The last we heard of Pusha T in album form was quite the monumental one, releasing Daytona back in 2018 as a part of the GOOD Music rollout with Kanye West producing 5 7-track albums that summer, and Daytona got critical acclaim for being lean and mean with killer bars and no filler, delivering one of the best albums of that year and even one of the best diss tracks against Drake following the album with “The Story of Adidon”. Now that was… well… a cruel summer for Drake (at least on that part).
Since then, we have been anticipating another project from King Push with a few loosies here and there along with some features on albums from Freddie Gibbs, IDK, Benny the Butcher and of course, him making an Arby’s jingle, dissing the Filet-O-Fish, and it still sounds like an usual song from him, coke bars and all.
Now we have his 4th album out, It’s Almost Dry (and his last with Def Jam, fulfilling his contract). The singles have been promising with “Diet Coke”, “Hear Me Clearly” (which that was a track on Nigo’s album released a few weeks back) and “Neck and Wrist,” and of course, there’s some changes from going 7 to 12 tracks but still in a manageable length of 35 minutes and varied producers outside of Kanye West, such as Pharrell, FnZ, and 88-Keys among others. Now we get to that usual question. How was it?
Well, I’ll say this. This is quite another great album from Pusha but as something following Daytona, it’s… still good. First off, let me get this out of the way. If you know coming into a Pusha T album that you’ll be getting some coke rap, then you’re going to dig the album a lot. But if you surprised that the subject matter doesn’t change much… well, my guess is you probably haven’t listened to a Pusha T album in full and you know what? Sometimes when artists stray from what they usually talk about, it can be good but sometimes when you stick to your bread and butter and still make it worthwhile listening to, that’s fine too.
The opening track “Brambleton” references a Virginia road where Pusha’s mother used to work when he was a kid and brought up the time his boy was shot when Clipse was starting out and airing out his former Clipse manager on a Pharrell beat that does have that menacing vibe. But the beat with that vibe is done 10x better in the next track, “Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes” and already I’m loving every minute of it, especially the chorus.
If money is the evil root
Let the smokers shine the coupes
Rich bitches that love the boost
I’m just here to find the truth
If kilograms is the groove
I done sold the golden goose
I got ’em, baby, I’m Jim Perdue
Cocaine’s Dr. Seuss
“Just So You Remember” has an interesting sample going for it with the song “Six Day War” by Colonel Bagshot. Some of you are wondering “what?” and the thing is that song has been sampled before way, way back in the 2000s by DJ Shadow with his most well-known song “Six Days” with Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) and the song does have that raw feeling put into it with bars like:
Just so you remember who you dealing with
The number don’t change, I know who the chemist is
Brick by brick, we kept open dealerships
Mitch by mitch, we built up our villages
Seein’ you rappers apply for the stimulus
Livin’ a lie, but die for your images
It’s guns involved like cowboys and Indians
You Trackhawk niggas are not my equivalent
As for the songs with features with it, I’ll get “Neck and Wrist” out of the way first with Jay-Z having some some good bars in there, especially with how you buy fake watches with real money, and while the hook is nice, Pharrell trying to sound menacing doesn’t work for me. (Kan)Ye as a producer here does do wonders here and like in DAYTONA, he deliver those gritty but polished sounds in his production. However as a feature, his verses on both “Dreamin’ of the Past” and “Rock N Roll” mostly involve his divorce from Kim Kardashian aka a topic I will not discuss on here, but on the latter track Kid Cudi is on there with him as this was recorded before they were feuding, so this might be the last Kids See Ghosts related content you’ll see in a while. Also for Kid Cudi’s feature on here, it’s a decent verse with the usual Kid Cudi-isms like the hums, and you’ll also hear Beyonce as that song samples her on her song “1+1”.
“Call My Bluff” was one track I wasn’t initially into at first with the weird circus music beat and the one J. Cole line (Sometimes I wish my fanbase was more like J. Cole’s) but I mostly got into it after a few listens and I’m digging the beat now. There’s also “Scrape It Off” where Pusha adds in some appeal to younger audiences with Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver, and I admit the combo of them weirded me out at first as I was never an Uzi fan, but I can appreciate some of Uzi’s bars here so it’s slightly better than what I usually hear from him. Also Don Toliver on the chorus is fine enough and Pusha himself does feel abbreviated here.
Closing the album are these two tracks: “Open Air” has Pusha rapping on growing up in the dawn of the crack epidemic to selling it, making a reference to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “The 10 Crack Commandments.” And then of course, the haunting “I Pray For You” with its church organ sound that sounds oddly… euphoric. That and the harmonization is courtesy of Labrinth, and not only that, we get the return of No Malice… or simply Malice as he’s credited. His verse, which was limited to no cursing on it, does deliver the cold and grimy vibe that make Clipse what it is and also the instrumentation is fitting for his verse.
Overall, Pusha T remains consistent and still brings quality over quantity, even if we got more than the last time. He still puts out what he knows and elevates it into something worth listening in the span of 35 minutes. It may not be Daytona or even his 2015 effort, King Push: Darkest Before Dawn – The Prelude but it’s still an album of his I would easily recommend for hip-hop fans.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. Like a painting, the album is dry and ready for your listening pleasure and it is fantastic.
IT’S ALMOST DRY is on GOOD Music/Def Jam Records. It is