CL Critic Matthew Warhol Recommends: Pusha T has nothing left to prove. The 44-year-old Virginia Beach rap kingpin has been putting in work since 1993 — the year I was born(!!!). He is one half of Clipse, the legendary coke rap duo that, along with their hometown producers The Neptunes, brought their powder-white rhymes to both the streets and the charts. Then, when Push’s brother Malice became a born again Christian and quit secular music, the man became the heaviest hitter on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, releasing watertight album after album, culminating in 2018’s modern classic Daytona. I could go on and on ad nauseum — he had a hand in writing the iconic McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan, destroyed rap’s biggest star, Drake, in a rap beef, etc. The point is, Pusha T doesn’t need to be working as hard as he is. In April of this year, he scored his first number-one album with It’s Almost Dry, a declaration of dominance produced entirely by Pharrell and Kanye West. It’s in competition for best album yet, and he recently said he had no plans on slowing down, but, in fact, will be releasing music at a higher rate. Do you need to be convinced any further? “The money counter ding is so exciting.” — MW
CL Critic Joshua Robinson Recommends: While it would now be comical to suggest — following the release of Kendrick Lamar’s heavy fifth studio album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers— that it’s the undisputed rap album of the year, Pusha T’s It’s Almost Dry remains one of this year’s highlights. Impeccably produced by both Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the G.O.O.D. Music President’s fourth solo album sounds just as surgical as its predominantly coke-themed lyrics. Later this month, King Push will bring his first-ever Billboard chart-topper to Center Stage, and although regular priced tickets are sold out, the It’s Almost Dry Tour is worth paying resale. — JR
From the venue:First making a huge impression as one-half of Clipse, Pusha T’s solo career came after years of honing his lyrical skills and grinding in the music industry. After reaching legend status in a lengthy run with Clipse, the rapper signed with G.O.O.D. Music in 2010 and took his complex wordplay and imposing presence to albums like 2018’s critically lauded Daytona. 2022 single “Diet Coke” appeared in advance of his fourth solo album.