written by Carla Bynum
Pusha signed with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint in 2010 and released his debut solo album My Name is My Name on October 7, 2013. His sophomore album King Push—Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude was released on December 18th and is the introduction to his highly anticipated album King Push.
Pusha T has long been praised for his lyrical flow and unique style and that is no different on King Push—Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude. The album features guest appearances from Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, Beanie Sigel, Kehlani, Ab-Liva, Jill Scott, and The-Dream. The album is supported by three singles: “Untouchable” was released as the first single on November 12th, “M.F.T.R.” featuring The-Dream was released on December 8th, and “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets” was released on December 11th.
“Intro” leads us into the album with a certainty that Pusha T is known for. Mr. Lee, previously heard on the “We Got it for Cheap” intro on Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury album, makes an appearance here and asks Pusha who he wants to be. Does he want to be a drug dealer or influence the world because he can’t do both. He needs to pick one.
”Untouchable” is produced by Timbaland and contains a sample of The Notorious B.I.G.’s verse on Pudgee’s 1995 single “Think Big.” Pusha aims to make music that is true to his core and is of quality. Lyrically, he believes he is untouchable in the rap game and this song proves it.
“M.F.T.R.” stands for more famous than rich which Pusha T says is a real thing in the music business. Some artists chase the fame and end up with nothing to show for it in the end. He also mentions how he thinks Tyga is smart for leaving Cash Money Records because of issues with his money. Tyga already told us that he doesn’t want the fame but he wants to be rich. The-Dream makes an appearance on the song.
Growing up, Pusha T looked up to his favorite rappers as if they were superheros but now that he is in the rap industry, he feels as though he’s the only superhero left. Now it seems as though all the artists present today are victimized and that’s not him. “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets” was released as the albums third single on December 11th.
The-Dream, Kanye West, and A$AP Rocky join Pusha T on the song “M.P.A.” which is an acronym for money, pussy, and alcohol. Pusha T believes that money, pussy, and alcoholare three vices that plague black men, especially those entangled in the street culture. The three things that appeal to these men are the same things that end up killing them. Interestingly enough, A$AP Rocky has a song titled “PMW (All I Really Need)” on his debut album about the three things he can’t live without: pussy, money, and weed.
“Got Em Covered” features a guest appearance from Ab-Liva, who also made an appearance on Pusha T’s debut album. Pusha T is known for rapping about his life as a drug dealer and he’s made so much money for it he’s set for life. Now that he is no longer in the drug industry, he still has his drug dealers covered. The song is produced by Timbaland.
“Keep Dealin’” focuses on Pusha T’s life before the fame when he was a drug dealer and how he made millions. When you make fast money, it can disappear just as fast and that’s how he lost millions but it’s important to keep working to get the money back. Beanie Sigel shares the same sentiments and details how he lost his own millions.
Pusha T raps about getting money and how a person can change once they start making a certain kind of money on “Retribution” featuring Kehlani.
Pusha T hasn’t always been respected as an artist in the rap industry and prior to getting his big break, he was a drug dealer who was getting money and making deals on his pager. He is kicking around drug money like it’s “F.I.F.A.,” which stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association and is the worldwide governing body of association football, also known as soccer.
Jill Scott joins Pusha T on the album’s closer “Sunshine” which takes a look at the police brutality going on in urban neighborhoods. Pusha T says that he doesn’t believe there is ever a valid enough reason for a police officer to murder an unarmed person. He also states that he doesn’t believe that all cops are bad but we have seen too much of the bad in recent times with the happenings in Ferguson and Baltimore, just to name a few.
At just over 30 minutes, King Push: Darkest After Dawn: The Prelude seems like more of a teaser than an actual album. When things start to get good, it’s over. However, if this is the appetizer, I can’t wait for the main course in 2016 when he finally releases King Push. Fingers crossed.