Pusha T’s highly anticipated fourth studio album, ‘It’s Almost Dry’, is another jewel in the long and storied career of the Virginia rapper. His 2018 album, ‘Daytona’, may have been considered the apex of his career, lauded as it was by fans and critics alike. But, on ‘It’s Almost Dry’, Pusha raises the bar even further with 12 tracks of braggadocio raps underpinned by exemplary production split by two of hip-hop’s greatest producers, Ye (the name Kanye West‘s going by now) and Pharrell Williams: a shared commitment to creativity allowing for these collaborators to produce an instant hip-hop classic.
From the opening bars, there’s a certain vulnerability within ‘It’s Almost Dry’: ‘Brambleton’ addresses his fractious relationship with his former manager, Anthony ‘Geezy’ Gonzales, setting the tone for a deeply personal project as the 44-year-old rapper discusses being a new father while still finding countless ways to invoke drug dealing and coke references, proving once again that he’s in a territory of rap unto himself.
The album oscillates between Ye’s soul-sampled cuts and Pharrell’s plinky, candied keys. With the latter’s beats, in particular, there’s a certain coiled energy matching Pusha’s expressive voice. Both Ye and Pharrell deliver tightly melodic, luxuriously layered production with the sequencing on ‘It’s Almost Dry’ a purposefully understated element, which allows the album to flow smoothly.
Despite appearances from the likes of Jay-Z – who delivers one of his best verses in years on ‘Neck & Wrist’ – alongside Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver, the project is never weighed down by guests. Instead, these appearances add gloss to a shiny project. Kanye and Kid Cudi’s (allegedly) last collaborative song ‘Rock n Roll’ is a stand-out arresting, sample-heavy cut while Malice’s appearance on the final track, the emotional ‘I Pray For You’, is the impeccable bow on a highly polished gift delivered by Pusha to listeners.
Pusha T has managed to elevate his art to new heights, signalling that the artist is nowhere close to being done. Despite being longer than ‘Daytona’, there is succinct preciseness to ‘It’s Almost Dry’ with Pusha’s lyricism, in particular, never left wanting. Alongside the outstanding production, it makes for an instant hip-hop classic. Pusha is aware of this, rapping on ‘Rock N Roll’: “Career’s in its eighth gear, nothin’ left to do but levitate / I’m David Blaine here, I could disappear, I swear / We been gettin’ change here, so what’s really changed here?”
Release date: April 22nd
Record label: G.O.O.D Music / Def Jam Records