Dr. Seuss, dubbed “Cocaine Dr. Seuss,” is back. Pusha T has returned with “It’s Almost Dry,” a 12-song collection of coke raps… and not much else, four years after releasing “Daytona.
” It’s a depressing conclusion, given that the married father is likely to have a lot more hard-won advice to share with his fans. The former Clipse rapper, now 44, has been releasing albums for almost 20 years, but the topic rarely strays from drug dealing and cocaine, and “It’s Almost Dry” is no exception. While sonically much more unified than its chaotic predecessor, Pusha fails to venture into new territory, making the album feel safe rather than ambitious.
Even the album’s title has two meanings, one of which is a reference to narcotics. Pyrex P recently told Rolling Stone that he views his albums through the eyes of an artist and that a “masterpiece” isn’t complete until the paint is dry. Oils, of course, aren’t his main worry; he also mentioned that it’s typical in drug culture not to receive a product until “it’s dry.
Musically, however, there are a few standout moments that showcase Kanye West and Pharrell Williams’ producing brilliance. With its heart-thumping beat, Pharrell’s “Let the Smokers Shine the Coupes,” produced and mixed by fellow producer extraordinaire Mike Dean, is an obvious banger that would have had the Pyrex glass shattering in the trap house. West’s inclusion of a reinterpreted sample of “Jealous Guy” on “Dreamin’ of the Past” gives a pleasant relief from the dark undertones that underlay the first two cuts for anyone with a liking for John Lennon in their hip-hop.
Meanwhile, Pharrell’s “Neck & Wrist,” which features a sought Jay-Z verse and a terrific hook from the N.E.R.D mastermind, harkens back to a period when the Neptunes and Clipse ruled early 2000s rap. Throughout the song, the production is split evenly between Ye and Pharrell. With its delicate piano notes and high-pitched vocal samples, “Diet Coke” is Ye at his best, while “Call My Bluffeerily “‘s sparse backdrop allows Pusha T’s lyrics to simply skip across the top. The song is followed by the strangely misplaced “Scrape It Off the Top,” which seems like a desperate effort at a hallow radio cut and features Lil Uzi Vert and Don Toliver.
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The album rapidly hits another stumbling block with “Hear Me Clearly,” which, ironically, includes the album’s most cacophonous collision of sounds, making it practically impossible to hear what Pusha is saying. “I Pray for You,” which reunites Pusha with his brother and Clipse partner-in-rhyme No Malice, brings the CD to a sad conclusion with an angelic choir and mournful organ. The melancholy closer, again mixed by Mike Dean, finds Push “slaving over stoves” and barely scratches the surface of how a drug-fueled lifestyle can weigh heavily on a man’s head.
Unlike Jay-2017 Z’s album “4:44,” which brazenly addressed his marriage to Beyoncé, a highly publicized infidelity, and how he’s evolved as a man, “It’s Almost Dry” fails to keep the Virginia native’s story moving forward. While anyone familiar with Pusha T’s coke-streaked repertoire will find it to be a comfortable, mainly entertaining listen, it would have had a greater impact if he had made even a partial attempt to risk vulnerability and disclose who he is beneath the “Godfather” character.
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