This the ministry of street energy /The church of criminology, teaching my chemistries/Woo I’m the L. Ron Hubbard of the cupboard
Facts are facts. Deal with it. Not Kendrick. Not J Cole. Not Lupe. And damn sure not Drake.
The greatest rapper alive post 2002 is Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton. If you’re real with yourself you know he transcends any of his peers and it’s not even as close as you think.
He has given us the career that Andre 3 Stacks and Phonte wouldn’t. He has exceeded all expectations after splitting from a legendary group. Honestly, since The Clipse ended — he has gotten better. One of the few rappers that revel in being the bad guy. The character that doesn’t have any remorse for his sins and takes drug dealer braggadocio to another level. That is what makes his bars appealing. The drug dealer rapper is not a novel concept. He’s the conscienceless hustler that weaves heroin laced tales with dramatic imagery and sly wit.
There was this moment on “Fear of God” when I was listening to ‘Alone in Vegas” and I knew he was the best rapper on the planet and he was coming to prove it. This couplet “The self-righteous drug dealer dichotomy/I’m drawing from both sides, I am Siamese” is so profound especially if know the history and present of the Clipse and his relationship with this brother. While a part of him wants to be like No Malice and talk about the lighter side of life, he also knows that no one does this coke talk better than him so he voices the internal struggle.
Who else would use their songs co-star as a call to arms against fraudulent drug dealer rappers as he did to Rick Ross on “Hold On”? On the same album he flips the script and talks about the choices hustlers makes when they get caught on “SNITCH”. The way he weaves a tale that was happening in real-time into one of the strongest songs on the album.
When you look at “Darkest Before Dawn” everything from beat selection to his lyrics were built to make a mood. He wanted a modern dark album in the vein of Mobb Deep’s “Hell on Earth” where the depth of album aurally surrounds you. Even through the darkness he’s able to make records like “MFTR” and “MPA”. Both songs tackling light subjects but Pusha’s pen game makes it sound profoundly ill.
Pusha T is a rappers rapper. He takes seriously the mantra of no lines off. The lines that he uses to set up punchlines aren’t throwaway — they add to the image he’s painting. Check the catalogue. “My Name is My Name” is a classic. “Darkness Before Dawn” is a ridiculously dope project. Loosies like “HGTV” and “Lunch Money” are just bangers.
So why won’t you give Pusha T his due? Because all he raps about is drugs? Really? He’s so materialistic. Really? The question should always be — Can he rap? Does he rap well? The answer to those are a resounding Yes. Pusha T is the greatest of his generation because he embraces an image in his rhymes that makes people uneasy. He’s drug dealer turned good but still revels in his past — because he’s comfortable enough admitting that its was fun. It’s not full of remorse of lost friends it’s him reflecting on the good times. Now he’s got legal money to floss in your face and he’s always talking about fly shit. Now that’s a bad thing? Ughk!