Okay, so before I begin let me say, I’m from Virginia where ain’t sh*t to do but cook.
If I lost you with that reference, pay attention. The lyric above is from a track entitled Virginia from the 2002 release of Lord Willin’ the debut project of a gritty duo from, you guessed it, Virginia. The Clipse, made up of Pusha T and Malice, burst onto the scene with a drug inspired bravado that was paired masterfully with the infectious production of The Neptunes. If you don’t know who The Neptunes are do yourself a favor and get familiar, your ears will thank you.
Christopher Wallace think big, keep climbing / Reasonable doubt drug era, keep climbing / I’m my brother’s keeper Lord Willin’, keep grindin
-Track 1: Intro
Three albums and a series of federal cases later, Pusha T resurfaced alongside Kanye West as a solo act. The other half of the self heralded best rap duo ever, Malice, had an epiphany that pulled him away from the limelight of shoveling coke rap to his community and getting rich off of it. His brother however, returns with his second solo project King Push: Darkest Before Dawn The Prelude with the same snobby, dope boy swag that put The Clipse on the map
Rappers are victimized at an all time high, but not I / you pop n*ggas thought I let it fly
-Track 4: Crutches, Crosses, Caskets
On this go around Push means business literally. The newly named president of G.O.O.D. music is taking prisoners and calling out your favorite rappers in his 10 track sophomore project.
Me and Tim coming it’s gon kill ‘em, only great I ain’t made better was J Dilla”
-Track 1: Intro
Features and production credits on this album include J. Cole, Kanye West, Timbaland, Jill Scott, Beanie Sigel, Q Tip and Baauer, but don’t expect any trap beats here. In fact you’ll get the exact opposite a very nostalgic yet progressive sound paired with “Trap Rap”.
I speak to the trap lords / and n*ggas with they hands in the white like blackboards
-Track 1: Intro
Throughout his career Pusha T has been known to stir the pot when it comes to sensitive subjects in and out of the rap community. He shines in his assessment of the current social climate of the country in his outro, Sunshine featuring an amazingly jazzy hook from Jill Scott.
America you need a miracle, beyond spiritual / I need a realer view, I hold the mirror to it / These aint new problems, they just old ways / I seen one time turn sunshine into Freddie Grey
-Track 10: Sunshine
Albeit a relatively short project it definitely will pull more of his core fans back in the loop that he may have lost from the trendy My Name is My Name project he released in 2013. This time around the album is accompanied by a short film (perks of being the president of G.O.O.D. Music) that helps paint the dark picture that King Push has been narrating for his fans since the Lord Willin’ drop.
All in all, King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude proves to be a solid “mixtape for sale” album from an artist that packs wit charisma and arrogance into each bar. The question now becomes what is this a prelude to? Grab some popcorn, I have faith his next move might be his best move.
– Michael English