By Owen Yule (@OwenYule)
Back in 2006, alongside his brother No Malice and enabled by the collaboration with producers The Neptunes, Pusha T told us that we were “watching the evolution of one of Rap’s greats”.
And although his proficiency as an MC is showcased as 1/2 of Clipse, and through the We Got it for Cheap mixtape saga, uncertainty remains regarding Push’s ability to reach the same heights of Hell Hath no Fury as a solo artist. Nonetheless, the aforementioned evolution is still very much at play with DAYTONA.
An esteemed veteran in today’s rap climate, Pusha T sticks to his guns with his 4th solo release. It would appear that King Push is dead. instead, bold in its title and audacious in its cover, we have DAYTONA. Hot of the presses of the Wyoming recording sessions , Push confirmed DAYTONA to be a dissection of the initial plans for King Push. Push himself describes, the record as a creation from two artists (with Kanye West handles production ) who have the luxury of time. Sonically focused at 22 minutes long, the 7- track LP is a breathe of fresh air considering the typically superfluous byproducts of today’s streaming era.
Rising to prominence in an era that bridged rap’s golden age with today’s trends, Push is insisting that DAYTONA transcends generational soundscapes he came up in between. This is an album that is very much fundamental Hip Hop at its core, whilst simultaneously comfortably slotting in to the modern rap landscape. DAYTONA very much places Pusha T on a sky scraping perch in which he solidifies his reputation as a seasoned warrior of the rap game… a reputation affirmed through Push’s meticulous word play all through the project. Competent jabs at his contemporaries in conjunction with the revere of Wu Tang legends and homages to Jay Z and Tupac, call back to a historic era of rap that Push is clearly trying to re-package.
However, this actualisation of a time of old is very much a team effort, and Kanye’s contribution to DAYTONA is evidence that his finger remains firmly on the button. Dropping the grandiose thats been so prevalent throughout his discography, Kanye’s production is more delicate on DAYTONA – perhaps with a focus to highlight the lyricism, rather than overwhelm it. Ominous at its core, Come Back Baby’s instrumentation matches Push’s self assured vocals, the devastation of Infrared is underlined by looped subtle guitar tones.
As previously mentioned, DAYTONA is very much a flex of Pusha T’s previously showcased muscle, apposed to an audacious stab at something new. Yes, the drug references are rife throughout, but here they are presented as a conduit for lyrical expertise, and when executed with such proficiency… you really don’t care. Whilst other rappers may become repetitive, Push uses previously explored subject matters to explore new avenues of grief. Santeria for example is a solemn expression of pain that shows a rarely seen vulnerability of Push.
DAYTONA then is our first insight of what the GOOD Music label has to offer this summer and with such a professional commencement, parallels can be drawn between the Wyoming sessions pioneering this rollout, with the mystical Hawaii endeavour that preceded the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Bubbling below the surface of all the hysterics and controversy, DAYTONA asserts the creative intentions West has planned this summer, but more than that, it is the Pusha T solo release we have always wanted.