Review: Pusha T’s Wrath Of Cain Creates Little Excitement For His Album
If you’ve been in a hole the past few years, Pusha T is a solo artist now who’s been approaching the game as if he were a newcomer. And even though his Clipse days seem to be history, he doesn’t want you to forget that he sold a boatload of drugs, but unlike the rest of these rappers, he really did. That’s one of the most common themes of Wrath Of Cain—Pusha’s free prelude to his debut solo album, My Name Is My Name. ”I wish my imagination was this good, I can’t make this shit up,” is what said during the project. It’s not an uncommon claim by Pusha, he’s been boasting about never being caught in the street for years. Wrath Of Cain just puts him more in a kingpin reflecting kind of role.
No song on the project quite matches the fire he displays in the intro,where he explains why he cant shake the coke-dealer rap. “I’m more biased to coke-dealin’ coupe drivers/And bad bitches steered wrong by they loose mamas.” It’s in the intro where he also takes the first shots of many at Wayne: “Ima lean til they crown me king of New Orleans.” And he sends a shot at rap’s current state as a whole. “Now everybody is 80′s/90′s inspired/But none of you niggas is 80s and 90s rhyming.” His recurring claim is to make it known that although he is a fairly new solo artist, he’s not of rap’s new generation. He comes at “laptop hot” and “internet warm” rappers whose come ups are mainly from their computers but he does a track (“Blocka” ) produced by Young Chop—the internet’s hottest producer of the past year (he also rapped on “I Don’t Like”, so yeah). The intro’s full of punch lines and energy that declines the further you go into Wrath Of Cain.
Something funny about the project is that, while Pusha continues to talk about becoming a new artist, we still get the drug lord raps. There’s not much knowledge gained on him now except the emotions associated with being a dealer—which may be his sole intention. “Only You Can Tell It” is one of the projects more reflective tracks and one of Pusha’s best lyrical showings with lines like: “Disconnected my OnStar, no GPS these, VVS/ Lorraine Schwartz on speed dial, went ocular, that’s CBS/ Aston Martin, DBS, James Bond cool as James Todd/ Best nigga to make hits and run base since A-Rod.” He does the luxury rap thing best here while telling a story by painting “drug dealer Picassos” that he says most can’t relate to—an interesting point to make when having Wale, who does no reflecting in his verse, featured. ”I Am Forgiven” follows the same reflective formula.
Wrath Of Cain’s highlight is “Revolution”—the lone Skateboard P produced track. It’s a hookless, one verse story that ranges from Pusha’s early drug dealing days, to his manager Tony Gonzales being arrested for running a multi-million dollar drug operation, to his brother, Malice, finding God. He speaks on his first studio sessions with Ross, Kanye and Jay at their Hawaiian headquarters where his contributions to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy were recorded. It’s also here that Pusha gives some indication of what My Name Is My Name will be like: “New catalog gonna hurt you/Go on it, it’s dark like it’s curfew/Goin in the vault, it’ll earth you.” The project’s simplest song is its most effective. Overall, the WOC‘s central message is that Pusha’s resurgence of the authentic street aesthetic, with quality hardcore rhyming to accompany it, is what the game needs—in comparison to kids behind a computer. But for it to be a precursor of his debut record, it doesn’t built much interest. He took one bar to hint at it being the darkest thing he’s made and that’s all that can be gained at this point.