Christmas 2015 – I have spent a long time going over the entries from the year for ‘Album of the year’. I catch Hau from Triple J radio in Australia talking about an album he wanted to preview by no other than Mr G.o.o.d music himself – Pusha T – and for a second I get nervous i might have to lose someone from my existing list. A name like Pusha T hasn’t been in enough people’s mouths for it to find its way into your everyday Australian conversations. Well at least it hadn’t , in my opinion , in December 2015. Don’t get me wrong i think that’s a sad state of affairs but it was what it was.
Flash forward to mid 2016 and while I am hearing some amazing releases I seem to forever be reaching for the comfort of this album. Its the stark balance between modern and traditional . This is an album where you head in expecting Push to give you the sparse kick hat landscape of today’s sound, you want the genius lyricist but would settle for half of either . What you get is all of that but a whole lot more in terms of depth, soul and longevity. It has taken me 6 months to pry apart the likes of J Cole’s – M.P.A . A deeply profound statement wrapped in the gloss of modern simplicity in both production and lyrics. Money , Pussy & Alcohol isn’t a new concept – neither is emotive piano and Kayne’esque sentence darts. You hear so much of that sludge but there aren’t the complex punch-ins this has, there isn’t the metaphors and while I see more triple meaning work these days … It doesn’t feel this natural in terms of technique.
Pusha wasn’t shy about blowing the balloon up that carries albums to the lofty heights . For many the lead up felt almost too risky – there was anxiety – for Pusha’s sake. So many before have come before soapboxing their work to be Album of the year to only find the cold response of failure. You wanted Pusha T to succeed but knew how easily failure could embarrass someone who had been so outspoken across the radio. Second albums aren’t a thing of beauty – ASAP – but this was a solid statement his brand had done the research and produced gold. Production alone is worthy of Album of the year but for me its in his lyrics that the true beast lies and mroe than that the restraint. There aren’t catchy hooks by well known artists ( Dream comes back to roost ) , there isn’t gimmicy music videos – it’s what it sets out to be . A hip-hop album of our time.
You are captured by his wordplay , it draws you in to it like a puzzle. For most writers it’s a puzzle they have broken apart and solved over and over again. To then have a finished product in itself that feels like a cryptic crossword is very very difficult. Really the only criticism is the content isnt always interesting. I don’t mean that it comes across boring but more it can be repetitive. You expect dope slinging , street life and bling baths but i’d hoped for less. Pusha T it isn’t about making music for all ears. He knows his audience and the business man manufactures a product that’s top of it’s line.
Quick standouts Untouchable and Sunshine.
” Dope is like a 2 way street – The addiction both you and me”