A Year to Remember’s Greatest Albums: Pusha T

Darkness Before Dawn: The Prelude – Pusha T (GOOD Music, Def Jam) – December 2015

Intended to serve as a prelude for the GOOD Music president’s third studio album, Darkness Before Dawn has set the bar excitingly high for the long-awaited King Push, due in spring of this year. For a start, the first single released in anticipation of the album, Untouchable heavily samples The Notorious B.I.G.’s iconic guest verse on Pudgee’s 1995 Think Big. In this verse, Biggie claims to be lyrically “untouchable, uncrushable”, which is clearly a recurring theme for Pusha on this project where he is consistently in a very self-appreciative mood.

The Metro Boomin-produced intro to the album sets the signature shady tone which Pusha T has utilised all through his solo career. Happily, this is followed up on in the majority of the next nine tracks.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is Crutches, Crosses, Caskets. A few curious lines (“Old n****s slapping young n****s, ha imagine that, where you from n****?”) on this song allude to the alleged Drake and Diddy altercation at a nightclub in December 2014. This is made more intriguing by the fact Diddy has production credit on this song. Pusha has cited this song as his favourite on the project, understandably.

Despite other masterful performances, the standout track must be M.P.A., an acronym for Money, Pussy, Alcohol, featuring his frequent collaborator and GOOD Music associate – check out New God Flow, Mercy, Runaway and So Appalled – Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and The-Dream. Sounding reminiscent of Blame Game by Kanye from his critically acclaimed (and one of my personal favourite) album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, M.P.A. has a star-filled feel about it that makes you sit up and take notice. And in the current era, a lot of hip-hop, although being good, doesn’t do this.

The Virginia-born and raised coke merchant continues to flow slickly over luxury beats crafted by top-tier producers such as Timbaland, Boi-1da, J Cole and Q-Tip. This album has a grandeur about it, polished to the point of excellence.

Pusha has a rare gift of being able to elaborate his grim images to the point where you finish listening to one of his projects and feel like a character from The Wire. The dictionary definition of ‘prelude’ is an event serving as an introduction to something more important. If that can’t sell Pusha T’s next album to you, nothing will.

#BBAR

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2015: A Year to Remember

As I have been absent for over a week, I’ve decided this would be a good time to announce a new series of articles.

2015 was a fantastic year for hip-hop as a whole. We saw the emergence of Bryson Tiller and Goldlink. Future had his best year to date, as did Drake. We witnessed the seismic return of Dr. Dre with Compton. And Kendrick Lamar went from urban prodigy to the undisputed voice of the streets.

With so much exceptional music being released over the course of the year, it wouldn’t be right not to review any of it. For that reason, starting tonight, I hope to post at least one review per week for a good while.

Any criticisms, suggestions or requests can be submitted via Twitter @boombapacidrap. Any interaction is greatly appreciated.

#BBAR

A quick update

As I am currently pretty busy with school stuff and work among other things, I have had limited time to work on articles and stuff for BBAR. I have half-finished some interesting stuff and posts will be regular very soon, however for the time being, you’ll have to bear with me.

In the meantime, for some slightly less informative and easier-going BBAR, follow me on Twitter. I’m using the handle @boombapacidrap and will be able to update that a bit more regularly.

Feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter and the comments on this page to put me onto artists, forward ideas or to share any thoughts about everything hip-hop.

How Hip-Hop Changed My Life: An Introduction

An Introduction to BBAR

 

After much deliberation, I have started a blog for a number of reasons, although mainly to relieve my Twitter followers from my constant outpour of nonsense and to put it into a more orderly form. I hope to update as regularly as possible, however with exams rapidly approaching, you may have to bear with me at times.

Basically, as soon as I heard hip-hop music, I fell in love with the upbeat feeling and the bright, in-your-face, cocky characters. Now, as I approach 18 years of age this year, I find myself getting hooked all over again with the braggadocios attitudes, unique culture and the lyricism in its rawest form. And for this reason, I feel a burning desire to publish my opinions and views so as to possibly inform, entertain and, almost definitely, let out some of my inner rap-nerd.

The first actual hip-hop album I owned was The Black Album by Jay-Z on CD. While I didn’t understand a lot of Jay’s metaphors or wordplay, something about his brash delivery connected with me. Upon hundreds of re-listens, it continues to be an album that shaped how I view music. For example, any hip-hop single that is hot at any given time, to me, is subconsciously compared to “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” or “99 Problems”, both perfect examples of producing a sound that not only captures the ‘pop’ audience’s ear but also manages to keep Jay-Z and hip-hop’s core fans satisfied.

From there I got to the murder-infused, dark bars of 50 Cent, to 2Pac who played a huge part in making it okay for a gangster to talk about his feelings and social issues, to the soul-sampling and self-evaluative Kanye West, to the paradoxical Brooklyn drawl of the Notorious B.I.G., all the way to the marijuana-loving thug that is Snoop Dogg. I was fascinated with all of these extremes and everything in between.

Fast forward to today and I feel, if possible, even more passionate about the art form that is rap. At this point in time, early February 2016, the hip-hop community is waiting with bated breath for Kanye West’s long-awaited follow up to his controversial 2013 album Yeezus, for Drake’s frantically anticipated Views from the 6 and for everything else that the world’s most multi-faceted and conflicting genre has to offer.

I, Peter Tomlinson, creator of Boom Bap and Acid Rap will keep you covered as far as possible.