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It’s Almost Dry Review: Pusha T Creates a Modern Coke Rap Classic

Expectations were high going into It’s Almost Dry, the fourth solo album by Pusha T. After all, the G.O.O.D. Music president has spent four years crafting the follow-up to 2018’s masterpiece, Daytona, which was entirely produced by Kanye West. Push enlists a returning West and frequent collaborator Pharrell Williams (who helped put Clipse, a group composed of Pusha T and his brother Malice, on the map) in producing six tracks each for the 12-track album. It’s an incredibly promising pairing that sees both producers attempting to one-up their fellow contemporary great while one of this generation’s best lyricists raps on top of their incredible beats.

5 Standout Tracks

The opening track of the album, the Pharrell produced “Brambleton,” sets the mood perfectly as it demonstrates that King Push’s lyricism is still at an all-time high. While personal drama between an ex-manager and an artist doesn’t typically make for the most interesting track,  the ways Pusha T details a friendship went awry is vivid. “Had a million answers, didn’t have a clue/why Michael kissed Fredo in Godfather II,” Push raps of his former manager giving interviews trashing him in the media. There’s never a wasted breath or syllable in It’s Almost Dry and fans have gotten to see an artist that is on another level and is truly just now entering his prime as an artist.

The first track produced by Ye is the third song on the album, “Dreamin Of The Past,” which sounds like vintage Kanye as he samples Donny Hathaway’s sensational cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” Pusha T shows incredible poise here and demonstrates his growth not only in his own skin but as an artist. No longer feeling like he isn’t as respected as he should be, Push exudes confidence while spitting bars such as, “You hollerin’, ‘Top five,’ I only see top me. Award shows the only way you bitches could rob me.” West also has a short verse to close the track, which has a pretty entertaining line about how he almost bought the mansion from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but he didn’t like how the kitchen was designed.

“Neck & Wrist” is the strongest braggadocious rap track on the album and features both Push and Jay-Z giving a verse to discuss their come-up selling cocaine and their current lives of luxury. However, the most interesting aspect is Jay reflecting on the death of The Notorious B.I.G. and if that impacted his success as critics doubt he would’ve become the king of New York rap otherwise. “If BIG had survived, y’all would have got The Commission,” Jay raps, referencing the planned supergroup with both of them. “Hov was gonna always be Hov. It was the universe’s will cause Allah said so, and now I’m here.” Considering his wordplay throughout the verse and his stellar career, it’s hard to disagree.

“Rock N Roll” enlists the Kids See Ghosts duo of Kanye and Kid Cudi in what might be their last collaboration due to the current rift between the pair. While bittersweet currently, it’s a great track that is elevated by Cudi’s catchy chorus. Push also shows some excellent wordplay as he references Super Mario Bros. through his sell of cocaine: “I been gettin’ at these coins as I’m breakin’ down the brick./Make the jump to each level, Super Mario exists.” Ye’s feature is also much stronger than his earlier album appearance. Through a raspy voice, Kanye addresses his current mental state. “Pushing me over the edge, don’t know if I’m fallin’ or flyin’,” Ye says. “How many nights I pray, how many times?/No matter what we say, God will decide, God will decide.”

The album closer, “I Pray For You,” reunites Pusha T with his brother Malice, while Labrinth sings a beautiful intro, bridge, and outro that completes the track produced by himself and West. It’s also an incredible gesture as Push doesn’t get the last word on It’s Almost Dry, instead allowing Malice to close it out with an incredible verse, arguably the best on the entire album. “X told you Hell is hot, I told you, ‘Repent,’” raps Malice, referencing the late DMX and his classic debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. “Faith never wavered as I walked along the fence.” Throughout the entire verse, Malice shows how important his Christianity and changed life is to him, but also isn’t afraid to get a bit darker. As one of his final bars fabulously demonstrates, “I greet you with the love of God, that don’t make us friends./I might whisper in his ear, ‘Bury all of them.’”

Small Notes:

  • The lead single of “Diet Coke” was great when it was released in February and fits even better here due to the sequencing.
  • There is an entertaining Joker motif as Push references him on “Rock N Roll” by saying, “I’m the trap, I’m the fix, I’m the broker, I’m The Joker/In the deck, Arthur Fleck, when he’s pissed, triple six.” He also has a Joker-like laugh in the background of many of the Pharrell tracks. As the self-proclaimed rap game villain, adapting some Joker mannerisms is a fun way to play it up while not detracting from the actual music.
  • “Hear Me Clearly,” which was also included in Nigo’s recent album I Know NIGO!, felt like a leftover track from Push and Pharrell’s sessions given to the Japanese fashion icon and its inclusion here makes it the weakest track of the bunch. That’s not even to say it’s bad, it’s still a very good song with quite a few lever lines, but it is neither of the artists’ best work together and didn’t need to be included on two albums. This is far from “Slow Jamz” appearing on both Kanye’s College Dropout and Twista’s Kamikaze as nobody is rushing to put it on repeat.
  • It’s great to see Push working with the younger generation and it creates an incredibly catchy tune in “Scrape It Off.” Both Lil Uzi Vert and Don Tolliver bring their A-game here and this meshing of generations works perfectly.
  • If you have 54 minutes to spare, I highly recommend listening to Professor Skye’s breakdown of the album and its themes.

SCORE: 9/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 9 equates to “Excellent.” Entertainment that reaches this level is at the top of its type. The gold standard that every creator aims to reach.

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