DAYTONA, the long-awaited new LP by Pusha-T, boasts a mostly sinewy and understated sound that'll leave hip-hop heads in revelry. Those instrumentals on this seven-track release are packed in tight like a brick of China white by Push's producer, G.O.O.D. Music cohort, and newly infamous MAGA troll Kanye West.
All those succinct elements perfectly complement the brevity of Pusha's lyricism. Prime example: "What Would Meek Do?" on which Push spits chillingly effective coke raps like "Smell it through the Tupperware / Two can get you four like a double dare." Push gets even more creative, and far more metaphorical, over the sombre keys by co-producer Mike Dean on "Hard Piano," spitting: "Still do the Fred Astaire on the brick / 'Tap tap' throw the phone if you hear it 'click.'" And over the rat-ta-tat-tat percussion and forebodingly humming synths of "Santeria," he puts forth pragmatic gangsta threats like: "No jail bars can save / Leave you Malcolm / Where X marks your grave."
And while the Virginia Beach wordsmith's references to Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, the President and the Kremlin, all make for interesting of-the-moment fodder, they pale in comparison to the aforementioned drug dealer lore that Pusha has spent his career honing.
The one exception is "What Would Meek Do?" Fans will be hotly anticipating and dreading that track in equal measure, because it features fresh Kanye West verses in the wake of his recent far-right implosion. Thankfully there's no need to fear — yes, West does employ his aggressively stupid new "poopity scoop" catch phrase, but otherwise brings some of his best bars in years to bear. As a mercurial synth riff oscillates and 808s crackle, Yeezy raps about driving while black and wonders if his MAGA hat will "let me slide like a drive-thru?" He also has insightful and moving lines about pill binges and exposing his scars like the famed R&B singer Seal.
West's nimble turn on that song makes one wonder how he could be so brutally ignorant on TMZ and Twitter of late. But even if Ye hadn't lifted his bars above the fray, they would've been offset by Push's astounding lyrics throughout much of DAYTONA. It makes one wish that the wiser and more consistent Virginia Beach MC was constantly around to counterbalance his G.O.O.D. Music cohort's more vile tendencies. Regardless, all the controversy gives elements of DAYTONA some delicious extra novelty, though thankfully its core ingredients are more than fulfilling on their own.

Pre-order DAYTONA on vinyl and CD via Umusic. (G.O.O.D.)