Pusha T is a staple in coke rap, to say the absolute least. It’s unlikely that anyone would contest such a statement, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to hear someone question whether or not an artist who raps almost purely about selling cocaine and the life that surrounds it is really one of the greats.
The primary argument for this is fairly clear cut: aren’t the best artists well-rounded and original rather than just stuck primarily on one topic? On “It’s Almost Dry”, Pusha T proves that while he is fixated on selling drugs (almost to an obsessive extent), he is also a truly creative and, yes, original artist.
“It’s Almost Dry” is in many ways a new take on Push’s particular brand of drug dealing rhymes, as it is not only more creative lyrically and sonically, it is significantly more sinister. There are no holds barred on this album as Push spits his lyrical recountings and takes on the dope game to every corner of the spectrum imaginable. Lines like, “Sister, aunt, niece, duct tape them all” on “Call My Bluff” and “You know the type, always trying to get in your picture / I was just trying to get the dope through, in our sister” are just two examples of the lengths to which he takes his rhymes to represent just how serious he is about what he is saying to his fans, detractors and everyone in between. As he declared on his now infamous Drake dis track, “The Story of Adidon,” Push truly does have the ‘devil flow’.
The Virginia rapper doesn’t simply spit lines with a sharpened edge to them, however. On “It’s Almost Dry,” he frames it with not only the strong rapping ability listeners have come to expect from him, but also with a great deal of focus and intention. In other words, when he spits lines like, “The dope game destroyed my youth / now Kim Jones Dior my suits,” he is not simply tossing around a brag or a flex, he is documenting – in one single line – how his position relative to the coke selling he has spoken on so much throughout his career, has truly shaped him as an artist and person.
It is also important to note that while Push throws down severely sinister raps and flows on this album, he does not go overboard with them. This is particularly true in the sense that his lyrics are not purely for shock value or meant to be interacted with as rap jump scares. Instead, these lines fill in the sketches of his dark past that he created on past projects with cloud covered, yet vibrantly colorful details and increased degrees of coke dealing-fueled intensity.
This is all artfully backed by beats from producers such as Pharell Williams, Kanye West and more who craft a sonic atmosphere around Push’s sinister raps, one outlined with equally menacing drums and synths. Some of the premier standout beats on this album are found on “Let the Smokers Shine the Coops,” “Open Air,” and “Brambleton.”
Pusha T may rap about coke dealing to a sometimes excessive degree. Nevertheless, the rap icon is still finding ways to make his topic interesting. In this way, is there anyone better than an artist who can repeat his subject matter time and time again without allowing it to grow stale? Such creative ability is truly no joke.