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Looking at the track list to this album on paper, I initially thought it was going to be a disaster. 10 out of the 12 songs had guest features, and with only a couple exceptions, most of these guests had the reputation of being some of the worst, most undeserving so-called hip-hop artists to record music in this decade. Surprisingly enough however, Pusha T found a way to make all the collaborations work to his advantage and not take away from the album. Chris Brown didn’t sound so annoying with the hook he provided, he was actually kind of tolerable. Rick Ross’ guest verse wasn’t such a weak-rhyming piece of sh** I was expecting from him, he actually rapped pretty well and had a nice back-and-forth with Push on the hook. 2 Chainz and Medium Sean can be tolerable in small doses, Future was only allowed to do a hook (thank God), and surprisingly, I thought the weakest guest feature on here actually came from Kelly Rowland (not so much her fault, the song was just a bad fit for the album).
Anyway, I’ve always felt lukewarm towards Pusha T and the Clipse. They always had good beats, nice flows and decent wordplay, but their rhymes and subject matter never really drew me in 100%. Here with his first solo album, Pusha T has stepped his pen game up, yet he spends a lot of time catering to mainstream/club/radio fans rather than core hip-hop fans. That being said, Push spits some of the nicest verses of his career on his two solo songs on this album and the one featuring Kendrick Lamar (who kept up with him well). On other songs he rides the beats well with his smooth flow and decent rhymes, consistently outshining his guest rappers (again, an argument can be made for Kendrick), and not really coming wack on any of these songs. Overall this is a solid debut solo album for Pusha T, and a good mainstream rap album in general, but I think there’s still room for Push to do better and not rely on so many non-talented rappers to make him look good; “Who I Am” could’ve been a MONSTER track if he replaced 2 Chainz and Medium Sean with better rappers!
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): B
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #19 on the countdown!
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