It's perfectly dry
29 April 2022-
Pusha T is back with fourth studio album It's Almost Dry. Truth be told, he was never gone, working a all sorts of other artists, but it feels extremely good to listen to new solo work of his...
The talent of Pusha T is an open secret. After a first and successful career as a duet with his brother under the name Clipse (featured on the new album’s last track), the man proceeded to release increasingly intriguing — and celebrated — LP’s. All the while collaborating with the absolute best (other) rappers alive on their projects. His fourth album It’s Almost Dry — great title, by the way — is in many ways the conclusion of this rather incredible journey: a fully fledged, powerful set of tracks that show how accomplished Pusha T really is. And how great a company he keeps.
There are several standout elements in this album:
- Interestingly, it has been divided in two — and actually re-released as such with the additional subtitle “Ye vs. Pharrell”. As it happens, the 12 tracks on here were evenly produced by two of the greatest performers and producers of all time, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams in the flesh. And you can pretty much tell the difference between the two subsets: while Williams’ tracks tend to be quite sophisticated and layered (think “Let The Smokers Shine The Coupes”), West’s are all in-your-face (think the bombastic lead single “Diet Coke” for one). Pusha T actually described in interviews the different styles the two had in the studio, which quite reflect that end result: while Pharrell would keep working and reworking tracks until they were to his liking, Kanye would typically come in with an idea (or 10) and then go with his instincts. We could not say which approach is the best in the end: there are definitely no fillers on here, we’re happy we were not the ones who had to decide which tracks should be released as singles…
- Another difference between the producing pair’s approaches that very much structures the album: Kanye keeps artfully re-using classic samples, such as Colonel Bagshot‘s great “Six Day War” on “Just So You Remember” or Donny Hathaway’s rendition of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” on “Dreamin Of The Past”. It very much goes with the instinctual method the rapper / record man tends to go with: creating atmospheres from meshing together distinct pieces of music rather than necessarily getting into the absolute minutia of rewriting a score and/or adding a violin in the mix. In the end, out of 6 West-produced tracks on the album, 4 feature prominent samples…
- Although it may not have been required to make this album stand out any more than it already did, the fact that it is shock full of superstar guests is a welcome bonus. Besides West and Williams, who logically show up here and there, as well as Pusha’s brother (No) Malice, you also get to hear the likes of Kid Cudi and THE Jay-Z perform, with their beats beautifully intertwined with the rest of the track. Not to mention a couple of drill superstars for the young listeners out there: Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver. It is arguably quite hard to think who else could have been added to the mix: J. Cole (who actually gets quoted), if that?
In a word, buy this record. Or stream it, whatever the kids do these days.