It’s Almost Dry: DAYTONA’s Rightful Heir 


Amin Shah, Arts & Entertainment Editor

 ‘‘It’s Almost Dry’’ is the latest album by the lucrative lyrical rapper Pusha T, former member of the rap duo Clipse in the 90s and early 2000s alongside fellow rapper No Malice (previously known as Malice), who is Pusha’s older brother. Following his 2018 breakthrough masterpiece ‘‘DAYTONA’’ (stylized in all caps), he waited a gracious 4 years before releasing this album, creating a sense of want from his listeners and making this album one worth waiting for, as he delivered his part and more. Being fully produced by Pharrell Williams and Ye, this album is merely a little over half an hour long but greater than nearly every single album released this year so far. Hosting a total of 12 songs, each of them shine the lyrical genius that Pusha T still provides today, a long way into his everlasting career.

The Songs:

The deeply personal and hostile album begins with the song ‘‘Brambleton’’, a song featuring Pharrell alongside Pusha T offering lines. 6 songs are produced by Pharrell and 6 are by Ye (which is reimagined in the latest re-release of the album, which sets it as a battle between the two production monsters). Brambleton is a personal song, as stated by Pusha, as it describes the relationship between his former manager, talks a deal about Clipse, and the title is even the location of where his mother used to work in Pusha’s early life. After this brief opening, it continues on with the song ‘‘Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes’’. From a production standpoint, the beat is phenomenal. Audibly, this song is one of my favorites off of the album, as the continuous background refrain gives this a very harsh tone while the piano break in the middle offers a great transition back into the beat. The song takes inspiration from Raekwon’s classic ‘‘Glaciers in Ice’’ (Raekwon being a former Wu-Tang Clan member). The song itself is classic Pusha, speaking about his drug-dealing past and the riches that cocaine and dope brought to his life while destroying his youth. The next song ‘‘Dreaming of the Past’’ is the first Kanye produced song on the album, which can be heard immediately with the vintage sample that occurs throughout the song (which is a sample of Donny Hathaway’s version of the John Lennon song ‘‘Jealous Guy’’). This song speaks about how Kanye and Pusha never thought they would have the wealth and fame that they have now, speaking in the perspective of their past selves. This song’s theme continues to the next song ‘‘Neck and Wrist’’, which was one of the singles released for the album. It features Pharrell on vocals and Jay-Z on his own verse. It describes the reflection of the two previous coke dealers Jay-Z and Pusha T and how their lives now contrast with their lives dealing drugs. It is a slightly more egotistical take on the previous song’s theme, but it fits the title and the beat of the track perfectly. Following this song is ‘‘Just So You Remember’’, which samples Colonel Bagshot’s ‘‘Six Day War’’. Pusha speaks about drugs furthermore (he is a one-trick pony in this sense, but he does it so well), putting himself in a position above everyone else (continuing the theme of egotism and superiority). The title is exactly what it says it is, remember who you’re dealing with. Not much else to say about that song. The next song is the first lead single released for the album. It is named ‘‘Diet Coke’’, and the music video it received features a lazily dancing Ye (which is very humorous). One can already guess what the song is about based on the title, but yes, it is about his infatuation with his past cocaine life and how it has changed him. He also speaks about how the crack era of the 90s was mostly located in inner cities with the intentions of targeting African American communities and how it has impacted them. Now, the next song is a confusing one. It features Kanye West and Kid Cudi, but it is my least favorite on the album. Cudi’s vocals don’t match the beat and the high-pitched inflections of the sample in the background. It is apparently the final song Cudi will create with Kanye, as their relationship has deteriorated as a result of Kanye’s hate for Pete Davidson, a good friend of Cudi. They, again, rap about drugs, but also rap about their family and how much they value their relationships, which is very ironic considering Cudi and Kanye’s relationship now. ‘‘Call my Bluff’’ is the next song, a very violent one at that. He raps about how his threats will be followed through and delivered ‘‘as fast as an Amazon truck’’, which can serve to be humorous. He also displays great wordplay on this track, as he references fellow rapper Akon while also calling himself and his group a group of cons in the face of innocence. The next song ‘‘Scrape It Off’’ features Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver. Great vocals are provided by Toliver that has easily made this track the catchiest one while Uzi flexes his belongings and worth (which is a usual verse by the rapper, but nonetheless a good one). ‘‘Hear Me Clearly’’ is a track produced by Nigo and originally located on his debut album ‘‘I Know Nigo’’ (which featured an assortment of star rappers). He, once again, talks about cocaine and seems unhealthily infatuated with his previous life and his dealing ways. This funnily continues into the next song ‘‘Open Air’’, which has the opening line directly talking about cocaine. I personally find it funny. He directly addresses how he grew up in the cocaine era and how his drug dealing ways affected his life. It was a fearful, dangerous life that he grew out of that became the subject material of nearly all of his albums and songs. The final track is a nice surprise, as it features the third collaboration by the group Clipse after their breakup in 2010, and also features the first time No Malice has referred to himself as Malice since he converted to Christianity in 2012 and started making Christian rap. Rapping over a fitting gospel beat, Pusha speaks about the success of the duo and his brother along with his own success after growing out of the cocaine-ridden childhood they both went through. This concludes the album.

The Verdict:

This album is easily one of the contenders for the album of this year and can even be hailed as one of the greatest albums of this decade so far. Even with the repetitive and seemingly overdone themes, Pusha T’s wordplay and the beats supplied by Pharrell and Ye solidify this album’s place in the discography of Pusha as one of his greatest achievements. It is up there with his 2018 DAYTONA, produced by Kanye West in a period of time called the Wyoming Sessions, in which he produced a Nas album, his own album, a collaborative Kids See Ghosts debut album, and a Teyana Taylor album. The sounds this album produces are great and the samples on the Kanye produced songs are staples within the album, while on the flipside Pharrell’s drum heavy beats compliment Pusha’s visceral wordplay and lyrical content. This is easily my favorite album of the year so far, and as such, I will give it a strong 8/10.