1. The last time we heard from Beanie Sigel, it was 2012 when he dropped his last album, This Time before going to jail. Two years in prison and not too long after his release, Sigel was shot. But he survived his hardships and when approached by Pusha to jump on his new album, Sigel was beyond ready to get on the mic. The track, “Keep Dealing,” features Sigel’s new, raspy voice (the shooting caused issues to his lungs) but it hasn’t affected his ability to spit lyrics like no other. The track is about hitting rock bottom and getting back up as both artists rap about personal, problematic situations.
2. “Retribution” is a somewhat of a self reflection track for Pusha. He raps about his history with dope dealing, women’s thirst for money, admiration from the greats and finally working with Timbaland. He raps, “Me and Timbo in that two door making our Otis.” Kehlani is featured on the hook of the track as she sings, “And I promise I hardly see you/From where I am, it’s so hard to see you/Got money, I’ve been different ever since.” Combining a new comer with a veteran in the game is the perfect mix. They meet each other in the middle with their different styles of music.
3. A lot of people think that Puff Daddy sits back and collects money from his many ventures. But the famous entrepreneur would put more producers to shame. And that’s exactly what he set out to do with “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets.” Pusha explained to Genius that Puff really pushed him on this track, “Puff is a very hard critic. He pushed me like no other producer has pushed me. That’s just a frustration line, I’m just frustrated in the moment. It’s hard to please Puff. He told me that if he could see where my next line was going then that’s the wrong line.”
4. One name: Jill Scott. We are all big fans and can never get enough of the soulful singer. She brings in her beautiful voice for the single as Pusha raps about the plague taking over america: violence. He raps about police brutality, “Still a target but the badge is the new noose/Yeah, we all see it but the cellphones ain’t enough proof.” Pusha’s truthful lyrics are matched by Scott’s sweet but painful singing. We need more artists spreading the word like this.
5. “M.P.A.” is an all star track. It features short clips by The-Dream, Kanye West and A$AP Rocky but the artists don’t make the single. The production is on point and matches Pusha’s hardcore lyrics about men’s three vices: Money, Pu**y & Alcohol. West covers most of the production on the track but towards the end J. Cole swoops in and brings in a darker mood.
6. It’s been some time since we’ve heard Timbaland like we hear him on Darkest Before Dawn. His production has been most certainly missed and we are gracious to hear him behind the boards. Timb covers three tracks on this album including “Untouchable,” which samples Biggie and was the first single off the album. We hear the old ’90s/’00s Timb on the track, “Got Em Covered,” as it features an up beat tempo.
7. There is more to come! Darkest Before Dawn is the prelude to King Push. As Pusha has stated recently,Darkest Before Dawn is the type of music his fans want to hear and he would want to hear if he were on the other end of it. Along with preparing for his next album, Pusha was recently named the President of G.O.O.D. Music and sold out on his second installment of sneakers with Adidas.
All together, Pusha is setting the bar high for his fellow rapping colleagues. His raps have this cold, blunt aura to them and when he says he is rapping for himself, it’s clear. He doesn’t hold back in fear of what the label or critics might think. With lyrics like, “Dope is like a two way street/The addiction both you and me/Now take a seat,” Pusha puts the dope game out in the open and once again confirms what we all know: he doesn’t need hip-hop. But hip-hop definitely needs him.
Cop Darkest Before Dawn today and take a listen to the blend of perfected production, raw lyrics and another masterful story told by hip-hop’s most underrated music dealer below.
J. Cuevas MT