Photo Credit: Victor Boyko
5 Takeaways From Pusha T’s New Album ‘It’s Almost Dry’
The Dr. Seuss of Dope gives rap fans much to ingest on his masterpiece fourth album
You couldn’t escape the hype train around Pusha T’s fourth album, It’s Almost Dry, released on April 22. Few artists have the power to make click-and-scrollers slow down long enough to give a new release the attention it deserves.
But the Picasso of the Pyrex, King Push, has an effect on hip-hop unlike anyone before him or to come after.
As one-half of the rap duo the Clipse, he and No Malice set the standard for how "coke raps" were delivered from state to state. Push then upped the ante as a solo artist and president of Ye’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint, servicing audiophiles and rap fiends with vivid, luxe-infused bars that had internet sleuths searching for the origins of his Lanvin-laced lyrics.
Few rappers are operating at a competitive level this far into their careers, placing Pusha T — already one of the game’s most legendary wordsmiths — into rarefied air. Authentic in the streets and history-making when it comes to pop culture and the charts, Pusha T gets the GRAMMY.com examination, as we dive into the key takeaways from It’s Almost Dry.
1. The Holy Triumvirate of Pusha-Ye-Pharrell Is a Full Circle Moment
There may be no other artist outside of Jay Z that connects with Pharrell Williams and Kanye West quite like Pusha T. After hearing him on Nigo’s "Hear Me Clearly" record, Virginia P famously challenged Push to "not become a mixtape rapper for the rest of his life." The gauntlet was officially thrown down between the two megaproducers.
Armed with the clout (and a decades-long history of collaboration), Pusha T convinced Pharrell and Kanye to produce an entire album for him. The resulting It’s Almost Dry highlights the best, and varied, things each beatsmith wanted from Push.
"[Kanye] only wants bars, all day, all night — he wants a thousand of them," Push explained in a sit-down with High Snobiety. "Pharrell wants to sit there with me. He uses the term ‘composition’ a lot [...] and it made for such a colorful, well-rounded album because I took both of them and did what they asked of me. And it just works."
The energy between the three parties fuels It’s Almost Dry to go further than they’ve ever gone before, possibly making one of the best rap albums of the year.
2. There’s No ‘Yuugh!’ Anywhere
Adlibs have been a staple in rap, but the last decade has seen them turn into a calling card from those who reign in the upper echelon of hip-hop. Pusha T's "yuugh" has been something that, whenever dropped on a track, signifies that he meant that s**t. Audiences have come to love and appreciate his signature yuugh, but will be surprised to learn that it doesn’t appear anywhere on It’s Almost Dry.
You can only say the type of s**t Pusha T says when you’ve achieved a certain level of success. King Push, he’s more than earned the right to deliver the product how he best sees fit, yuugh!
3. Ye Continues To Explore Family Issues
Listening to It’s Almost Dry can put someone in a fever dream, yet thankfully, Ye (the artist formerly known as Kanye West) tempers the barbiturate bars with some sobering thoughts. For example, "Dreamin Of The Past" — which takes its title from John Lennon’s "Jealous Guy," by way of a sample of Donny Hathaway's version of the song — finds Yeezy in reflection mode, closing the track with some family-centered ponderings.
"Born in the manger, the son of a stranger/When daddy’s not home, the family’s in danger," he raps. On "Rock N Roll" (which also marks the final collaboration between Ye and Kid Cudi), the former references his late mother, Donda West ("Love my mama but sometimes dad was right/Take his hand, hold on with all of your might"), not wanting to argue with his ex-wife and wanting a Bel-Air-styled mansion ("I used to watch the ‘Fresh Prince’ and pray the house would be mine/Could have bought it but I ain’t like the way the kitchen [was] designed").
Ye has remained publicly silent after being suspended from Instagram, so getting this brief look at what's on his mind through It’s Almost Dry is interesting.
4. "Neck & Wrist" Finds Jay-Z In Take-On-All-Comers Mode
Who else but Hov should you call when you want to talk that ultra-braggart talk? On "Neck & Wrist," the second collaboration between Pusha T and Jay Z, the latter is in his bag and talking spicy towards any enemigo — real or imaginary. The Pharrell-laced beat finds Marcy Jay opening the verse by addressing comedian Faizon Love and the comments he made on Vlad TV.
"The phase I’m on, love, I wouldn’t believe it either/I’d be like, ‘Jay-Z’s a cheat,’ I wouldn’t listen to reason either," he raps. Jay Z goes into his bag for this clever homophone of sorts, turning the joke onto the jokester while emphasizing how his real life is far from fiction.
Whether it was highlighting how The Commission would’ve run rap had the Notorious B.I.G. survived, or serving up his famed triple-entendre references, "Neck & Wrist" is a great example of It’s Almost Dry's dynamic coke raps*.*
5. Pusha T is Hip-Hop’s Drug Dealing Larry David
To quote Rolling Stones’ Will Dukes, "Pusha T is to coke references what Larry David is to absurd social situations." Pharrell’s honest diss as a friend may have inspired Push to make It’s Almost Dry into a rap cinematic tour de force, but the 44-year-old MC has always been a lyrical Martin Scorsese.
Push consistently and creatively delivers new and interesting ways to invoke drug dealing staples. Self-described as "Cocaine’s Dr. Seuss," Push evokes humor, menace, thrills, and pathos into It’s Almost Dry and proves he’s one of the main reasons why coke rap — as a subgenre — exists in the first place.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Pusha T Announces Daytona Tour, Drops "If You Know You Know" Video
The rapper will hit the road across the U.S. in support of his recently released, Kanye West-produced album
Pusha T has officially announced dates for his 2018 Daytona Tour. The Former Clipse rapper will hit the road for a 22-date U.S. tour in support the Kanye West-produced album launching in Denver on July 21 and wrapping up in Oakland, Calif. on Oct. 13. In addition to the tour announcement, Pusha also dropped a video for the lead-off track from Daytona, "If You Know You Know," directed by Shomi Patwary.
Daytona was released on May 25 as the first project of Kanye West's "Wyoming Sessions." Four of the album's songs have cracked the Billboard Hot 100 including "Infrared," "If You Know You Know," "The Games We Play," and "What Would Meek Do" featuring West. The album also debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
A full list of dates for the 2018 Daytona Tour, along with ticket information, can be found via LiveNation's website.
Photo: Rune Hellestad/Getty Images
Travis Scott Drops "Watch" Featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Kanye West
The GRAMMY-nominated rapper returns with a new single boasting two high-profile features
Houston-born rapper Travis Scott capped off a busy week by releasing a new single on May 4, "Watch," featuring Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye West. The song's intro references Scott's forthcoming album, Astroworld, which will be his third studio album.
Earlier this week, Scott appeared on Playboi Carti's "Love Hurts," delivering a guest verse for the rapper's return from a relatively quiet year since releasing his debut mixtape last April.
Lil Uzi is coming off two GRAMMY nominations at the 60th GRAMMY Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance for his 2017 hit "Bad And Bougee."
West has a large menu of upcoming releases slated for late May and June, including his eighth studio album plus pulling production duty on new albums by Nas, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, and a collab with fellow GRAMMY-winner Kid Cudi.
Scott's summer will include several big festival appearances, starting with his May 13 performance at Miami's Rolling Loud Festival. The GRAMMY-nominated rapper will also appear at Governors Ball in New York City, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Hard Festival in Pomona, Calif., and Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, Texas. As of yet, no release date for Astroworld has been announced.
FYI/TMI: Stars Come Together For Hurricane Sandy, Justin Bieber Breaks The Law
Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney among performers for Sandy benefit; Bieber gets ticketed in L.A.
(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….)
More Stars Come Together For Hurricane Sandy
GRAMMY winners Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Kanye West, and legendary rockers Roger Waters and the Who will perform at a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy on Dec. 12 in New York. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund to aid hurricane victims.
SoundExchange Reports 3Q Royalty Payments
Performance rights organization SoundExchange distributed $122.5 million in royalty payments during the third quarter of 2012, marking the organization's largest quarterly payout since its founding in 2000, according to Billboard.biz. SoundExchange has distributed $326.9 million in performance royalties for the year to date, bringing the organization's grand payout total to $1.2 billion since 2000.
Bieber Breaks The Law
As if Justin Bieber's recent trouble in love wasn't hard enough for the 18-year-old, the teen pop sensation has now run into some trouble with law enforcement. Bieber was ticketed by Los Angeles police on Nov. 13 after he was pulled over in his Ferrari in West Hollywood, Calif., for making an unsafe left turn. On top of that, cops found his registration was expired. Hopefully now there's one less unsafe driver on the road.
Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Janelle Monáe: 'Dirty Computer' Track List Features Brian Wilson, Pharrell Williams
The R&B singer reveals the inspiration behind each of the 14 tracks on her upcoming studio album
We're just two days out from Janelle Monáe's first studio album since 2013's The Electric Lady, and today she revealed the LP's track list thanks to an interactive website packed with goodies.
The interactive website announcing Dirty Computer's track list requires users to type "I am a dirty computer" before entering. Then we get to the details, including the titles, guest artists and inspirations behind the 14-track album — which are prompted when a user clicks through the tracks on an orange circular backdrop.
Dirty Computer will feature guest appearances by former Beach Boy Brian Wilson ("Dirty Computer"), Zoë Kravitz ("Screwed"), the previously released collaboration with Grimes ("Pynk"), and Pharrell Williams ("I Got The Juice").
We also learn the wide-ranging and often political influences Monáe has channeled for the LP, which range from Bible verses to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., to Barack Obama, Quincy Jones, Prince, and Black Panther and "the vibranium in Wakanda."
The reveal of Dirty Computer's track list also comes one day before the 44-minute sci-fi Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture short film starring Monáe and actor Tessa Thompson that will air exclusively on MTV and BET on April 26. It features a futuristic storyline in a society where citizens are referred to as "computers" and will set the tone for the album's release the following day on April 27.
"Dirty Computer is a near-future story about a citizen who finds love and danger in a totalitarian society. She's an outlaw because she’s being herself," she said, per Billboard. "Overall, I wanted to reflect what's happening in the streets right now, and what might happen tomorrow if we don't band together and fight for love."