Pusha T – “It’s Almost Dry” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Virginia emcee, songwriter & record executive Pusha T. Coming up as 1/2 of the duo Clipse alongside his older brother No Malice about 3 decades ago, their debut Lord Willin’ & their sophomore effort Hell Hath No Fury would go on to become some of the best of the 2000s & essentials in the coke rap scene. But following the brothers’ final album together ‘Til the Casket Drops, they would disband after No Malice became a born again Christian & resulted in Push signing to Kanye West’s very own Def Jam Recordings imprint G.O.O.D. Music as a solo act. He has since made himself home under Ye’s wing by dropping 3 solo efforts, with the last one being the Kanye-produced DAYTONA in the spring of 2018 & one of the greatest diss tracks of all-time “The Story of Adidon” merely days later. But after 4 long years, Push is returning with It’s Almost Dry.

“Brambleton” opens up the album with a cloudy yet rubbery instrumental from longtime collaborator Pharrell & lyrics addressing Pusha’s relationship with his former manager Geesy whereas “Let the Smokers Shine the Coups” has a more triumphant tone to it saying he’s just here to find the truth. Kanye tags along for “Dreamin’ of the Past” sampling “Jealous Guy” by Donny Hathaway to belittle their competition, but then JAY-Z comes into the picture for “Neck & Wrist” working in some experimental undertones talking about the rapstar life.

Meanwhile on “Just So You Remember”, we have Push reminding the whole world who they’re fucking with over a sample of “6 Day War” by Colonel Bagshot just before “Diet Coke” flips “Take the Time to Tell Her” by Jerry Butler taking jabs at those who be selling impure shit. KIDS SEE GHOSTS reunite 1 last time for “Rock n Roll” due to KiD CuDi & Kanye’s falling out talking about how this is their story over a sample of “1+1” by Beyoncé leading into the eerie “Call My Bluff” telling listeners that everything don’t need to be addressed.

“Scrape It Off the Top” has a more playful sound to it as Lil Uzi Vert helps Push spit them coke bars & “Hear Me Clearly” was one of my favorites off Nigo’s recent solo debut I Know Nigo, so I’m happy he put it on here. The penultimate track “Open Air” incorporates some flutes talking about slanging powder in an unenclosed space outdoors & “Labyrinth” ends the album with an organ-heavy Clipse reunion talking about all the people they pray for.

This has been one of my most anticipated albums of 2022 for a minute now & boy it did not disappoint. He continues to spit the gangsta rap we all know & love, except Kanye & Pharrell’s production is like yin & yang with the Chicago genius’ signature chipmunk soul sound that he came up on or the some of the pop rap undertones coming from some of the cuts that the Virginia visionary has to offer.

Score: 4.5/5

N*E*R*D – “NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES” review

img_3850

A little over 7 years after their last album Nothing, Virginia funk-rock band N*E*R*D are returning with their 5th full-length album. The opener “Lemon” talks about hate while making a bunch of political references over an hyphy beat & Pharrell’s performance is super catchy, but Rihanna blatantly rips off Cardi B in her rap verse that it’s painfully underwhelming. The next song “Deep Down Body Thrust” tells all the choke artists that they won’t get away over a funk rock instrumental kin to the band’s 2004 sophomore album Fly or Die. The track “Voila” with Wale sees the 2 getting motivational over a funky guitar, but then it transitions into something more tropical during Wale’s verse. However, I’m a little disappointed Gucci Mane only does the hook.

The song “1,000” may have a decent Future verse in the middle of it, Pharrell & Shay Haley make up for it with their energetically delivered braggadocio lyrics. Also, the beat is thumping! Especially the drop a little bit after the 2 minute mark. The track “Don’t Do It” speaks on police brutality over a mellow instrumental & the Kendrick Lamar verse fits in perfectly. The song “ESP” touches down on the 3rd eye over a video-gamey beat & while the track “Lightning Fire Magic Prayer” continues the spirituality theme from the last song over an instrumental that fits the vibe. Especially during the switch up during the second half.

The song “Rollinem 7’s” with André 3000 vents about being black men in the entertainment industry/modern American society over a trippy beat while “Kites” with Kendrick & M.I.A. talks about unity over a bouncy dance beat. The penultimate track “Secret Life of Tigers” gets rebellious over another infectious dance beat & then the album closes with “Lifting You”, which is a positive celebratory weed anthem over a fitting reggae beat.

Honestly, this could very well be my Album of the Year. It’s well produced, the vocals are on point & it’s their most well-written since Fly or Die

Score: 4.5/5