Album review: Pusha T’s ‘King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude’

Mike Pizzo

Three and a half stars

Pusha T King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Pusha T set the bar pretty high in 2013 with My Name Is My Name, which was meant to be a precursor to his assumed masterpiece, King Push. With fans anxiously awaiting that release, Clipse’s prodigal son holds us over with the awkwardly triple-titled King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, which kind of says, “This is King Push but isn’t.” It’s clear, however, that T is saving his best material for his eventual pièce de résistance, as this record offsets strong tracks with filler. The production is sparse and pared down, despite the employment of usually loud producers like Timbaland, Kanye and Baauer—most likely to highlight T’s endlessly quotable lyrics, like on Biggie-sampling highlight “Untouchable” (“Ignore most requests for the feature/Unless it’s getting played on the beach in Ibiza”). Despite some lackluster cuts in the second half (“Got Em Covered,” “F.I.F.A.”), T pulls through at the end with the politically-charged “Sunshine,” which finds Jill Scott doing a spot-on Nina Simone. The first half of the record feels worthy of King Push; the second half seems more like The Prelude.

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