The Platinum Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a high-performance luxury watch ringing up at precisely $75,000. It’s a sharp, highly-reliable, ultimately classic piece and the symbolic icon of Pusha T’s much-anticipated album – his first in three years. A reflection that time is one of life’s greatest luxuries and one he used with precision to construct one of his greatest musical contributions yet. Originally titled King Push the album was scrapped three separate times over the past few years but after a manic spree of Kanye West Twitter announcements, Terrence Thorton’s dedicated fanbase prepared for impact as DAYTONA was delivered from the depths of Utah and Wyoming studio sessions.
DAYTONA is a “modern day masterpiece. A Flawless Hip Hop Gem. Classic But Current. In realtime!” according to Diddy, who publicly handwrote his review on lavish Christian Lacroix parchment upon the seven-track project’s release this past week – and not just because he was mentioned on the album twice. Pusha latest sonic achievement, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Darkest Before Dawn, not only delivers on the magnitude fans have come to expect from his aggressive cadence and elocuted flow but also propels the G.O.O.D Music president beyond constancy with lavish beats courtesy of Executive Producer Kanye West.
It’s a 21-minute masterclass on the dichotomy of the current drug and rap game – with vivid anecdotes depicting Push A Ton’s drug lord past (“The only rapper who sold more dope than me was Eazy-E,” he snarls on ‘Infrared’,) while also delivering an earnest and contextual history lesson on hip-hop’s evolution as a reminder of why he doesn’t play by rap’s current rules. Overtop soul, strings and samples provided by a strengthened Ye, Pusha references De La Soul, The LOX, DMX, Kendrick Lamar, Hit-Boy as well as Rich Boy’s 2006 hit ‘Throw Some D’s’. All this before reminding fans of the industry that awarded Will Smith the first Grammy for Best Rap Performance, while Jay-Z wasn’t recognized until he sampled Annie on his third album. “I’m too rare amongst all of this pink hair,” he declares on the doctoral Rick Ross-featuring ‘Hard Piano,’ throwing shots at the current freshman class of rappers.
Whether you feed into his mafioso archetype or not, Pusha T is rap’s last superstar kingpin. He may navigate a day-to-day corporate role as label head, but the luxurious drug narrative that makes up his arcane anthems has solidified the Virginia artist as a stylistic and subject specialist, who has continued to deliver menacing bangers in a relatable and refreshed context, while his contemporary peers have ultimately been labeled as washed for attempting a similar task, decades into their careers. Pusha doesn’t need to evolve from a subgenre he continues to elevate.
It’s Terrence’s fearlessness that allows him leniency. The 41-year-old rap legend avoids aging hypocrisy by calling out the industry’s perils on pen. While rounding out the album with the self-assured ‘Infrared,’ Pusha takes aim and fires directly at long-time rivals Birdman, Lil Wayne and Drake – the latter of which responded with the aggressive ‘Duppy Freestyle’ the day of DAYTONA’s release. The track kickstarted a new era of a much-hyped rivalry, pushing Drake out from behind the studio doors to meet Terrence in the ring. With a scorching single like ‘Infrared,’ Pusha T has not only proved why he’s still one of the best in the game, but he’s brought out the best in even his adversaries, solidifying DAYTONA’s place in rap history.