The movie Scarface has inspired so many hustlers and rappers who rap about being hustlers to get hustling (“took it to the limit like Montana with better grammar”). Pusha T, one half of celebrated duo The Clipse, has been labeled a crack rapper but his ambitions as a rider are a bit loftier than the corner. Pusha aims for the top of the rap game as a solo artist and his first takeover move is the high-anticipated Fear Of God mixtape, a compact work featuring top notch production from the likes of Nottz, Kanye West and the Neptunes.
The tape is compact, a welcome departure for the 20 track monsters that have been circulating recently. The brevity effectively combats Pusha’s small content range. The tempo doesn’t change much but the energy level is effectively modulated with the different production. His choices in guest spots were inspired as well, with Rick Ross and Ab Liva dropping hard, potent verses on”I Still Wanna.” 50 Cent continues his hot streak in 2011, outshining Mr. Thornton on the Pharrell-assisted “Raid.” Kanye’s contribution, “Touch It” is out of pahse with the balance of the album and detracts from the overall feel as a failed attempt at adding range
Two songs feature Pusha over recognizable beats with mixed results. He falls way short of Jiggaman’s lofty perch on the “Can I Live” freestyle. So far below, that it shouldn’t have been attempted. Not that it’s bad, but we’ve heard it better. He snatches Soulja Boy’s “Speakers Going Hammer” and put it down like Thor.
While possessed of solo ambitions, he still got love for Malice and the Re-up (love for Liva, no mention of Sandman), noting Malice has found his religion on one track and shouting him out in another.
The Fear Of God mixtape is dope. It’s not up to the classic Re-Up Gang run or the Clipse albums, but it’s proof that Pusha T may have some legs as a soloist. Particularly on closing note, Nottz-produced “Alone In Vegas,” he showcases his solid narrative skills, his arrogant disgust for those beneath him, and a keen believability (truth or not) that goes a long way when spinning yarns about the street life. Good for multiple spins and scavenger hunt searches through the lines he drops (peep the one regarding Lindsey Lohan and T.I.). Not quite Sosa, but enough to be Tony.
3.75 out of 5
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