With an audio clip of Manny and Tony Montana from “Scarface” at the Cuban vendor washing dishes as his intro, Pusha-T creates a metaphor and a bit of context for why he and his brother, Malice, who together formed the rap duo Clipse, decided to go their separate ways.
Pusha-T’s mixtape “Fear of God” dropped on March 21. Produced by Kanye West for his label G.O.O.D. Music, the mixtape is a combination of original beats and remixes to beats that are some of the hottest in the game.
The first track “My God” is an anthem to Pusha-T’s history as a hustler. “Make a small town feel I threw a blizzard at it” is a reference to his past days of selling cocaine. With gospel organs and triumphant trumpets throughout, Pusha’s first track promises much more of the beat perfection the hip-hop world has come to expect from G.O.O.D Music.
After a glimpse of the new stuff he’s bringing to the game, Pusha-T offers his own rendition of Lil Wayne’s classic track from the “Carter II,” “Money on My Mind.” Much like Lil Wayne’s version of the song, Pusha elaborates in rhyme on how he made it in the game. Pusha follows up with “Feeling Myself,” more of a celebratory song with a T-Pain sounding Kevin Cossum providing the catchy hook.
“Cook It Down Freestyle” provides the minimalistic offerings of a simple steady organ, snare and bass. Drake’s brief autotune-sung hook makes the grade for exceptional autotune usage. Pusha transitions with “Open Your Eyes” a sampling of Queen’s 1970 “Bohemian Rhapsody.” As the proposed denouement of the mixtape, Freddy Mercury’s angelic hook and back vocals mixes well with Pusha’s somber rap. His confessional is a rap classic for the decades.
Pusha continues with class with the Motown inspired track “Can I Live.” Pusha’s verses emphasize his readiness to get through the music business with the bravado of admitting his past exploits, “Something out of nothing a team full of MacGyvers.” The next track “Raid” ushers in long-time N.E.R.D. collaborator, Pharell, who lays down an R&B inspired hook over the vibrating waves of the grand piano of the South. The track also features 50 Cent, who completed the trio and made “Raid” an ambush on your ear drum.
The mixtape continues with the quality of a finished product when Pusha brings out Kanye West on “Touch It.” Filled with jerkish humor mocking the romantic types, Kanye and Pusha team up once again, since Pusha’s appearances on Kanye’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” and make such a good combo that they could give LeBron and D-Wade a run for their money. Pusha’s outro track “Alone in Vegas” couldn’t be more appropriate. Rapped as if he was writing it alone in his hotel, “Alone in Vegas” is the final chapter of this free audio memoir.
For hardcore hip-hop heads to those just flirting with the genre, Pusha-T’s mixtape has something for everyone. Even if you don’t appreciate the lyricism of raps, the range of tracks has a beat that will have everyone bopping along.