Release date- October 8, 2013
KING PUSH & NUMBERS ON THE BOARDS
Yes, these are the only two songs on the album that find Pusha on the solo side of things, and they are both very good. "King Push" was a tight choice for an opener, and the "lyrical ballin" style of "Numbers On The Boards" was dope also.
Out of 12 songs, 10 of them have guest appearances (more on this later), so I'll begin with the highlights. The Kendrick Lamar assisted "Nosetalgia" was dope, featuring another almost show stealing verse by Mr. Lamar, although at times it seems like he's beginning to try a little too hard these days, but that's another story. I'm not a fan of Rick Ross, but honestly his verse on the appropriately titled "Hold On" damn near eclipses Pusha's verse. "Sweet Serenade" was good, but then again, Chris Brown finds himself as a featured guest on nearly every album these days. I liked the closer "S.N.I.T.C.H.", which features Pharrell Williams and I'll leave you to figure out what Pusha was talking about on this song. Speaking of Pharrell, the use of Auto Tune is something that wasn't needed, and there was a little too much of that on this album. As far as the other tracks, "No Regrets" was very good, however, Jeezy's verse added nothing to the song. Speaking of adding nothing, is it all but a trend now that 2 Chainz and Big Sean ("Who I Am") are featured on every album, not to mention side by side too? They added nothing to that song and Pusha should've just stuck to his style without "switching it up" to their apparent levels. "Let Me Love You", featuring Kelly Rowland, is about as forgettable as they come, and was it just me or was Pusha's flow reminiscent of 1997-98 Mase here? That's what it sounded like to me.
Most of the production was handled by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, and overall they did a very good job, nothing spectacular though. Contributions by 88 Keys, Swizz Beatz, Don Cannon, No I.D., Nottz, etc, were good as well.
3 stars is my rating for this album and I'll tell you why. First off, although Pusha is still mad nice on the mic, he isn't saying anything that we haven't heard before in my view. The only difference here is the beats. Secondly, I know he has put out mixtapes and EPs (as well as the three Clipse albums), but there were WAY too many features for a debut album and as one reviewer put it, not enough time is spent on establishing Pusha's identity. Then again, he could be under the impression that we already know who he is, but the fact remains, for a debut album, it's too many features. And as mentioned, the production is very good. It's a decent album to be sure, but he's capable of much better. I hope he gets it right next time.