Pusha T – Wrath of Caine

Pusha T – Wrath of Caine

wrath-of-cainePusha T – Wrath of Caine
Self-released: 2013

An unfortunate malady that seems to strike a lot of rappers these days is that they don’t really know exactly what they’re good at. We shouldn’t blame them for this necessarily. After all, artists make art, they aren’t always required to think all that much about it. Even Biggie was only as focused and goal directed as he was because he had Puff at his side. Talent doesn’t always know what’s best for itself.

Kanye, however, is not Diddy and Pusha T is not as versatile as he wants to be. A huge factor in the success of Clipse and the Re-up Gang was that their music was confined to such a small sound. After four fantastic full length releases, we knew little more about the brothers Thornton than that they dealt a lot of drugs and they were spontaneously violent. As far as listeners are concerned, this is what Pusha T is good at: sounding calculated, yet unpredictable.

Since the release of Hell Hath No Fury, however, rap music has not followed the path of Clipse. It became relaxed, thoughtful, and indulgent in direct opposition to the lean and nasty sounds of Clipse and the Neptunes. Pusha T’s last two Fear of God releases dealt with Pusha as if he fit well into the mould of the popular gangsta rapper of the day: Rick Ross. The beats were big and the stakes were high, but the songs rolled slowly and predictably. Unlike Ross, Pusha T doesn’t necessarily have a lot of gravitas. The whole formula just made the man sound out of his element, trying to connect with more recent audiences with very little imagination.

I have to give Wrath of Caine some credit, because it sees Pusha attempting to add a definite taste to his previously flavorless solo material. The mixtape has sort of a dancehall reggae theme, an attempt, I would posit, at capturing some of Clipse’s lost mystery through new, parallel sounds. Combined with Pusha’s now patented vaguely old testament religious imagery, he definitely succeeds at sounding more dangerous. In the end, however, the faults of his previous solo releases still haunt him here: he lacks a versatile flow that would allow him to fit into the thick saturated beats of today’s most popular producers. Pusha’s flow is about his calculated agility, while producers like Harry Fraud and Young Chop make beats for rappers with far heavier styles. Thus a mixtape that was made to increase street furvor in the lead-up to the release of Pusha’s album just proves once again that he still hasn’t found that creative sweet spot that would allow that album to be truly successful.

3 out of 5


  1. Koen
    Feb 19, 2013 @ 06:15:00

    I do like the calcullated agility… more refined than most, but certainly less brash at the same time

  2. tim
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 21:48:00

    he needs to stop with the trap beats for real, he just comes off sounding like rick ross or every other rapper trying to stay current right now. maybe he should go back to the formula that worked for him in the first place because songs like millions or whatever are just embarrassing.

  3. WWW
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 13:04:00

    I feel like all these big lables bring nothing new or interesting these days. Wrath of Cocaine, just like Fear of God is way too predictable and boring after the first few tracks. Tbh, Blocka was the only refreshing song there (mostly bcs I love the Rap/Dancehall mixup)…the rest is just what we expected – trendy beats and Pusha bragging about stuff.

  4. MadLark
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 09:17:00

    Agreed. Going to have to ignore all Pusha opinions coming from here..

  5. Frank Luanda
    Feb 06, 2013 @ 21:59:00

    I haven’t gotten into the tape yet, but the fact that you’re ragging on “Fear of God” makes me question the validity of this review. I love how you mention “newer audiences”…the audiences might be new but they listen for the same themes: drugs, gun play, and braggadocio.

  6. Geoff El Terich
    Feb 06, 2013 @ 20:43:00

    too kind with this one….

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