This is the year of fulfilled promises. Prior to spring 2018, Pusha T indicated an epic follow-up album. 2015’s Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude impressed fans and critics alike. Its artwork remains one of hip-hop’s best covers to this day. While we patiently awaited his “King Push” album, Pusha T release dates disappeared one by one. Yet I did not fret. As an elite rap artist, Push chooses his moves carefully. A couple years back, Kanye named him President of G.O.O.D. Music. Despite adding portions to his plate, Pusha T found time to work on his forthcoming album. After many delays and transformations, P’s third studio album arrives. However, “King Push” is no longer its title. According to Push, Kanye West, the album’s production maestro, remade the project multiple times before its May 25th release. Now it goes by the name of DAYTONA. And it contains only seven tracks.
During his round of radio interviews, Pusha T revealed the title’s meaning. A Rolex Daytona is his favorite luxury watch. Though it represents more than a boast of riches. He believes skilled artists such as himself have the luxury of time. Due to his music’s high standard of quality, Push reaps the benefits of releasing music on his own terms. His fans expect dope music. And if anyone knows how to serve a fiend, it’s Pusha T. Additionally, DAYTONA’s 21-minute runtime respects listeners’ time by not taking up too much of it. Nevertheless, seven songs seems a little stingy. Kanye insisted there was power in the number seven. Maybe all that “dragon energy” has gone to his head. Or perhaps he discovered a secret formula. Throughout this brief offering, West’s contributions shine alongside Push’s cutthroat deliveries. The Virginia rhymer navigates Yeezy’s sample-based hurdles like a two-time gold medalist.
Pusha T continues to dish out verbal body blows to anyone whose bark is louder than their bite. This includes Drake, Birdman, or whoever else needs a lesson in hip-hop protocol. The photo above cost Push $85,000. It is a still of Whitney Houston’s Atlanta home bathroom. Pusha T’s cocaine references make a predictable appearance once again. This album art fits the bill, however touchy the subject may be. Even though Push and his team already picked out a suitable cover, Kanye scrapped it at the last second. Unfortunately, half of this album feels just as hurried. Pusha T writes bars, not hooks. So I expected some average choruses here. Yet seven songs did not satisfy me. Rick Ross and Kanye lend guest vocals. But both verses underwhelmed me overall. However, “Come Back Baby” is a rap classic. All in all, a legend like Push deserves a longer time slot.
Let me be clear, this is a memorable rap effort. However, I don’t deem DAYTONA as anywhere near a modern classic. “If You Know You Know” and the aforementioned “Come Back Baby” are some of Push’s best tracks to date. “The Games We Play” is also noteworthy. Yet the other four leave at least a little something on the table. “Infrared,” while a potent close to the album, prioritizes shock value. Its beef agenda takes precedence over thoughtful songwriting. Additionally, the hook and verses of “Santeria” feel like they belong on different songs. Push and 070 Shake perform well, but just not together, in my opinion. Pusha T’s supposed shining artistic moment loses traction over time. We will remember Summer 2018 as Drake vs. Pusha T rather than DAYTONA SZN due to Kanye’s obsession with relevance, which I find utterly disappointing.