Pusha T - Daytona - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Pusha T - Daytona

by Kyle Kersey Rating:9 Release Date:2018-05-25
Pusha T - Daytona
Pusha T - Daytona

We don’t review a lot of rap here at Soundblab. There’s the occasional alternative hip-hop review that’ll see the light of day (see Open Mike Eagle), but it’s not really our forte here. We cater to the alternative listener, the lover of the weird and off the beaten path. And by and large, the alternative listener couldn’t give two shits about the world of mainstream hip-hop in the same way you won’t find them bumping Five Finger Death Punch on their car stereo or dropping the needle on some fresh Coldplay.

I get it.  But something interesting happened when our writers here at Soundblab compiled an Albums of the Year list for 2018: it was full of hip-hop. Not only that, but it was full of hip-hop albums we didn’t get a chance to review throughout the year. So like Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather, let’s tie up some loose ends.

By all rights, Pusha T should be something of a punk hero in the alternative music community. His approach to hip-hop isn’t all that different from the Sex Pistols approach to rock, which is to say he revels in taboo. His recent bout with pop-rap megastar Drake – in which he became the first artist to not only defeat but humiliate the Toronto native in a diss war, sending him back to the great white north with his tail tucked firmly between his legs – should be the icing on the cake.

His braggadocios tales of drug running and kingpinning (I’m not 100% sure that’s even a word but this is Pusha T, there are no rules, so we’ll just roll with it) are delivered with a Robert DeNiro swagger. Yes, these aren’t exactly qualities that we want our youths emulating, especially in a world currently undergoing an opioid addiction epidemic. But like Scarface, Pusha T isn’t in the business of selling morality; he’s in the business of selling fantasy. He’s Grand Theft Auto: the rapper.

And unlike other rappers who try to push a similar narrative, Mr. T doesn’t sully the bed with recycled macho platitudes. Instead, we get disses (YAY), energy (YAY), complex rhymes (YAY), Rick Ross (uhh…a little bit less yay but his verse is suitable enough so I’ll accept it), and even some humorous Kanye West bars on the back end (POOP, SCOOP, WOOP). He’s a true master of the mic, more Joey Bada$$ than Migos, the merger between bar heavy boom bap of yesteryear and the coarse aesthetic of hardcore hip-hop.

He delivers that fantasy atop some of Kanye West’s dirtiest production to date. The guitar sample on “The Games We Play” slices through the rest of the mix, while “Santaria” closes with a nefarious – dare I say villainous – outro.

In short, this is how you do a short album. No filler. No wasted space. Just 21 minutes of hard-hitting, rhyme-spitting bangers that would fit onto any rap playlist either side of the millennium. Is it To Pimp a Butterfly? (i.e. is it Dark Side of the Moon?) No. It’s not a conceptual opus. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t some of the most fun I’ve had with an album all year.

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