Since placing his signature on a GOOD Music contract in 2010 the stock has indeed risen for the Clipse’s Pusha T, in addition to the ‘interest’ garnered from particular rappers. If maintaining his online buzz with throwaway dopeness plus (bizarrely) featuring on a track with UK pop singer Pixie Lott, the VA juggernaut has also taken aim at Hip Hop’s golden boy Drake on several occasions. If all of the above fail to impress those who doubt the rapper’s musical merits, his Fear of God freebie which was released earlier this year garnered much praise for its raw, diamond in the dirt potential. Returning to audio pulpit, Fear of God II hopes to push the Clipse member up to the levels of a main player in the GOOD Music familia.
Unreserved and uncompromising is what the 34 year old has been ever since his arrival on 2002′s “Grindin’” classic as part of the Clipse. But even with ‘white America’ now knowing his name, Pusha T continues immerse himself in the darker corners which some rap music finds itself in. Bringing in the tandem of Kanye West and Jeezy to pledge allegiance to the gangsters on “Amen,” Pusha yet again gets greazy whilst Yeezy and Jeezy give the track a heavyweight feel with their contributions. Going back to the trap on “Body Work,” T’s hookup with Meek Mill, French Montana and Three 6 Mafia‘s Juicy J is a subwoofer-blasting street smash with enough gun references for Fox News to use as ammunition pick apart rap’s ills.
For those looking at the overall execution of material rather than just the stone cold verses, Push’s product is emphatic; composed of recognised production patterns as well as more emphatic surroundings. The wasp-like warbles and synths on “Troubles On My Mind,” featuring Odd Future‘s Tyler, The Creator, are given extra weight with a kicking beat courtesy of the Neptunes, which the two lyricists get nasty over.
The cinematic “What Dreams Are Made Of” dissects in detail the uncompromising ascension through his documented street hustle, now celebratory in his achievements. Add to that a brilliant sample of one of WWE legend Ric Flair‘s famous interviews and you’re provided with an anthem which hustlers, Hip Hoppers and even wrestling fans can enjoy.
Fear Of God II is, ideally, a project for those who may have missed/ignored his first offering; as a chunk of cuts from the prequel appear on here. The funeral march-like procession of “My God,” “Alone In Vegas” and the unapologetic urge to return to the trap on “I Still Wanna” were all were standout tracks on Terrence Thornton’s prior release, but there remains enough life in them to make for welcome additions to Pusha T’s latest endeavour. New material on hand is a hit-and-miss as whilst “What Dreams…” and the opener “Changing of the Guard” (featuring Diddy) will win over admirers of the first Fear Of God, the average “So Obvious” and the weak chorus on “Everything That Glitters” will have them clamouring for the already tried and tested stuff a lot sooner.
Sounding more like the completed version of the first Fear of God mixtape, the sequel EP boasts a rich mix of unadulterated drug chronicles and the financial bearings which such illegal activity births. Pusha T’s intricate verses of ‘weighing and selling’ bear resemblance to the dialogue found in the co-op meetings in HBO’s The Wire series. Coming off more like Scarface than Stringer Bell, Push’s offerings are backed by grand, engulfing productions and at times are so glossy that it overshadows the grim rhymes of Virginia’s star. A solid effort, down in part to the rapper’s engaging flow and excellent score, the kingpin position in the uncensored world of criminal rap could go to the artist whose talent and charm may push him beyond the marginalised category he currently resides in.