Former member of hip hop duo Clipse and current protege of Kanye West, Pusha T is blazing his way back onto the scene with his second studio album. As the title would suggest, this album comes as merely a precursor to his 2016 release, King Push. And if this is the warm-up, the main act will be nothing short of incredible. Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude sees Pusha T’s familiar spitfire-style delivery over a selection of energetic, brutal tracks, which invigorate as much as they intrigue.
From the sparse, industrial instrumentation of F.I.F.A to the rattling rhythm of Got Em Covered, the sheer ingenuity of the album is astounding. Pusha T’s lyrics remain as unflinchingly dark as always, by turns shocking and realistic. Sunshine sees guest artist Kanye West exploring themes of overt racism and white supremacy in the United States, while opening track Crutches, Crosses, Caskets has Pusha T lamenting the siren call of money and fame: “all I see is victims…all I see is death by the masses”. His machine-gun-fire style of delivery perfectly complements the jagged beats of each track, creating an ice-cold feeling of foreboding which carries throughout the album.
The production is gritty, the bass is loud and the beats incredibly catchy. Although the album bounces from echoing trap (Intro) to squelching synthesiser (Retribution), through it all Pusha T maintains a constant conviction in his wicked, gleeful rhymes.