It’s been nearly four years since Pusha T released an album, and his last release “Daytona” left fans itching for more. For the last two decades, Pusha has been one of Hip-Hop’s mainstays, and he has mastered the art of Coke rap. From the days of “Hell Hath No Fury” to today, Push has been the golden standard in that sub-category of rap. In January, Pusha T teased a song while he was at Paris fashion week, and that song turned out to be ‘Diet Coke’. Since that video dropped, Pusha has been very active, with the release of singles ‘Diet Coke’, ‘Hear Me Clearly’ and ‘Neck and Wrist’, as well as ‘Punch Bowl’ feat. The Clipse on “I Know Nigo. The “Martin Scorsese of Street Rap” has been gearing up for the release of his fourth studio album “It’s Almost Dry” and now it has finally arrived. The album has 12 songs, with six being produced by Pharell Williams and the other six produced by Kanye West. Both producers, who are also very close friends of Push, demand a certain aspect from the rapper on their songs, and you can feel it through the album.
“It’s Almost Dry” is concise. Trimmed of all fat of unnecessary elements. And throughout the album, we get exactly what we expect from Push, and that’s elite Coke bars, storytelling, and the occasional boast of his status, whether it’s in a subtle or brash way. Nearly 20 years in and he has proven himself once again to be one is Hip-Hop’s elite while mastering his sub-genre.
Here is a breakdown of each song from “It’s Almost Dry”.
Brambleton is a storytelling masterpiece about some of Pusha’s experiences coming up. Some of the things he learned came on Brambleton Avenue, which runs right through the heart of Norfolk. In the song, Push talks about things like running the streets and the day-to-day grind he and his former comrade went through. From selling drugs to daydreaming about being moguls, the friendship they shared seemed unbreakable until it wasn’t. Unfortunately, though, that relationship went sour and came to a point of no return when that person went on VladTV to talk about Push for publicity. If you know you know, no pun intended. A very emotional and vulnerable way for Push to start his album, and it sets the tone for the rest.
Let The Smokers Shine The Coupes
Let The Smokers Shine The Coupes is a great change of pace from the slower and more deliberate “Brambleton” track to start it off. On this, Pusha T calls himself “Cocaines Dr. Suess”, which is fitting because there isn’t another rapper alive who can rap about cocaine better than Push. This song is also the first time we here an ominous laugh throughout the song which sounds like it can be straight from the Joker out of a Batman film, which is ironic because Push actually had The Joker playing as they recorded the album. Push raps over a heavy-hitting bass with a chopped sample produced by Kanye.
Dreamin Of The Past (feat. Kanye West)
This song reminds of us vintage Kanye on the production, sampling Donny Hathaway’s “Jealous Guy”. Push raps “it’s levels, it’s layers so pray for the players uh, we hollowed the walls in back of Bodega’s uh”. He boasts about gambling away a small mansion’s worth at MGM but when you’re him, it doesn’t even make a dent in your wallet. Kanye adds a small hook between Push’s verses and gives him all the room to flourish. Push also questions all of the lists and rankings of all the rappers today and says “You hollering Top 5, I only see top me!”. He also takes his time to remind us that there are levels, with one of man subtle flexes saying “I’m, sending Lorraine Schwartz diamond mining, find em’. If you need a reference for that, Lorraine Schwartz is a jewelry designer for the elite of the elite. Not the diamonds and gold you see at your local mall kiosk. Push then raps about how back when he was in the streets that were the only way he could have Christmas and found his way out through all of it.
Neck and Wrist (feat. Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams)
When ‘Neck and Wrist’ was first released as a single a couple of weeks ago, it immediately became one of my favorite songs by him. The Pharrell produced a track with a drowning bass, a synth that strikes the core, and a melody that lays right in the background to accentuate it all. Between Push and Hov, it’s just a major flex the entire time. Push sings on the hook saying “First in the beach with a million-dollar auto, bring ya cameraman we can shoot our own Narco, 812 Matte black looking like charcoal, I promise you the floor plan’s nothing like the model.” That is a lot to unpack from just four bars. Push goes through a myriad of thing’s in his verse with new coke references, calling himself the Night King from ‘Game of Thrones’ and also showing his status by subtly shitting on Breitling watches, saying the only time you’ll see him near one is in the clock of his Bentley. Jay-Z then enters with a full circle moment about his drug-dealing past. Jay-Z has never hidden his past and it has been one of the ways he came up, but now, he’s doing it legally. Hov then takes his turn to flex by mentioning his $2.5 million watches and says “I put your mansion on my wall, are you shittin’ me?” ‘Neck and Wrist’ is an amazing song from the collaborative efforts of three icons in Hip-Hop
Just So You Remember
“Just So You Remember” features a sample from “Six Days (Remix)” from the Tokyo Drift soundtrack. This beat is very simple and gives Push all the room to drop bar after bar. Once again, he sends a reminder to rappers that he is NOT on the same level by literally saying “I seen you rappers apply for the stimulus, living a lie but die for your images”. In this social media age, there is a lot of, for lack of better terms, cap amongst rappers, young and old. He then continues saying “You Trackhawk n*ggas are not my equivalent. Flew ya b*tch to Cuba for the thrill of it, but I ain’t go to show you what you should’ve did”. He even gives a nod to The Joker, which he watched while recording the album saying “My Joker smile you know who the villain is”. The song is filled to the brim with lines that may go over a lot of heads, but my personal favorite is “The Book of Blow, just know im the Genesis”. “Just So You Remember” reminds everybody of the elite pen that Push, and he can go bar for bar with anyone.
“Diet Coke” is the lead single from this album, and is produced by 88 Keys and Kanye West. “Diet Coke” is Pusha T at his apex. The song itself is another reference and he doesn’t stop there. “My tunnel vision under stove lights” is another bar referencing his focus when he’s in the kitchen cooking, and no he not cooking food. In the second verse, Push taps into another level from start to finish with too many hard rhymes to choose just one. “Diet Coke’ is just one of those songs you sit back and listen to the special talent that Pusha T is.
Rock N Roll (feat. Kid Cudi and Kanye West)
‘Rock N Roll’ starts with a sped-up and pitched-up sample from Beyonce’s ‘1+1’ and continues to loop throughout the song. The song has a bittersweet feel, as it features both Kanye West and Kid Cudi who have made it publicly known that they are far from friends, but it doesn’t take away from the greatness that is this song. With the distorted vocals from Cudi on the hook to Kanye’s raspy voice in his verse, it perfectly compliments Push throughout the song. This song feels like a victory lap for Push, as he talks about several things from the past to get to where he has gotten today. The soulful song is a great platform for all three artists, even though it is likely the last time we will see this trio ever again.
Call My Bluff
Pusha starts this song with a haughty like tone. He begins by saying “Everything don’t need to be addressed, the pull-ups like a FedEx truck, I can send some n*ggas round there right now 1-800 call my bluff”. Throughout the song, Push raps in a melodic tone which gives the song different energy. Compared to some of the previous tracks, this song is more laid back but is still forceful with the bars. One of my favorites from the song is “We only in the sport to be LeBron’s, when you used to platinum that gold be bronze”. And to add the cherry on top, Pusha T adds the evil and condescending laugh in the back for the finishing touches.
Scrape It Off The Top (feat. Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver)
Don Toliver and Lil Uzi Vert make guest appearances on this song and they both gave it some flare. You can never go wrong with a Don T hook and Lil Uzi sets the bar high for Push to follow up with his opening verse. And of course, Push does more than deliver on the song.
Hear Me Clearly
This song was featured on Nigo’s compilation album “I Know Nigo”, and it fits even better alongside the other tracks on “It’s Almost Dry”. Yet another song of Push going crazy with obvious and sutble drug-dealing references that the casual fan wouldn’t catch on first listen. In the opening bar of the song he says “these drug dealer rollies is my TikTok and Triller”. As we see on social media today, TikTok is king, and for the majority of the youth and even adults, TikTok is their main source of entertainment. But for Push, who is a seasoned adult, Rolex watches provide the same entertainment for him.
Open Air is a masterclass of flow and timing. Pusha has a cadence and rhythm that he sticks to this entire song, and unlike some songs that may get boring with that style, it never got old on this. On ‘Open Air’, Push starts off the song with “Sellin’ cocaine in the open air’ with the Joker laugh and “they’re gonna die” all in one sound to convey the tone from the start. He makes a reference to the legendary film ‘Scarface’ by saying “Me and Steven, gold wings, see those is rare. Ain’t no Tony in my circle, we Sosa’s here”. Basically he saying that instead of being the seller, he is the supplier, and the rest of his team is too. Push continues to show off his penmanship in talent throughout the rest of the track.
I Pray For You (feat. Labrinth, Malice, & Clipse)
This song is a perfect conclusion to the album. With the fervent vocals of Labrinth on the chorus, it sets the stage for a grand entrance for Push. As amazing as Push’s verse was, we get a reunion of the Clipse as Malice shines on the second verse. The song is another one of those where they said so much, you have to go and read along with the lyrics to truly grasp and feel the magnitude of their word. One notable callback that Push made was the ‘Grindin’ video that they shot right in the middle of Norfolk to deliver the essence of the City, now years later that grit and passion that brought them where they are today has never wavered.
Listen to “It’s Almost Dry” by Pusha T below now: