With just 3 albums in his discography since 2011, Pusha T is not one to consistently release new music, but when he does release an album it feels like a ceremony and makes an impact. His last album was released in 2015 and since then, fans have been hoping and dreaming of the day Pusha T will drop a new project with anticipation. That was before Kanye brought the G.O.O.D. news to the world – in a series of tweets, he announced upcoming releases from Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Nas, and Kid Cudi. Although initially titled King Push, Pusha T chose to change the title because he felt “it didn’t represent the overall message” of the album. In another tweet he said, “DAYTONA represents the fact that I have the luxury of time. That luxury only comes when u have a skill set that your confident in.” As for what’s to be expected on DAYTONA, Push said the album was created especially for his “family, high taste level, luxury, drug raps fans.”
’If You Know You Know’ begins without preamble with a strong rhyme scheme, which will only be relatable for those “who know.” In a mature way, he differentiates between rappers and drug dealers: “bricklayers in ball shorts, coaching from the side of the ball courts.” Although he talks about rappers, this isn’t the kind of song 6ix9ine or Lil Xan can relate to. Pusha T is no stranger to tracks filled with lyrics about drugs: on ‘The Game We Play’ he gives a shout out to the drug dealers—the people behind the scenes— “the names they fade”. “This is the drug money your ex nigga claim he made” will have many girlfriends asking their man why he isn’t making drug money. With the message behind this song, he shows respect for drug dealers, and the profession of drug dealing.
The track “Hard Piano” is appropriately named – the piano riffs come in strong and heavy from the start while incredible lyrics drive the track forward:. “exactly what the game’s been missing, this fire burns as hot as Hell’s Kitchen” is the perfect representation for his lyrics. Rick Ross is the perfect person to feature on this song, as he is another OG when it comes to drug dealing and carries himself like a respectable drug dealer—a boss. I imagine Pusha T and Rick Ross literally spitting fire in the booth as this track was recorded or at least exhaling some smoke, as they each deliver equally outstanding lyrics. That’s what you get when the “old generation” of rappers come together on a track – a fresh beat and fire lyrics. The beat is fresh and complements the hook. The consistent piano chord is an undeniably attractive element on this track which acts as the role of the other players on the Cavaliers team. Although LeBron is the main attraction like the hook, the subtle role of the other players contributes to their victory.
With ‘Come Back Baby’” Pusha T continues to glorify drug money as he raps: “Bought hoes Honda’s// took care of children…built out buildings//rapped on classics”. ‘Santeria’ is a track that will catch you off guard. During the first part of the song, I thought I was hearing Pusha T display his usual rhymes and similes. Although of top-notch quality, I wanted to hear something unique and fresh. Then on cue, the refrain comes up and the song transforms. With the change in tempo, I felt as if I were in a concert lights just got turned off, and something exciting was about to happen. The drum roll gave me goosebumps and made me anxious. Finally, he broke out into his final verse and I imagined fireworks, theatrical fog and confetti as Pusha T burst out with his lines. “Santeria” presents the most exciting moments on this album.
Responding to the question “Niggas talking shit, how do you respond?” both rappers reply with their lines on the track “What Would Meek Do?” Pusha T opened his verse by saying “I’m top 5”. Meanwhile, Kanye’s response to this question was “woo, skrt//whoop woopy whoop//” – disappointing. Dissing Drake, he says: “It was written like Nas but it came from Quintinn” and “How could you ever right these wrongs when you don’t even write your songs”. In 2016, Drake used a few words on the Kanye West-assisted “’Two Birds, One Stone’ to call out someone—presumably King Push—who “made a couple chops” and now believes they’re Chapo. Pusha T uses this track as an opportunity to reply to him. He also talks about the state of industry: “The game’s fucked up” while citing great rappers like him—Kendrick, Cole, Ross, Hov and Wayne.
Pusha T approaches this album as a rapper who knows his worth—like a king. With 7 tracks, he shows a prowess that is stronger than some albums longer than 15 tracks. When he rhymes, he does it with skill. When he spits, he does it like a dragon. Whether he’s talking about drugs, money or being a king in the rap game, his message is clear and he brings an interesting rhythm on every song. Love him or not, Kanye West is a genius. His verse is not one of the best things on this album, but his production certainly is. After listening to ‘Santeria’ and ‘Hard Piano’” I was forced to tweet “God Bless Kanye West”. DAYTONA is basically 7 tracks of quality rap from King Push and 7 tracks of top-notch production by master Ye. After listening to this album, I feel I should buy a yacht with the drug money I don’t have, dress like Diddy, select the finest tobacco, and cross my legs as I appreciate life. This album is on another level.