When one half of the Clipse departed I was scared. Although Pusha-T made a solid choice in joining Yeezy's G.O.O.D Music, I couldn't help but lament the effects of the move. I came close to sleepless nights punctuated with sweaty nightmares at the thought of a world without the group that brought us 'Grindin', 'Mr Me Too' and 'Freedom'. When first introduced to Pusha and Malice back in 2002 their intelligent lyricism coupled with Neptune beats seriously got me considering vacating suburbia in search of a life of Pyrex dishes and Re-Ups-although I only recently found out what a Re-Up was and I'm still cloudy on the significance of a Pyrex dish in the manufacturing of cocaine. Nevertheless, Pusha and Malice's evident intelligence bounced off each other, making their music appealing. This begs the question, could Pusha-T really do it on his own?
My mad rush to download this free mixtape was not without reward. On listening to 'I Still Wanna' all my apprehensions were allayed. Dissatisfied with explicitly telling us he's still committed to Clipes' cocaine lifestyle, Pusha continues with a welcome level of word play to prove it "looking for the fishscale like I'm tryna find nemo" . Indeed the beat does well to match the 'I aint changed' attitude he is trying to portray, making one feel as though they are congregation member at the Church of the Corner.The sample echoes the sound of a majestic choir rejoicing over a heartfelt melody following a good sermon. And Hip Hop pastor Pusha seems to have roped his best priests into giving him a hand. In addition to appearances from Pharrell, Kanye West and Rick Ross we get a verse from 50 Cent on 'Raid'. This Neptunes produced track gives an insight into what a Pusha T outside of Clipse will sound like. He is still has the same level of bite to his delivery, but can now be tested alongside the real heavy hitters. He goes toe to toe with 50,who admittedly goes in, and himself seems to be recovering from a long lyrical lapse. 'Raid' is a blend of the old and new. Catchy Pharrell hook, the old. Verses from 50 cent on a G.O.O.D Music track, new. It works, and alongside 'I Still Wanna' they are two of this mixtapes stand out tracks.
This wouldn't be a true mixtape without an assortment of freestyles. Not to disappoint, Pusha gives us five. 'Cook It down' and the 'Can I live' freestyles are two of note. The latter, apparently recorded in a luxury Abu Dhabi hotel takes the beat from Jay-Z's classic 'Reasonable Doubt' and treats it with respect. Instead of simply pretending to be still dabbling with the game, as Jay-Z may have been in 1996, Pusha recognises that his affiliation with the Rosewood Movement requires more. Theres now talk of Balenciaga bags, "three bitches, three different flights.. front row seats at that Paul Williams fight". Having said this, he still has that 'Can I live' attitude, see the solomn 'Cook It Down' for evidence.
I believe the best insight into the new sound of a Clipse-less Pusha T is epitomised by two songs, 'Touch It' ft Kanye West and 'My God'. 'Touch It' is unlike the Pusha of Clipse. The sound is more light-hearted than his usual cocaine raps, maybe bordering on the frivolous. The sample used alleviates the usual callousness of a Clipse song, making 'Touch It' a possible club banger. 'My God' however is classic Clipse but laced with a majestic horn sample as to display Pusha's newfound individual desire.