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Pusha T - It's Almost Dry (Album Review)

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 Written by Tom Morgan

Pusha T is a master of minimalism. Where countless rappers load their albums with bits, skits and half-formed ideas, he trims things down to the bare essentials. His finest works are dependent on this pared-down philosophy—from 2013’s Kendrick Lamar-featuring Nosetalgia to his masterful 2018 album ‘Daytona’.

‘It’s Almost Dry’ continues this approach, with more collaborative influences laid atop its immaculate form. This compositional exactness shares much in common with Pusha T’s long-time collaborator Kanye West—both employ a  crisp production style, one defined by a lack of murkiness and focus on stylised precision.

West’s production on ‘It’s Almost Dry’ predictably follows these contours. Diet Coke cranks its snare brutally high, while Dreamin Of The Past’s chopped sample sits almost outside the rest of the mix. 

The instrumental layers of West’s production are like objects displayed in a museum—separate, pristine and ornate. He handles around half of the album’s production. The rest is left to Pharrell Williams, in what is the first major collaboration between him and Pusha T since the days of Clipse. 

Williams’ recognisable approach on tracks such as Neck & Wrist and Open Air is dense and seductive, particularly when compared to West’s artful sterility. Pusha T himself has little trouble crossing between the states conjured by his producers. 

His flow is as controlled as ever, relying on unexpected rhymes and sharp punchlines. His bars aren’t especially insightful, nor do they broach many new emotions, but his voice is truly commanding, best highlighted by the spacious Just So You Remember.

‘It’s Almost Dry’ is perhaps best understood as a battle between its two producers, with Pusha T serving as a highly-adept MC. When viewed through this lens, instead of as a key work in its creator’s discography, it makes for fabulous hip hop entertainment.

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