Understatement of the Year Warning: Fans have been waiting over a year for Pusha T’s follow-up to the well-received Fear of God and Fear of God II: Let Us Pray. His latest mixtape, Wrath of Caine arrived hours late and that was enough to make folks on Twitter go mad. Finally, after all the anticipation, AllHipHop is here to offer a breakdown of his latest opus.
Intro [Prod. Dready]
“You laptop hot, just internet warm/download for download, don’t get caught up in my storm”
A frenzy of synths dance around and snapping hi hats with a menacing organ as Pusha T rattles off venemous bars on everything from drug talk to loose mothers steering daughters wrong. Oh and he said “I’mma lean until I’m the king of New Orleans“. YUUUCK!
Millions [Prod Southside, co-Produced by Kanye West]
“This that shit that y’all wanted/This shit cook up hard don’t it/y’all gotta beg my pardon on it/But this sh*t sound like God, don’t it?“
Pusha T’s fixation with God metaphors continues with the collaboration with an MC who made sure we understood he didn’t forgive even though God does. Very forgettable Rick Ross verse not ripe with his drug witty humor or visceral imagery that made songs like “I’m Not A Star” and “Yellow Diamonds” addictive. The chorus will break a few necks.
Doesn’t Matter [Prod. Renegades]
“Since y’all claim I’m Illuminati, tell me why would you try me/Kennedy/John F or Bobby/Almost caught Reagan too but they stopped us in the lobby/And that was broad day so how the fuck you going to stop me”
Syrupy French Montana glides in out of beat pockets awkwardly in his usual drugged flow. The subdued beat contrasts Pusha’s brash delivery nicely leaving open space for his words to shine through.
Blocka [Prod. Young Chop]
“Teamwork make the dream work/All my n*ggas done seen work/All my n*ggas ain’t make it through/So much death that my dreams hurt.”
Newest hip hop producer sensation, Young Chop laces the black Ric Flair with the minimalist heat rock for Pusha to speak his ghetto gospel. Pusha sounds extra hungry on this song (He doesn’t have to sell…ok?!) and the reggae influence on the chorus (which interestingly permeates the majority of this tape) creates a banger.
Road Runner feat./ Troy Ave [Prod. Harry Fraud]
“Snub 38 with the Mac black trigger/When “how can I be down?” was filled with crack n*ggas”
Nothing against Troy Ave but his gravely voice does not help harmonizing on this chorus and actually made me think “French Montana should be on this.” Short song, not much but a few slick street talk and typical recounting.
Revolution [Prod. The Neptunes]
“I was lost, I was jaded/Malice found his way to our Savior.“
Light keys tip-toe around a bare Neptunes beat until the blaring horns and light whirling strings. Pusha gives his a rather impressively succinct analysis of his career in the music business (business partner indicted for drugs, Malice finding God, So Appalled) and This just further proves that the majority of Pusha T songs should be handled by The Neptunes.
Only You Can Tell It feat./ Wale [Prod. Boogz-N-Tape]
“We aint hating, cause we aint y’all/Too much Ciroc(C. Rock) you seen be fore(CB4)”-Wale
After an onslaught of seemingly irreprehensible drug tales throughout this tape finally finds a sort of conscience. Pusha takes his time to give the human context of “these drug dealing Picasso’s.” Wale playfully contorts his flow around a bouncy Boogz-N-Tape beat.
Trust You [Prod. SK & Arthur McArthur]
“I’m good money, got you talking in dollar signs/it’s all good that she the top b*tch, but she just want to know the bottom line.”
Play this. Close you eyes. Watch a strip club appear in your mind. While Future was caught up in a real-life Maury episode, Pusha enlists Kevin Giles for a more than serviceable replacement. Pusha attempts to relinquish his abrasive flow for a more seductive tone as he talks to his stripper love interest, but it comes off as odd aggressive flirting.
Take My Life [Prod. Jake-One]
“It aint enough that I struggled through my career/Less appreciated when I was apart of a pair.”
With a simple trumpet, 808s and with a reggae-infused chorus, Pusha Ton waxes poetics about the haters(local n*ggas and the law) trying to alter the life he’s established, no matter how detrimental it can be. Jake One production has been unf*ckwittable for quite some time and Pusha does this joint justice.
Liva- Re Up Gang Motivation [Prod. !llmind]
“Polaroids being shown in every jail, every tier/Representing, all my niggas known I share..from the heart.”-Liva
Re-Up Gang veteran Liva (Formerly known as Ab-Liva) loses all parts of his mind on this hard-hitting !llmind production. Even his most simplest lyrics (“I am Heath Ledger Joker to you jokers”) comes off with enough conviction to bring this song to life. Great choice by Pusha T to let his Liva let loose.
I Am Forgiven [Prod. B!nk]
“I asked forgiveness Lord/in hopes of getting more/Then beg forgiveness for the same thing he forgave me for.”
Hall of famer producer, B!nk laces Pusha T with an head-bop inducing with cymbal crashes, tight drums and a hypnotic vocal sample. Pusha’s greatest skill is how conversational he can make his internal battles with the life he’s chosen, his past and the Man upstairs.
Overall, Pusha T sums up the feel of this tape with one sentence found at the end of “I Am Forgiven”: “this is just an appetizer.” Wrath of Caine is plagued with repetitive subject matter and some questionable length choice, but Pusha’s sheer charisma saves alot of those from a Recycle Bin fate. The bars are still there and potent as they have ever been in his 10 year+ career. If this is a precursor to his major label full length debut, My Name Is My Name then that album could potentially be the monster this mixtape scratches the surface of.