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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pusha T, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray

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It wasn’t long ago that Virginia Beach hip-hop sat on the crest of a revolutionary sea change. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, both products of that coastal city, rewrote the genre’s sonic rulebook earlier this millennium. Perhaps their most vibrant creative muse was Pusha T. As one-half of Clipse, Pusha circumnavigated the Neptunes’ mazy sci-fi beats with scandalous accounts of life in the trap. But after 2009’s Till the Casket Drops left Clipse fans salty, Pusha went solo. Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray spotlights Pusha’s cagey, murderously direct flow. A reformed coke dealer, he seldom champions his old profession and there is real grief tearing at songs like the vicious “Trouble on My Mind.” “Amen,” featuring Pusha’s new label boss Kanye West, churns as furiously as Yeezy’s GOOD Friday tracks. But Fear of God steps out of the Kanye wheelhouse for “Raid,” which lubricates a snarling 50 Cent verse with low-ridin’ Neptunes funk so vintage it sounds as though it traveled from 2003. (G.O.O.D. Music/Decon/Re-Up Gang) 4 stars out of 5

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