GOOD Year For G.O.O.D Music
What is Hip-Hop? Since his College Dropout debut in 2004, Kanye West has driven you to ask yourself this question. Kanye manages to stay relevant with his unpredictable nature. From Jesus Walks to his choice of fashion to 808 & Heartbreak’s, he is forever reinventing himself. And with an array of talent on his record label he continues to push the envelope.
In Big Sean, Pusha T and himself he caters to all aspects of the genre. Having a back-packer and street rapper on your label seems to be the perfect formula for success which Kanye has executed perfectly. Along with the likes of Common, Travi$ Scott, Teyana Taylor, CyHi The Prynce, etc. – Ye seems to have the full package on his roster.
From listening to Maybach Music’s boss Ricky Rozay on the Juan Epstein podcast, I realised just how hard Kanye’s grind has been. He had been behind the scenes for years architecting some of the genres biggest hits and not to forget, along with Just Blaze, the majority of the Roc-A-Fella catalogue. Jay Z’s most notable work to date came with his assistance. This was the times way before he would even be credited for his beat production, choruses or feint adlibs.
When Jay-Z said “I turned a man to a GOAT” he really wasn’t lying. With Ye’s none stop work-rate, he almost single handedly forced himself into the upper echelon of artists. Although always witty, in my opinion, Kanye has never been the best lyricist but his greatness is undeniable. No one in the genre has pushed the boundaries more than Mr. West. Even by naming his daughter North West.
And as for his most recent media coverage – i.e. Paparazzi, Jimmy Kimmel, Justin Timberlake – Kanye West has been ranting for his whole career, it’s just that now with the platform he’s on you can’t help but acknowledge his presence.
Late last year we were finally granted the gift of a G.O.O.D music compilation in Cruel Summer, then into the new year we get a surprise drop from the label head himself in the critically acclaimed Yeezus then his protege Big Sean releases a solid sophomore project for the summer with Hall Of Fame, so what more could we really need? Some King Push!
Executive producing Pusha T’s debut solo studio album means that Mr. West’s hustle truly never stops. He puts his heart into his projects which he made clear in his recent interview with Zane Lowe. Whether it be music, fashion or Kim Kardashian – Kanye’s passion and dedication always shines through.
Now in my opinion, Yeezus is still my favourite album to drop in 2013 – which has to be the greatest year in Hip-Hop to date – but Pusha isn’t far off with his “album of the year” claims. It’s no coincidence that Yeezy’s had his hand in some of the best music this year. He strives for greatness and it’s evident from the outcome of his work.
With his new album cover designs (or lack thereof) and 10 song policy, the concept is clear… Less is more!
An unapologetic cadence in his memoirs of luxury living funded by the streets. Often labelled ‘the last street rapper’ to me Pusha T is much more than that. His impeccable lyricism has allowed him to be about the only rapper to get away with rapping solely on one topic for 10+ years. But in this album you hear a maturity in Pusha’s voice, although he’ll never stray away from his tales of ‘Blow’, he has certainly graduated from a drug dealer to Mr. Trick Bag as he often refers to himself.
Now although he would be referred to as a ‘street rapper’, his fan-base far exceeds that of just a street rapper. He has his loyal street followers but since his Star Trak days with The Neptunes he’s had some that would be more unlikely like university students and hipsters (maybe with assistance from Tyler, The Creator). “Who else could put the hipsters with felons and thugs!”
The length of delay that surrounded My Name Is My Name never dampened my anticipation. Being pushed back several times only made my hunger for Pusha’s first album post-Clipse heighten. But My skepticism over the quality was put to bed once I watched the King Push video along with hearing that infectious beat. More importantly, as the intro to the album, the opening words are “This is my time!”.
His Clipse partner was always the more moral of the two, finally giving in to his conscience and turning to a more positive style of rap. Even stating in an interview “My brother gives you what you want, I give you what you need”. But King Push was unrelenting with shying away from his dark past. His wordplay on the topic often gives it an ulterior meaning, none more intricate than the Pharrell assisted album outro ‘S.N.I.T.C.H’ about a childhood friend.
On the album, Pusha T plays with multiple styles and flows reminiscent of the classic Clipse album Hell Hath No Fury. On that album it was his elder brother
Malice No Malice who switched sounds repetitively throughout. It was stated that there was a 1994-99 influence on the album, none more evident than on the Kelly Rowland featured Let Me Love You where I was almost certain it was Ma$e and not Pusha T on the track. This almost felt like a Part 2 of Ma, I Don’t Love Her from the Clipse 2002 album Lord Willin’.
Essentially with all that said whether it be Yeezus, Pusha T’s, Jay Z’s or even Drake’s, J. Cole’s or Wale’s as album of the year candidate, Kanye’s imprint on the Hip-Hop genre is sure to be somewhere – subtly or outright – influencing our decisions.
Lakeem Greaves (@iamLAKZ)