so in my last In My Earbuds post, I mentioned I was checkin for “My God” by the homie Pusha T. @milesfan79 is the one that put me on–as he usually does 😉 and since this mixtape was highly anticipated by him, as well as many other Clipse fans, I agreed to let him pen his thoughts on it.
like to read it? here it go:
If you were over the age of 13 in the summer of 2002, I’m 99.9% sure you bumped/heard the Clipse song “Grindin” that summer. When “Grindin” dropped you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it, that summer introduced Pusha T and Malice to the world.
Being that I was raised in same area they were from, I was 1st introduced to them in 1999 when they released “The Funeral”, check it out if you are not familiar with it.
Since “Grindin” released Clipse have dropped a few respected albums and have earned their respect as hip-hop group/duo. However, over the years many have wondered when they (mainly Pusha) would do solo projects, but no solo projects have ever happened. Back at the beginning of the summer is was rumored that Pusha would be featured on Kanye’s new album and curiosity of Pusha solo projects once again arose. Finally in late summer/early fall it was announced Pusha signed solo deal to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label and Fear of God was also announced. Being the fan that I am, FOG has been marked on my calendar since its announcement in the fall.
Pusha is coming off of being featured on MBDTF, which in my opinion was the best (hip-hop) album of 2010 and was the last good hip-hop project to drop. The hip-hop world has been pretty dormant the last few months, not many exciting or memorable albums/projects/songs have dropped since MBDTF. Thankfully FOG is being released just in time for beginning of spring and to revive a dormant hip-hop world with something fresh and new. (Sidebar: I really thought Lupe’s LASERS was going be first hip-hop project to revive hip-hop world, but I was WRONG!!)
Reecie Note: I agree with the disappointment in LASERS, but on a few more listens it really wasn’t THAT bad; but no Food & Liquor. I do agree that I had such high hopes for that CD though, and really expected it to be my spring soundtrack.
I have given FOG several thorough listens and would like to offer my review of it.
What I loved about “Fear of God”:
Intro track: I have always believed an intro track can make or break an album/mixtape. “My God” is a great track to start things off with and was perfect pick for the intro track. Pusha’s does what he does best, paints a mental pictures with clever word play and the beat is also powerful. “My God” is a very memorable track and perfect for FOG intro.
I don’t think many would dispute the fact that Pusha was the better half of the Clipse, I got love for Malice but Pusha is the better rapper. Prior to FOG, Pusha was always featured artist on someone else’s project. Now Pusha finally has a chance to stand on his own and display his lyrical abilities without sharing spotlight with his older brother.
Outro track: Most rappers have strong intro tracks but many fail to remember the ending of an album is just as important as the beginning. Pusha executed a perfect outro with “Alone in Vegas”. It was another great memorable track with wonderful beat and clever word play but in a semi-melancholy tone. I hope other rappers are inspired to focus more on their outro track after hearing FOG.
Reecie Note: hmm good point. I honestly never really think about outro tracks. I just like for a CD to flow all the way through. as long as the end doesn’t leave me like “huh?” I don’t really pay attention to it.
What could have been better:
I can honestly say there wasn’t anything I hated about FOG but there were things that could have been improved:
Middle passage/track selection: FOG started strong and ended strong, but the middle portion of FOG was “hit or miss”. A few tracks were decent and a few tracks left me wanting more or feeling they lacked something. The tracks aren’t awful but they are not great either; on one track Pusha chose to use a soulja boy beat, when I heard it I had a “WTF is this?” moment. Most of the tracks are listenable tracks but not very memorable, I just wish there were one or two more memorable tracks.
Reecie Note: I happen to like his take on Speakers Going Hammer! lol. I also like “Blow/Funk Freestyle”, “Can I Live Freestyle” (I will never tire of that beat), and “Touch It.”
Features: I’m not a fan of feature heavy projects, but I did expect Malice and Kanye to be featured: “you ain’t got no Yeezy nigga?” Well, Kanye is featured but he only sings the hook on the track #kanyeshrug. Rick Ross and 50 cent were featured and did their thing but I still would have liked to see Malice and Kanye(rapping) contribute verses.
Reused material: a few of the songs contained verses that I had previously heard and one of the tracks was a “leftover” kanye track, so I was a bit disappointed. I Think I would have preferred more new content.
Note: I check/read various hip-hop blogs daily, so some of the verses and the leftover Kanye beat were previously posted on various hip-hop blogs and are “reused” to me. So I realize this is probably a biased opinion of FOG based on fact I check/read hip-hop blogs more than the average person/fan, so for novice listener the verses and beat will be new to you**)
While Pusha is a good rapper, I can’t help but be a little concerned/question the direction of his solo career. The Clipse have widely been known for their “cocaine” rap style, on FOG Pusha seems to be carry-on the Thornton family tradition. While I like his “hustler” stories, I still find myself wondering, “When are you going rap about something else?” He now rolls with Kanye, performing at bigger venues and awards shows, so I seriously doubt he is still slanging “powder” by the kilograms anymore. I’d like to see him change up his subject matter and expand his horizon a little more. As a fan I would hate for him to continue being a rapper that just raps about dope, money and cars, we already have Rick Ross for that.
Reecie Note: I agree, but the same with Young Jeezy–who has really been on the decline lately–I mean we know you are a trap star, what else? I guess to me since Pusha is such a technically dope rapper, I would and will listen to him flow about anything. I’m not sure he will change up his subject matter, but it would be nice to see.
Overall, I would give FOG a solid B, its not perfect but is above average. FOG proves Pusha can hold his own without his older brother and is a very solid solo project; it is decent listen with strong beginning and ending. It also arrives at the perfect time, springtime, this is definitely #springtimeridingmusic that anyone could enjoy and recommend you download it when you get a chance.
Reecie Note: Also, I think its interesting that you–and most people consider Pusha the best of the duo. I do as well, but Pusha himself seems to disagree. I recently watched this interview with Miss Info where he discusses his brothers inspiration for the mixtape as well as his absence, Malice’s book and future projects together.
I was glad to hear that Clipse will be doing more albums together. I thought Malice had “retired.”
What do you think of FOG? What you think of Pusha as a solo artist?