Pusha T

Originally known as one half of the group Clipse, Pusha T has quickly established himself as a fiery Virginia MC, delivering colorful street rhymes with vivid imagery.  As a continuation to Pusha T’s popular Fear of God mixtape, the widely anticipated Fear Of God II:  Let Us Pray marks Pusha’s solo debut on the G.O.O.D. Music label.

In typical Pusha T fashion, most of the rapping is pretty look-at-me mixed with dope dealer, and inner city repping.  Pusha’s rhymes are mostly clever and potent, but a lot of time is spent rehashing the same hustler themes and street montages.   However, this certainly doesn’t thwart the LP because what Pusha lacks in depth and subject matter the production and guest appearances more than makes up for.  For instance, featuring Kanye West and Young Jeezy the thundering bass and catchy pretentious verses over “Amen” make it one of the LP’s more memorable offerings.  Another album gem is “Trouble On My Mind” which features Tyler, The Creator and Pusha exchanging sharp bars over a horn blaring backdrop.

Also noteworthy is “I Still Wanna”, a bold compelling anthem that boasts an addictive hook: “See my face on the news and it aint Tivo/I still wanna sell kilo’s. It’s like I’m throwing rocks at the pen begging for the rico/I still wanna sell kilo’s.  Searching for the fish scale like I’m tryna find Nemo...”  And while Pusha delivers stellar rhymes like “You know what fame is?  Sitting with the woman of your dreams and forgetting what her name is” he is joined by Rick Ross and Ab Liva who both offer grandiose performances.  Also, the slightly hypnotic chattering piano sample combined with bouncy drums, a slick chorus delivered by Pharrell, and standout verses from Pusha and 50 Cent,  make “Raid” a headnodic delight.

Still the LP’s best moments are when Pusha digs deeper.  Where tracks like “So Obvious” and “My God” fall short of much beyond glitz, glamour and hustle jargon, “Everything That Glitters” is an intense track that shows a more self-reflective side of Pusha where he gives testimonies like “Better know who that is looking in the mirror.  The truth lies and your soul can’t see clearer.”  And “Alone in Vegas” also inspires more introspective rhymes from Pusha: “Rip me apart and see what’s inside of this pinata.”

By now, Pusha T has pretty much solidified his status as a top MC in hustle rap.  Whether or not he will continue to do more introspective music remains to be seen but hell he’s good at it and it would definitely be a pleasant deviation from the norm.

-Andrea D. Wilson