Pusha T‘s third studio album, Daytona, is a stripped down effort with nothing but malice, rage and bravado as its foundation. In just seven songs Pusha T reasserts his credibility as a drug kingpin turned rap icon, and the less-is-more approach proves that you don’t have to overexert yourself to get your point across, especially when you are as well-established as Pusha T. His exhaust and chains flow is just as menacing and the gritty street narratives is a reminder of what the G.O.O.D. Music sound ethos is all about.

Kanye‘s production is a vital part of the equation. The minimalist style is once again embraced as Ye is able to take small sounds and make them sound bigger than they are. The soul samples add a hauntingly beautiful touch, which provides a potent contrast to Pusha T’s raw lyricism. The catch is is that as a whole there’s not enough to fully capture Pusha T’s vision. The Drake diss track swallows the album and pulls away from the other striking tales Pusha T is touching upon. It’s still a strong effort, but reads more like an EP than an actual full-length.

If You Know You Know

Pusha T takes the children to school, letting all the pups know that he was laying it down on the biggest stage while they were still in pampers. It was a long battle out of the trenches and never did he compromise his integrity for the sake of longevity. He’s drawing comparisons to the drug game, the cut-throat nature of both industries showing him that the only way to make it is to take it: [LISTEN]

The Games We Play

The classic grind song seen through the eyes of an emerging icon. He’s once again drawing from the drug game, but this time stretching his perspective to include the perks that have come with his conquests. We’re not talking free valet and a complementary beverage, but rather caviar face masks and crates upon crates of champagne. He’s living the high life and making sure he enjoys every moment: [LISTEN]

Hard Piano

Longevity doesn’t happen by accident and according to Pusha T the top rule to adhere to is to not get involved with someone who loves the spotlight more than you do; she’ll cut you down and leave you to wallow in your sorrows. Rick Ross plays co-star and reels off his own list of do’s and don’ts. They’re breaking bread and honoring each other’s rise to super stardom, game recognizing game: [LISTEN]

Come Back Baby

The dope game has been good to him and he’s honoring the hustle with a nod to the street life. He’s delving deeper than your average, explaining how there was a Robin Hood element to his grind. It started out as a modest hustle, and with a series of savvy moves he was able to turn a local operation into an empire. He’s applying the same principles to rap and finding an equal amount of success: [LISTEN]

Santeria

Pusha T opens up about the death of a close friend and now that the tears have shed he’s looking for answers. The vengeance on his mind is coming to a roaring boil, but instead of letting it get the best of him he’s channeling other forces to help him exorcise his demons. Spirituality has always stood at the peripherals of Pusha T’s work, a byproduct of an environment where life is not guaranteed: [LISTEN]

What Would Meek Do?

Pusha T is navigating two different worlds, the rap game and the drug game. The balance he strikes between the styles is what makes him such a unique voice; one moment he can be discussing the creative direction of a new song and the next he could be dissecting the ruthlessness of the streets. The ability to code switch on a drop of a dime is a skill that has made him a celebrated superstar: [LISTEN]

Infrared

The bell rings and T comes out swinging. He’s looking for the knockout, head-hunting Drake with one massive shot after another. He’s calling Drizzy out for using a ghostwriter and comparing his success to Trump winning the presidency. The sparse beat makes it so that there is nowhere to hide, and that his opponent knows exactly where to find him. No running, a call for toe-to-toe action: [LISTEN]