The first in a promised cluster of mid-2018 releases from GOOD Music came from label president Pusha T, who followed up the compact King Push with this briefer EP-length set. Designated an album possibly for the strategic sake of preventing the release from being buried on the artist's streaming service profile pages, Daytona nonetheless warrants top billing. Kanye West grants taut, grimace-inducing beats, assisted infrequently by Mike Dean and Andrew Dawson, enabling Pusha to pack each one of the seven tracks with characteristically trenchant and terse rhymes. The lyrical focus is similarly laser-sharp -- primarily assertion of equally high regard in the drug trade and rap game with coded and transparent references to disposable income. Lines aimed at ghostwriter-employing competition appear as nonchalant swats but land like precise knockout blows. Respect paid to a newly freed peer is as vivid: "Angel on my shoulder, 'What should we do?'/Devil on the other, 'What would Meek do?'/Pop a wheelie, tell the judge to Akinyele/Middle fingers out the Ghost, screamin' 'Makaveli'." Throughout, Pusha's in typically percussive and phonetically advanced form with melodicism evidently eschewed as a potential distraction. It's a testament to the rapper's excellence that he can release a 20-minute album that withstands West's ostentatious art direction and shoddy guest verse.
by Andy Kellman