|By: Teron Anderson
Mass Communications, University of Florida
[G].O.O.D Music rapper/President Pusha T recently released his latest album King Push- Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude.
This album serves to satiate the masses until the release of his third studio album King Push, which is slated to drop April of next year. Darkest Before Dawn is a project that stays true to its name, as it maintains a dark, edgy, and even somewhat sinister tone throughout.
The album, although rather short in nature with only ten tracks clocking in at 33 mins, includes a plethora of features including artist like The Dream, Beanie Siegel and Jill Scott, along with production from notable names such as Timbaland, Kanye West and Q-Tip.
On the track “Untouchable” King Push explains how the song title applies to himself as he lays out many of his career accomplishments in a rather braggadocios manner rapping:
Mu told me to switch styles/He just came home from the Feds like a mistrial/He tells me I miss out on all that club money, I don’t bounce/Adidas gave me a million and that don’t bounce/The president of G.O.O.D Music has been announced/A quarter million a year and that don’t bounce/I’m in the score of these movies, I’m losing count
Timbaland is to thank for the gritty production on this track that includes a sample from the late great Notorious B.I.G. Timbo did not fail in providing Pusha with a great soundscape for his trademark audacious cocaine rhymes.
Immediately following is “MFTR,” which features The Dream. It’s a song with a very catchy piano loop and nice drum break courtesy of Boi-1da, in addition to having the most infectious hook of the album. This track is certainly one of the standouts.
Continuing along, King Push lets the competition know that there’s no hope on “Crutches, Coffins, Caskets,” as he takes a more minimalist approach in distributing the death blow to his foes. He keeps it very simple and straight to the point as he repeatedly raps:
Crutches, Crosses, Caskets, Crutches, Crosses, Caskets/All I see is victims
The beat on this track is perfect for a cypher, and Pusha T doesn’t fail to do it justice lyrically.
Next track on this project is a bit of a transition from the grim warning shots of “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets”, as Pusha lays out the recipe of the rock star lifestyle on “M.P.A.”
This J. Cole produced cut has the type of vibe that would fit rather nicely on a project like Kanye West’s A Beautiful Dark & Twisted Fantasy with its grimy, rock influenced instrumentation. “M.P.A.” is oddly infectious and features a very powerful yet simplistic hook assisted by A$AP Rocky, as Pusha reminisces on many of the women he’s encountered in his past and how they’ve gone their separate ways.
“Got Em Covered” is King Push back to his classic street rap form, over an offbeat, oddly constructed production courtesy of Timbaland. The production is a bit peculiar to say the least; and I can see an artist like Missy Elliott being a great fit for this type of track.
“F.I.F.A” is a track produced by legendary MC and producer Q-Tip with great potential, but, unfortunately, I found this track a bit underwhelming.
[O]verall, Darkest Before Dawn is a worthy project from Pusha T, but it is not outstanding in any way as a collective.
Pusha stays true to his lyrical ways on his latest work, and there are high points in the production, but there are several lulls in the second half of the project, and it is a bit on the short side as well.
Hopefully, we can get that next classic from King Push at the break of dawn next April.
Standout Tracks: “Untouchable”, “M.F.T.R.”, “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets” and “M.P.A.”
Overall Rating: 7/10