Almost every gangster movie or its sequel features a character going legit. Or trying as hard as they can. Scene after scene in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II show Michael Corleone telling anyone who will listen that the Corleone family is walking on the side of the angels after one, two, or a dozen more scores. For Pusha T, his 2018 opus Daytona was his massive score.
Push distilled everything about his dope brand of hardcore hip-hop into an almost perfect seven-track piece of work. It’s Almost Dry, due out this Friday (April 22nd), feels like the reflections of a former gangster doing his best to live a regular life. But, to paraphrase the head of the Corleone family, just when Push thinks he’s out, the game pulls him back in.
While not as strong as Daytona, It’s Almost Dry is more well-rounded. The album is a potent blend of evil deeds, evil thoughts, regrets, and insults to imaginary players. Pusha’s latest is filled with several reminders that Pusha T can still go “blow for blow with any Mexican,” even as a family man. Or, go rhyme for rhyme with any emcee who thinks his edges are dulled and softened.
Produced by Pharrell and Ye, It’s Almost Dry is Push’s best rap performance since 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury. King Push’s willingness to experiment with different flows and cadences shows an improvement from where he was just four years ago. “Neck & Wrist” and “Call My Bluff” highlight this different approach. Sure, the voice is still menacing, but a slight change of pitch while finding different pockets to settle into and creating a new rhythm is a level of craft absent on Daytona.
Pusha isn’t sacrificing substance for style, either, as he proves on “Neck & Wrist”: “Summertime winter fell, I’m the knight king/ The Colgate kilo, the hood needs whitening/ We fish scale n—-s like we all Pisces/ Ya bitch in my bubble like I’m still typing/ She hoping that you let her go, like a kite string.” While some may chafe at Pusha T, knee-deep in a two-decade career, still talking kilos, the man understands his audience and knows he’s filling a void in the rap game.
It’s Almost Dry drips confidence from knowing Pusha is one of a few artists who can do what he does at a very high level. In an era where hip-hop is increasingly more accepted by mainstream audiences, Push is on a mission to prove the hip-hop he grew up loving is “still viable.”