It was around 13 years ago when the neighbourhood pusher proclaimed that he “pumped bass like that, jack.” In the time since the Clipse shook up the industry with their debut single Grindin‘, much has changed for the VA duo. For starters, they split ways (amicably). Malice decided that rap was no longer a positive outlet that he wanted in his life while King Push made a solo go at it. Since 2011, he’s dropped some official – and street – projects; however, his latest Darkest Before Dawn is maybe one of his dopest yet.

That’s pretty fluffy, I mean, it’s easy to say that about any artist’s newest release. But the project is special, and Pusha is at his career apex. In 2015, he released the EQT Running Guidance ’93 collaborative sneaker with Adidas and was recently named President of G.O.O.D Music, which he details on the not-so-subtle Untouchable.

Here’re the goods on this album; if Evidence of the Cali-based Dilated Peoples is referred to as the weatherman for his incessant references to the weather, than Pusha is truly the dope man. If there were a record for most colourful cocaine references and metaphors ever, he’d be the champ – hands down. This album does see Pusha break into some more varied topics, though, such as loyalty, authenticity, morality and the tribulations of a black man with a pocket full of cash. For instance, he details the pitfalls that come with fame on M.P.A (Money Pussy Alcohol), where he talks about the depressing cycle and poor decision making that can get rappers caught up: “The three leading killers of you niggas, be the shit that’s most appealing to you niggas.” He then details how he lost his first two million dollars on the must-listen collaboration with Beanie Sigel, Keep Dealin’, and also gets busy with re-up gang partner Ab-Liva on a super buttery Timbaland-produced, Got Em’ Covered. The album also boasts production from Metro Boomin’, Boi 1da, Kanye, Q-Tip and Puffy (no big deal).

With over a decade of hot music and a list of accolades under his belt, Pusha has earned the king title. One of the most telling overtones of this album is his denouncing of rappers who aren’t speaking from a plateau of truthfulness. If the CNN special he and Malice did a few years back has any validity to it, they lived that life. Like Jeezy, he’s one of the real ones. His references to illicit drug sales seem less far removed if you consider that he went from that to this – albeit, not overnight (but still). He now likens himself as ‘reformed’. A kingpin who can afford to have his mother spend a month in the Bahamas. 99% of these rappers, though, ain’t got it like Push. On Darkest Before Dawn, he throws his hat into the ring, and shows why he’s so revered by your fave rapper’s fave rapper. It gets me hyped for what dawn will bring.

Long live King Push!