With three albums in his discography, Pusha T isn’t a consistent artist, but when he releases an album, it feels like a ceremony. He always makes an impact with each project. His last album was in 2015, since then, fans have been anticipating, hoping, and dreaming of the day Push will drop a project. That was before Kanye brought the G.O.O.D. news to the world. In a series of tweets, he announced upcoming releases from Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Nas, Kid Cudi and himself. Although initially titled King Pusha, Pusha T had to change the title because he felt “it didn’t represent the overall message” of the album. In another tweet, he said, “DAYTONA represents the fact that “I have the luxury of time. That luxury only comes when u have a skill set that you’re confident in.” As for what’s to be expected on DAYTONA, Push said the album was created especially for his “family, high taste level, luxury, and drug raps fans.”
“If You Know You Know,” begins with a strong rhyme scheme. This song will only be relatable for those “who know.” Kanye’s premium production is an exciting effect on this track. In a mature way, he differentiates between Rappers and Drug dealers. He says: “Bricklayers in ball shorts, coaching from the side of the ball courts.” Although he talks about rappers, this isn’t the kind of song 6ix9ine or Lil Xan can relate to.
Pusha T has a discography filled with lyrics about drugs. On “The Game We Play,” he gives a shoutout to the drug dealers—the people behind the scenes— and “the names they fade.” This song is for people like El Chapo. “This is the drug money your ex-nigga claim he made” may have many girlfriends asking their man why he isn’t making drug money. With the message behind this song, he shows respect for drug dealers, and the profession (yes, the profession) of drug dealing.
The track “Hard Piano” is appropriately named. The piano riffs come in strong and heavy from the start while the incredible lyrics drive the track forward. “Exactly what the game’s been missing, this fire burns as hot as Hells Kitchen” is the perfect representation of his lyrics. I imagine him literally spitting fire in the booth as this track was recorded, or at least exhaling some smoke. The hook elevates the level of excellence on this track. And, for many reasons, Rick Ross is the perfect person to feature on this song. To keep it real, Rick Ross is another OG when it comes to drug dealing and carries himself like a respectable drug dealer—a boss. I wish more rap features could be like this. Both rappers deliver equally outstanding lyrics. Anyway, that’s what you get when the “old generation” of rappers come together on a track. The beat is fresh and complements the hook. The consistent piano chord is an undeniably attractive element on this tack. The role of the piano is like the role of the other players on the Cavaliers team. Though LeBron is the main attraction, like the hook, the subtle role of the other players contribute to their victory.
With “Come Back Baby,” he continues to glorify drug money as he raps: “Bought hoes Honda’s/ took care of children……built out buildings/rapped on classics.” “Santeria” is one song I judged too early. During the first part of the song, I thought I was hearing Push display his usual rhymes and similes. Although of top-notch quality, I wanted to hear something unique and fresh. Then on cue, the refrain comes up, and the song gets transformed. With the change in tempo, I felt like I was in a concert and lights just got turned off, meaning something exciting is about to happen. The drum roll gave me goosebumps and made me anxious. Finally, he broke out into his final verse and I imagined fireworks, theatrical fog and confetti, as Pusha burst out with his lines. “Santeria” present the most exciting moment on this album.
On “What Would Meek Do?” Kanye West and Pusha respond to the question “Niggas talking shit, how do you respond?” Pusha T opens his verse by saying “I’m top 5.” Meanwhile, Kanye’s response to this question is “woo, skrt/whoop woopy whoop/“ — disappointing.
Dissing Drake on “Infrared,” he says: “It was written like Nas but it came from Quintinn” and “How could you ever right these wrongs when you don’t even write your songs?” In 2016, Drake used a few words on the Kanye West-assisted “Two Birds, One Stone” to call out someone (presumably King Push) who “made a couple chops” and now believes they’re Chapo. Pusha T uses this track as an opportunity to reply to him. He also talks about the state of industry: “The game’s fucked up” while citing great rappers like him—Kendrick, Cole, Ross, Hov, and Wayne.
Pusha T approaches this album like a rapper who knows his worth—like a king. With seven tracks he shows a prowess that is stronger than some albums that go fifteen tracks deep. When he’s rhyming, he’s doing it with skill. When he’s spitting, he’s doing it like a dragon. Whether he’s talking about drugs, money, or being a king in the rap game, his message is clear. He brings an interesting rhythm on every song. And, love him or not, Kanye West is a genius. His verse is not one of the best things on this album, but his production certainly is. After listening to “Santeria” and “Hard Piano,” I was forced to tweet “God Bless Kanye West”. DAYTONA is basically seven tracks of quality rap from King Push and seven tracks of top-notch production by master Ye. After listening to this album, I feel I should buy a yacht with the drug money I don’t have, dress like Diddy, select the finest tobacco, and cross my legs as I appreciate life. This album is on another level.