5 Things We Learned After Our First Listen to Pusha T's 'Daytona' Album
Last month, Kanye West announced an onslaught of new G.O.O.D. Music projects slated to drop over the summer - and first up is none other than the label’s president, Pusha T, with a new album titled DAYTONA.
The new, Kanye-produced seven-song set isn’t the King Push LP that fans have been waiting for since 2013, but a completely different vision. “I changed the album title from “King Push” to “DAYTONA” because I felt it didn’t represent the overall message of this body of work,” Pusha T tweeted on Wednesday (May 23), before releasing the tracklist.
The new title uses wordplay while referencing the Rolex Daytona wristwatch. “DAYTONA represents the fact that I have the luxury of time. That luxury only comes when you have a skill set that you’re confident in.” Read below for five things we learned from Pusha-T’s new album.
Pusha-T Kept This Album Short and Sweet
While Pusha says that he has the luxury of time, today’s rap listener doesn’t -- and Pusha appears to honor that, with DAYTONA being seven songs long. In Kanye West’s tweets and in a video of him in the lab, he revealed that each of the upcoming albums he’s working on are that length (the reasoning behind this hasn’t been revealed yet, though seven is considered a holy number in Christianity, Kanye’s faith). The result is an album even shorter than Pusha’s last project, Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude -- the previous album clocked in at 33 minutes, while DAYTONA is about 21 minutes long.
Kanye West Has A lot on His Mind: Trump, Racism, and Family Losses
On “What Would Meek Do,” Kanye follows a sharp Pusha-T verse with one of the first we’ve heard from him since his controversial support of Donald Trump this spring. “Everything 'Ye say cause a new debate/ You see, he been out of touch, he can not relate,” Kanye rhymes. “If you not driving while black, do they stop you? Will MAGA hats let me slide like a drive-through?” He also shouts out his cousin Ricky Anderson and his one-year-old son Avery, who was reportedly found unresponsive during a nap.
“That phone call from Ricky still hazy, when heaven has an angel named Avery,” Kanye laments. He ends the song by insisting that he’ll be upfront about his pains: “No more hiding the scars, I show them like Seal, right?” This one verse doesn’t focus on any specific topic for too long, but it may hint at more personal content to come with the other upcoming projects.
Pusha-T Still Has Smoke for Drake and Birdman.
On the album closer “Infrared,” Pusha-T continues his years-long feuds with Drake and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. “It was written like Nas, but it came from Quentin,” he says, referring to Drake collaborator Quentin Miller. He also responded to Drake’s assertions on “Two Birds, One Stone” that he has exaggerated his drug dealing past. “The only rapper sold more dope than me is Eazy-E,” he insists. “How could you ever right these wrongs, when you don’t even write your songs?”
He also takes pride in being one of the first rappers to diss Bryan “Birdman” Williams for alleged dishonest business practices with his Cash Money Records signees. “Now it’s okay to kill Baby? Niggas looking at me crazy like I really killed a baby,” Pusha quips. He then salutes Rick Ross for dissing Williams on 2017’s “Idols Become Rivals,” and shows empathy for Lil Wayne, who is embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit with Williams.
“[Ross] sees what I see when you see Wayne on tour: flash without the fire, another multiplatinum rapper trapped and can’t retire. Niggas get exposed, I see the cracks, and I’m the liar?” While dissing Drake and Birdman for what he considers their lack of integrity, he still hasn’t lost hope in rap. “Believe in myself, and the Coles and Kendricks, let the sock puppets play in their roles and gimmicks.”
Kanye West Really Has Been Chopping Beats in the Sunken Place
Kanye West has garnered a lot of criticism in recent years -- previously because of his tendency to make his productions large collaborative works, and far more in recent weeks for his outspoken support of President Donald Trump and other controversial statements. But he's back behind the decks solo here, and he sounds as inspired as ever. Whether it’s through soul samples (“Come Back Baby”) or sinister basslines (“Infrared”), producer Kanye is back, and we hope he stays a little longer.
Pusha-T Is Ready to Place Himself Among Rap’s Greats
As if his lyrical acumen isn’t evidence enough, Pusha-T shows respect for rap greats throughout on DAYTONA. In the first six bars of album opener “If You Know You Know...” he shouts out De La Soul’s Dave (aka Trugoy the Dove), and on “Infrared,” he salutes JAY-Z and Will Smith for standing up for hip-hop before it got its proper respects. He also lends a salute to his coke rap predecessors, and his goals to make a classic like Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. “To all of my young niggas, I am your Ghost and your Rae/this is my Purple Tape, save it for Rainy Dayz,” he spits on “The Games We Play.”