Snorting coke off of your side-piece’s iPad is only fun at Sorority jams, high school house parties, and warehouse sales at Zumiez.
For everyone else, we can sit back and enjoy the bars, vibes, and Pyrex-whipped ad-libs on rapper Pusha-T’s latest classic album Daytona.
While you’ve probably only become familiar with this project from the gossip blogs hyping a G.O.O.D Music and OVO “beef ting”, the right hand of famed rap duo The Clipse has definitely dipped into his bag on this seven track symphony.
I gave the album a few listens over the weekend before compiling some views on the project as a whole and the diss tracks that have hit the airwaves in the aftermath. So here are my thoughts on Pusha-T’s “Daytona” and the diss tracks that followed in this moment of Hip-Hop superhero clashes.
Pusha-T “Daytona” Album Reaction
What was immediately noticed upon first listen of “Daytona” was the way in which Kanye’s selection and production of beats and melodies challenged the veteran MC’s game but still created a collective ambience and avant-garde vibe that spoke to the luxurious aspects of Pusha’s raps, yet still maintained the surreal vibe of G.O.O.D Music.
And of course, in vivid Kanye fashion, “If You Know, You Know” kicks off Daytona with a fun beat reminiscent of hipster indie pop bands, amid a solid set of drumlines and Pusha’s confident assertion that legends are legends for the knowledge they hold, and there simply is not any point in trying to get that game undeserved.
Feeling interested by this unique sound but still slightly confused, it’s definitely a feeling of relief to my old-head ways, when the traditional boom-bap rhythm of “The Games We Play” follows in as the next track. Once again, Pusha continues to provided much needed and much missed bars, bouncing confidently on this more traditional instrumental that reminded me a lot of the Clipse’s famous collab track with Cam’Ron, “Popular Demand”.
The very noir “Santeria” has an eerie Spanish chorus that punctuates Pusha’s lament for his lost friend and road manager. A strong snare throughout mashes the ear, reminding the listener of the same tone and tempo as King Push himself.
I’m probably in the minority for this next opinion but I honestly could not care much for “Hard Piano” with Rick Ross, which I felt really underwhelmed by the generic themes of Ross’ bars alongside a chorus I felt was better suited for an Eminem album.
Following this was “Come Back Baby” which featured a great classic rock sample but could not get me hooked in, past the second or third listen. That being said I loved the experimental value of this track, as well as the unique way that Pusha-T spoke to the narratives of user and seller but with a rustic sound fitting any generation of Nose Olympian.
Of course, with Hip Hop being today’s Pop – gossip, blogs, and tabloid have all replaced blunts, 40 ounce malt, and head bobbing. So it’s not surprising that the next two tracks are “What Would Meek Do” and “Infared” which contains some needle sharp darts aimed at the 6 God himself, Drake and the Cash Money team.
“What Would Meek Do” is a nicely paced and fun exchange of bars between Pusha T and Kanye West. The song is funnily similar in cadence and sound to “Kinda Like a Big Deal” (an earlier collaboration with West and the then group of the Clipse).
Pusha and Kanye are able to tease and almost troll the listener into being more critical about what they hear on the news, and begin to understand the flaws in so-called perfect stars and celebrities. It is an assuming wrap up to the bulk of the album before a well-timed dessert…
“Infared” closes off the album with shots fired at both of Pusha’s classic opponents, Cash Money’s Baby, and Drizzy Drake. Clearly attacking ghost writer claims on the 6 God and oppressive business practices by the Magnolia don of Cash Money records, Pusha spits hot flames on a minimalist beat aimed directly at the head tops of opponents who have typically avoided him…until now.
“Duppy Freestyle”, Hot or Nah
Well, simply put, Drake came through and provided tons of “Free Smoke” to the Virginia MC in a track very much rivalling Back to Back in terms of lyrical heat, and competitive aggression.
The bars are hard, and Drake avoids singing and harmonizing to fill time.
As a fan of Pusha, I was definitely concerned about the social media dragging that was about to take place, and Drake’s Thanos-like power certainly hit the web like a hay-maker with people immediately assuming the battle had ended convincingly.
The two things this showed were very simply that 1) Drake is still very sensitive to his writing claims, and that 2)if and when he wants to, he (and maybe the OVO sweatshop) are capable of getting to these hard-nosed bars when needed.
While it hurt to watch one of my favourite artists get absolutely rolled over, it was definitely a much-needed moment of pride in my city and a music scene that is sometimes criticized for legitimacy and toughness. Kudos to Drake for the quickness and authenticity behind this fire diss.
And if you grew up in Toronto, you can appreciate how fire the title is.
More importantly, Duppy Freestyle (although we may never know who truly wrote it), definitely gives Drake critics a moment of relaxation where they can anticipate that his upcoming album “Scorpion”, should bring multiple dimensions of this seasoned artist, who has yet to miss a step in a battle with one of the greatest lyricists to touch the mic.
Courtesy of Flickr – musicisentropy
Pusha-T Responds on “The Story of Adidon”
Yes indeed, he responded, and at this point my inner-conspiracy theorist is beginning to think this is a show that benefits marketing for both artists.
Needless to say, Pusha’s response, which is rapped over Jay-Z’s “Story of OJ” is pure heat. Bars aimed at Drake’s secret child with a porn star, his parents, and his legitimacy to culture, shoot through this track as Pusha-T avoids the same mistake that got Meek Mill abvsolutely washed in 2015 – failing to reply.
So where does this leave us exactly?
In a great place! Hip-hop brings a sport-like aggression to musical art, and both artists are pushing the greatness out of each other. As a fan, no longer am I concerned with a team or squad. Rather I, and you all, should soak up the moment and enjoy our modern day rap heroes, whipping their capes, and pulling down their masks for such epic albums and even better showdowns.