Pusha T – Wrath of Caine – The STiXXclusive Review

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Pusha-T has been in the Rap game for quite some time now, as we grew with him and his brother Malice when they were joined together at the hip as The Clipse. They broke away and did their own thing, as Pusha elaborated on ‘Blow’:

“Malice found religion, Tony found prison, I’m still trying to find my way up out this fuckin kitchen”

Pusha was still finding his way, and then he met Kanye and pretty much his life changed for the better. We heard him on Kanye’s ‘Runaway’, and we saw what the emergence of Pusha was. When he released ‘Fear of God’ (1 and 2), we got the feeling that he was ready to break out and become something of his own for Hip Hop to appreciate, since he was the perennial bright spot on the come up, with Big Sean already having an album out and his buzz on high and growing. Pusha was dropping crazy verses from ‘Don’t Like’ and ‘Mercy’ being arguably some of the best of 2012 and what really had his name chirping around, not to mention his war of words with YMCMB which prompted Lil Wayne to say one of the best one-liners of 2012:

“Fuk Pusha T and anybody who love em” – Dwayne ‘Lil Wayne’ Carter
(c) 2012

Fear of God 1 & 2 were both released in 2011. With nothing but singles and hot verses in 2012, the people were growing impatient, but then he announced that Wrath of Caine was going to be his last mixtape before debut album My Name is My Name.  Obviously there was going to be a tremendous buzz around it, so expectations were high, granted what evidence he delivered to us through the past 12-18 months prior. Many state the case that all he does is rap about the same things: luxury brands and cocaine. Well, it hasn’t seemed to have slowed him down at this point, so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, that’s the motto, correct? I believe so. So the fans waited and anticipated if it was going to be anything like Fear of God. The question was if it was going to live up to expectations. Well, that’s why we listen to music folks – to gain an opinion and perspective of what we like in life. Let’s dive in.

For those of you who aren’t Jamaican or from the West Indies, or simply don’t have any West Indian cultural background present, let me help you out on what was being said by the girl on the Intro (to the best of my ability):

“Shout out to the number one artist in the rap game, Pusha T. Nobody is fucking with Pusha T in or out of music, the money never stops flowing. Nobody has the lyrics, style, or fashion that he has. And his career started out different from the rest of you (rappers), so you’re best to just not mess around, because whenever Pusha T gets on the mic, you’re wise to just put yours down and run away (end your career).”

That’s not the greatest translation, but that’s the basis of what was being said. I was dying hysterically when I heard it, but if you’ve been following Pusha T on Twitter, there were times on Sundays that he would just randomly start tweeting Jamaican song lyrics or quotes that got not only me, but other Jamaicans amped with excitement. It was quite the entertainment, and because of that, it did in fact make me like him a bit more, because I like when rappers take on their Jamaican sides (properly). Now, as the beat kicked in, you could tell that it was going to be pretty much ‘trap-inspired’, which has been the common sound for Rap as of recent. You would think that Pusha would fit well with the sound, because his lyrics would work well, but some styles aren’t for everyone. It was pretty funny that he took a shot at the rappers who are re-inspired by the 80s & 90s era of Hip Hop, but are just looking the part, and not rapping the role. It was a good start, so that was a sign of something good.

The first time I heard Millions, it was when it was released as a ‘single’ before the mixtape came out. I wasn’t feeling it then, and I’m still not now. It’s either because of the beat or Rick Ross on it for no apparent reason or I simply didn’t like everything about the song. The beat will probably grow on me with the hook, because everything is just catchy these days – that’s how people latch on. Pusha with the Meek Mill/Ace Hood flow didn’t do much for me, so that also gave reason to why I wasn’t feeling this song at all.

One thing I really can’t stand these days – rappers who attempt to sing with no vocal talent at all. If you got in the game with rap, do that. Some can do both, but they’ve proven to do both. Many cannot do this, so for the love of God…please stop. French Montana (whom I already don’t even like) fits the example of the previous sentence when it comes to rappers who shouldn’t sing, which he did on Doesn’t Matter. Man, he shouldn’t rap either, but that’s just me. The hook greatly upset me, so already it wasn’t off to a good start. The premise behind this whole song was that it simply doesn’t matter what you say to Pusha T about his lifestyle, his rap ability, or his money, because he’s better than you, and he’ll gladly let you know about it. There’s not much to it. It’s pretty straight up, plain and simple. It wasn’t much to go nuts over. It was pretty much the opposite.

            Blocka is the jam right now. I was digging it because Pusha featured Popcaan on the track, and it wasn’t your typical Young Chop beat that pretty much sounded like everything else he’d made. Also, the fact that the video was shot in Jamaica, gave it more appreciation. Travis Scott also makes an appearance with vocals, but everything about this track is just dope, but mainly it’s the beat with the hook that make it special.

Troy Ave is one of those names that have been talked about a lot lately, as he’s up for nomination in this year’s XXL Freshmen List. I haven’t heard his music at all, but if it features any type of singing like he had on Road Runner, then I will gladly pass. Future, T-Pain, Kanye, Max-B; whoever you blame for the off-key and/or Autotune singing on rap songs, take your pick, but this was yet another example of those trying to sing. The thing is, at least it was remotely better than what French Montana was trying to put out there, but the fact still remains – stop singing. Leave it to the singers, because that’s what they’re there for. Everyone is well aware of who the famous cartoon character, Roadrunner, is. Using metaphors of white lines and the open road to describe his life travels, it painted a vivid picture, but it wasn’t as if we hadn’t heard anything like this beforehand. The slower flow was tiresome and got the point of annoyance and pretty much I was ready to skip before the ending of the 2nd verse.

THE RETURN OF PUSHA T & NEPTUNES BEATS has finally resurfaced. Certain rappers have their producer, and it’s a perfect marriage. Wu Tang had RZA, Missy had Timbaland, and The Clipse had The Neptunes. Name me one track that wasn’t hot whenever the Neptunes produced it: Grindin’, Cot Damn, Popular Demand (Popeyes), What Happened to That Boy, and the list goes on and on. Pusha T  getting back with them was sure to prosper, and it really didn’t disappoint. Revolution doesn’t disappoint, as the beat takes a different route from what we’ve already been hearing. It got personal as he touched on his past with The Clipse, Malice’s soul searching, and basically having come full circle to a point where he now has new found success on his own as a solo artist, and his brother finding success as an author (and he’s also coming back to music). The only the thing that I didn’t like, was that it was so short. I dig the personal stories aside from the drug dealer raps, so I was looking for more of it. Either way, it’s still one of the better songs on the mixtape. That was good for a brief intermission, but now back to our regular scheduled mixtape.

The sample for Only You Can Tell It came in, and I was like “okay okay, what do we have here?” All of a sudden, the beat kicked in, and it was all aboard on the dope train. I saw that Wale was on it, and look – I know that a lot of people rag on Wale and say that he’s terrible and whatever. But, when you’ve seen the progression decline of what was to what is, in terms of his rapping, MMG did no favours for him – they only helped with his album sales, and even then, that’s not saying a lot. The artist on that label who’s benefitting the most is Rick Ross, but that’s for another discussion. The track was cool – under Wale started rapping. I’m being for real. First things first, it sounded like he was rapping in an abandoned alleyway, but as far as the first went, I wasn’t feeling it at all. Should have put The Game on the verse and called it a day, like how Game had Pusha on ‘Name Me King’ for Jesus Piece.  The beat is crazy for this one, so shout out to Boogz N Tapes for that.

So right before Trust You starts, the Jamaican lady that we had the pleasure of being introduced to in the beginning, came back, and for this round of the translation, she’s boasting about her man has taken care of her by spending money to her benefit:

“You see me? I get everything! He provides for me, he gives me money. You don’t see how my breasts are perky and full? He bought these for me. You don’t see how my posterior (ass, buttocks, donk, etc.) is nice and firm? He bought that for me. You see my big house and car with all of this land? He bought it for me. So answer me this: what would I want with a man that can give me less than what I have? NOTHING!”

Again…that may have been rough, but I did my best. I have no idea who Kevin Gates is, but I’ll assume that he’s the guy who’s doing his ultimate failing best to impersonate Future (who does his best to impersonate T-Pain – oh the irony). It was so annoying, and I almost pressed the skip button without even giving it a fair play. It was that serious. A guy that only had the intentions to have a one night stand, fell for the girl, and decided to spoil her, because she was different than those other girls. How many times have we heard this story? A lot, right? Pusha had that 2 Chainz inspired flow on this one. It sounded alright for all of 1 minute and 30 seconds (an iTunes preview worth), but it had to be on to the next one. The ballad to the down ass chick.

Take My Life starting off with the reggae sample would make any Jamaican sway left to right with a Red Stripe while holding their stomachs screaming “JAH RASTAFARI, HAILE SELASSIE I” to the heavens. I love this song here, because of the reggae influence all around. Casey Veggies also had a song on his mixtape called ‘Take My Life’, and the subject matter was in the same range when it came to taking away everything that you dealt with, but you’ll still be the same you. The industry make work its way to try and take hold of your life, but you have to remain the same you to get ahead and beyond. Love this one.

If you’re not familiar with the Re-Up Gang, go do your homework, because I’m not handing out lessons. Long story short, Liva is one of the members, so Pusha decided to give him some shine on Re-Up Gang Motivation. !llmind is a wicked producer, and that was pretty much all that stood out. If Pusha had hopped on this track too, it would have been pure heat, but Liva held his own on his own.

As we’ve come to the end of this mixtape, Pusha starts off I Am Forgiven, by saying “this track dictates everything I’m ‘sposed to say, so have mercy on this soul that I’ve thrown away.” It takes a step back into the ‘Fear of God’ type of perspective that we got from him a couple of years ago (although the title of this mixtape does have Biblical reference), but this time around with new experiences and new grievances to air out, this was the platform to release them on. “I wish you niggas well, you niggas wish I fell…”, is line that stood out because there are always rappers gunning for your position, and these days, you don’t even need to have an album out to solidify your position in the game. Times have changed. He’s not scared to talk about his affiliations with the drug dealing game and how it’s worked out for him thus far. The whole 2nd verse is a testament to his career and his life story all bundled up.

I ask forgiveness lord, in hopes of getting more
Then beg forgiveness for the same thing he forgave me for
I wasn’t crazy poor, see I was lazy more
A thousand kilos cross his lines that you can’t ignore
I felt entitled to it, not how the bible to it
My bright eyes exposed to how the hood idols do it
I just took a page, then I took the stage
Then put the face of that Rollie in that diamond cage
I tried to tame the beast, best I could no leash
I stood the test of time, air-tight no leaks
Not a squeak not a peep of a word
I done lived half my life in arms reach of a bird
Have mercy on me, they put curses on me
I could’ve been six feet or had nurses on me
It was written like these tatted Bible verses on me
I feel the weight upon my shoulders like the church is on me

My verdict on this mixtape when I initially listened to it was that it sucked. Listening to it again, it’s still not what I was expecting (and it’s fair to have expectations), but not overall recycling bin trash as many would believe it to be. It went from about 4 good tracks to about 7 after 2 & 3rd listens. The wrath of Cain. Cain killed his brother Abel, we know that story, but there’s also the wrath of (co)caine that enabled Pusha T to have a rap career and the amount of money he had in the first place. It worked for and against him, but since finding a rap career, he’s learned to move past the clouds of dark days and work them into bright stage lights. It’s good that there’s at least a mixtape to come out before the album, because Lord knows the people have been waiting for a solo one for a couple of years now. The pieces are slowing falling into place. Take a listen and enjoy. This is just my opinion; this is my review, but for now

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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