one day, but God can’t hear it over gunplay.”
All in all, this album is sonically and lyrically the best I’ve heard this year. 10 songs is the perfect, straight to the point length album, and Push delivered. Now, excuse me while I grow braids and bag this flour. YUUGGHHCK.