Pusha T: Daytona Album Review
Daytona is Pusha T’s third solo studio album following 2013’s My Name is My Name and 2015’s King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude. On this album Pusha T provides the street lyricism that he has been synonymous with for over 25 years. Kanye West executively produced the whole project and goes back to his roots of surgically chopping up soul samples to push this album to the next level. Daytona is only 7 tracks and gives the listener just enough lyrical content about the luxurious life of a drug dealer so they come back again and again.
Pusha T has not released a solo project since King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, many believe this is due to his role as GOOD Music’s president. The 2015 project was supposed to serve as a prelude to a future album titled King Push. When it was announced Pusha T would be releasing an album this year many believed this project would be the long-awaited King Push. But prior to the release, Pusha T announced project would not be titled King Push and that he had changed the name to Daytona via his twitter.
Lyrically, Daytona provides everything that a listener of Pusha T would expect, drug dealer references, nods to drug kingpins, and what a drug dealer would spend his fortunes on. For some this might get old but the way Pusha T constructs his lyrics will keep most listeners attentive. He uses clever wordplay to take the listener into his world with lyrics, “You ever been hit with the water weight/ Then had to wait? Do you war or wait?” on “If You Know You Know”. Or when he shouts out fellow cocaine cowboys when he rhymes, “This is for my bodybuilding clients moving weight/ Just add water, stir it like a shake.” Pusha T has mastered this style of rapping and puts his skills on full display throughout the project.
In addition to his lyrics about dealing cocaine, Pusha decides to deliver commentary on the current state of hip-hop. Pusha T separates himself from current rappers when he raps, “I'm too rare amongst all of this pink hair” on “Hard Piano,” with this bar following, “The Warhols on my wall paint a war story/ Had to find other ways to invest/ 'Cause you rappers found every way to ruin Pateks.” Pusha T stunts on several rappers telling them not only is he on another level but so is his level of braggadocio. Daytona is littered with lyrics that remind the listener that he is not to be compared with the rap stars of today. Most of these lyrics can be found on the project’s closing track, “Infrared” where Pusha dedicates the whole song to the state of hip-hop and dedicates some direct shots at his long-time nemeses Drake and Birdman. These lyrical jabs are also directed at the industry as a whole. Pusha T finishes the album with the bar, “We all know what n***** for real been waitin' on —Push.” A final reminder to the listener that he can take a two-year hiatus and still be a force to be reckoned with in the rap game.
Kanye West’s performance behind the boards stands out as much as Pusha’s performance with the pen. Kanye seemed to find his old self when he decided to chop up samples throughout this whole project. His use of the 1968 instrumental “Heart ‘N Soul” by Booker T Averheart makes “The Games We Play” a head-nod inducing track. Another production standout on the project is “Santeria,” in which the beat changes three times. As Kanye takes the beat from a traditional hip-hop beat to a darker toned refrain that is accompanied by vocals from fellow GOOD Music artist, 070 Shake, and then Kanye flips the beat again giving the song a nostalgic and villainous tone. Throughout the album Kanye keeps the beats dark and menacing to perfectly compliment Pusha T’s lyrical content.
Over 7 tracks and just over 20 minutes of run time Pusha T and Kanye West construct a tight-knit project that leaves the listeners begging for more. This a novel concept for a full-length project in today’s musical landscape as many artists load their projects with filler tracks to inflate their streaming numbers. Unlike many of those projects, Daytona can be listened from top to bottom multiple times. Daytona is an enjoyable listen and its replay value has made it one of the strongest rap projects to date this year.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.