It’s been a long time coming. Since joining Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music fold last year, cocksure wordsmith and one half of the Clipse, Pusha T, has been on one hell of a streak. Gaining placement on a number of high-profile tracks, as well as releasing his critically praised debut Fear Of God solo mixtape earlier this year, the Virginia native has been seeing his stock rise. Still working on his official solo debut, Push keeps the momentum going on his latest dosage, Fear Of God II: Let Us Pray, an EP that ultimately showcases why the brash spitter’s name belongs amongst the revered.
The rite kicks off on the blazing opener, “Changing of the Guards.” With Diddy serving as his hypeman, a defiant Pusha sprinkles signature drug dealer salvo over the triumphant Rico Beats production. “Pusha Ton pledge allegiance to the raw, known dope dealer that escaped without a scar/I’m Buddy Lee so lucky me, see I’m home/Wish I could jailbreak my team like an iPhone.”
The tone for the revamped tape is solidified here as he continues, “God in Heaven know how I feel inside, responsible for all this inner-city genocide/I’ll be damned if I let Yale campus vilify/As I uplift this artform ceiling high.” On the scorching Shawty Redd produced, “Amen,” the lyrical onslaught persists. Originally a Young Jeezy cut off last year’s Last Laugh mixtape, Pusha and his G.O.O.D boss take it to church over the thunderous backdrop. Yeezy spazzes, “You like that don’t you? I wrote it myself by the way/And I don’t mean to be selfish/But I picture myself getting paid.”
While Push compliments the boastful-rants with some extra dope boy flair, “Time to get paid, got a gun and a stocking mask/Niggas thought I was trying to get waves/I’mma let all ya’ll niggas pray for it/My young niggas knocking off a K for it/Sold my soul on the backend/Only fucking way I’mma pay for it.” Speaking of flair, on the tantalizing “What Dreams Are Made Of,” a speech by legendary wrestler Ric Flair is sampled on the track as Planeterium Push unleashes braggadocios bars galore served with a side of coke boast. “Hip-Hop bores, hustlers applaud me/Too much school boy, not enough rude boy/Nothing match the feeling of pulling up in that new toy/And it aint even half of my safe, tuck like a Jew boy.”
From the schizophrenic “Trouble On My Mind” to the street sweeping block anthem “Body Work,” and the somber “Everything That Glitters” Fear Of God II is nothing to sneeze at. Although some of its strongest cuts already appeared on its predecessor (“My God,” “Alone In Vegas,” “I Still Wanna”), Pusha ultimately leaves anticipation for his official solo introduction. —Ralph Bristout