As the clock struck midnight and last Thursday transitioned into Friday…I sat in my apartment and reached over for my iPhone, to open Apple Music to stream Pusha T’s latest album, DAYTONA. Going into any Pusha T album you understand in-full; you will hear a raw and vitriolic flow with a stark delivery that comes right at you. No cut corners…high energy matched by the boldness of signature ad libs.
But the energy however is captured by the project’s artwork; a 2006 photograph of Whitney Houston’s bathroom riddled in narcotics and paraphernalia. While controversial in its own right, the artwork provides the base of what we can expect lyrically. With a late name change from King Push to DAYTONA, the name alone coinciding with the Florida city, is synonymous with beauty…however the artwork is not. Rather it is cautionary that all “Daytona’s” are paradise…some “Daytona’s” have shortened and rather distinctive ends.
Prior to pressing play…as I sit in my apartment, I could not help but wonder if DAYTONA will deliver the same immediate grasp as King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude. While the latest piece did not have that same pulse pounding boom that Darkest Before Dawn bolstered…DAYTONA comes out the gate with Push spitting a recyclable series of bars ending in “boy” before concluding with “if you know, you know” just before the beat drops. The latter of the track becomes a lead-single worthy mix that nicely flows into a quicker rhythmic onslaught brought on by The Games We Play.
The heart of the order if you will…begins to give us that luxurious drug rap feeling beginning with Hard Piano and Rick Ross coming in over the smooth High As Apple Pie – Slice II sample and the melody of keys that Ross thrives on. His voice demonstratively echos as his feature is reminiscent of a drug kingpin who is overseeing his empire from his penthouse over looking a metropolis as a grand piano sits ominously in the background.
“I can blow a million dollars into dust
Lord knows how many bottles I’ve done bust
Still runnin’ through the models like I’m Puff…” -Rick Ross
The middle stretch of the album could stand alone as lead-singles….as mentioned earlier…the album came without a lead-single; thereby doing away with the conventional album release. Which is a trend we’re seeing from the top artists in music; releasing a project without any true build-up thereby providing the listener a purely genuine, raw first experience. And that is the beauty of that approach is just that…and it brings a dynamic wow factor into play as the listener presses play. The ebbs-and-flows of the album from the first four tracks to the dark and gripping and grasping feel of Santeria that lays out Pusha’s take on losing his road manager and friend. The track is an expression of Pusha reaching out to share his take on the matter and the void that was left with his untimely passing.
To this point in the album, the highs and lows are felt…some play closer to the vest in the case of Santeria, but the album by and large is an exposé…a narration of the drug world and the luxurious life that we’ve seen from notable kingpins of their time. However the artwork is a contradictory statement of its own merit which speaks to the downfalls. One that is even accentuated further by What Would Meek Do?. The track featuring Kanye proved to be a precursor to Infrared and the incumbent beef between Drake and Push. With the duo pitting the question to each other as the hook…
“N*ggas talkin’ shit, Push, how do you respond?”
“N*ggas talkin’ shit, ‘Ye, how do you respond?”
As the track seamlessly lingers toward the end and slows slightly to transition into the album’s finale, Infrared. In which Push subsequently responds to the questions posed in What Would Meek Do?. A track which virtually served as bait and the final poking and prodding of the Toronto artist before his Duppy Freestyle response and Push’s rebuttal with The Story of Adidon. Sonically, the album marries an the organized chaos of the artwork and subject matter with a minimalistic sound that plays perfectly to not only the content but Push.