King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude Album Review by Pusha T

Here's a confession: I truly believe 50% of new school rappers are in it for the money, the girls or the fame. Ever since Hip-Hop became one of music’s biggest genre, it feels like MC’s don't care about the art anymore. They care about making it big. Pusha T is not one of those artists. Even if being a rapper gave you nothing in return, Pusha would still do it. Because that's what he was born to do. All I expected out of this album was dope music. But Pusha exceeded my expectations, taking it to the next level.

1. Intro
This intro is insane! First off, the beat is super simple, but it's still one of the hardest I've heard this year. The sample, the drums, the voices. It all feels big and epic. I heard the beat on Travi$ Scott’s Instagram profile, and I was super disappointed when it wasn't on Rodeo. Well, Pusha took it, and destroyed it. He brings charisma and aggression, delivering his usual bars. Solid verse. Great intro.

2. Untouchable 
This song reminds me of “Numbers on the Boards”. Pusha spitting over a 90’s song. The sample is from B.I.G.’s “Think Big”. And just like Numbers on the Boards, this song goes hard! The beat is atmospheric and catchy. Pusha snaps, talking about his past, his present and his money. Again, no specific topic. Just Pusha giving us dope verses.

3. M.F.T.R. (feat. The Dream)
This song is too sweet! In it, Pusha talks about all the rappers that chase fame. His message: screw the fame, let's get the money! The beat is soft, but the piano melody is a bit disturbing. I really enjoyed the feeling it gave me. Pusha is more specific, staying on topic and throwing shots at Cash Money. Also, The Dream did an excellent job delivering a catchy hook.

4. Crutches, Crosses, Caskets
YUGGHCK! This is the one. This record is so hard! I love that the beats in here aren't too complex. They're simple, but effective. Some old school shit. This beat is eerie, with a psychedelic melody and some cool drums. Pusha spits some of the hardest bars so far, talking about how the rap game has changed. Nowadays, all he sees is victims. Excellent record!

5. M.P.A. (feat. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and The Dream)
Let's get this out of the way. I was a bit disappointed in the way the features were used. Kanye and A$AP sing the hook (they kill it) and Cole produced it, but they have no verses. While that was a bit disappointing, this record is excellent. Pusha didn't disappoint, making me forget about any other MC in the game. He talks about life’s 3 biggest vices: Money, pussy and alcohol. He gets pretty deep, covering these addictions in a respectful, honest fashion. The beat got the job done. It was soulful, sad and hopeful. The piano was fantastic. Really enjoyed this one.

6. Got Them Covered (feat. Ab-Liva)
At first, I didn't really like this song. It grew on me though. This feels like a cypher. The beat, the bars and the vibe. Pusha and Timbaland are just having fun, spitting bars over a fun (but repetitive) beat. I always like when an album has 1 or 2 tracks of pure spitting. No concept, no message. Just bars. Ab-Liva came through with a decent verse. Not mad at this one.

7. Keep Dealing (feat. Beanie Sigel)
This is lowkey one of the best songs in the album. It’s just special. As you might have guessed by the title, it’s about Pusha’s past (selling drugs). He doesn’t do it in a cocky way. As a matter of fact, the song focuses on the negatives. The beat really spoke to me. Specially the piano keys in the background. It’s almost like the instrumental was painting the picture (the pain, the fear, and the paranoia) and Pusha was giving us his train of thought. The hook is also fantastic. The beautiful (and dark) melody, the emotion and rawness in Pusha’s voice. It all clicked. Also, Pusha is the MVP for bring Beanie back. He brought that old school flow. Fantastic song.

8. Retribution (feat. Kehlani)
Nice song! Push goes in on a sped-up sample of Ace Hood’s ‘I used to love her’. The flows and bars are sensational. Timbaland really killed this one. While the beat itself isn’t out of this world, it bumps in the whip! End of the story. My only issue with the song was the hook. Now, I love Kehlani. Who doesn’t? I just don’t see why she had to be in this song. Considering the beat and the atmosphere, the track didn’t really need an R&B voice. Still, this bangs.

9. F.I.F.A.
Love these songs! Simple, short and sweet. Again, at first I thought this was another cypher song. The drums were pretty simple (but dope) and Pusha was just speaking. But then, this loud, dope melody kicked in and that’s when I realised this was produced by Q-Tip. That’s crazy. Anyways, Pusha has fun and spits deadly verses. Before playing this album, I forgot how good Pusha was at making hooks. They’re so emotional and enjoyable. Also, nice FIFA reference. Nice track.

10. Sunshine (feat. Jill Scott)
Great outro! Pusha closes the album by speaking about controversial topics like modern day America, police brutality, racism and God. I shouldn't say it again, but I will: Flows and bars on point! The beat is also great. I wish it was a bit more melodic, but it bangs! The bassline had me dancing in my room. While I’ve never been the biggest Jill Scott fan, she did a good job with the hook. I’ve always said: close your album with an important message or a banger. Pusha killed two birds with one stone!

Verdict: Darkest before Dawn might be 2015’s most Hip-Hop album. No politics, radio singles or non sense. Just a man spitting dope verses over banging beats. After this, I honestly think King Push could be a masterpiece. Until then, I’ll be enjoying this piece of art.

Favorite Songs
- Keep Dealing
- Crutches, Crosses, Caskets
- M.P.A.
- F.I.F.A.
- Intro

Least Favorite Songs
- Got Them Covered

I give the album an 8.4 out of 10

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