By Jason Brendler
On the third verse of “King Push," Pusha raps,“Best d-boy all I’m missin' is a Dash, difference between me and Hova.” Here, he’s referencing the messy split between Jay Z and former Roc-A-Fella partner Dame Dash, while also comparing himself to Hov, saying besides the hyphen in his name, there isn’t much of a difference between them.
Verse 2 of “Numbers on the Board” features shout outs to both the Chicago Bulls' current MVP and the greatest of all time. “Givenchy fittin’ like it’s gym clothes, we really gym stars I’m like D. Rose, No D-league I’m like this close, ’88 Jordan leaping from the free throw” is a reference to MJ’s famous dunk contest winner. He also shouts out MJ in “40 acres” when he says “I’m Jordan vs. Cavs for the last shot.”
Push, being the "King," of course had to give a shout out to the Fresh Prince in “40 acres," rapping, “Unpolished, unapologetic, Big Willie with the blow, n----s, I am legend,” comparing one of Will Smith’s box office characters to his own “legendary” status.
Here’s a history lesson for you: on verse 2 of “Suicide," Pusha spits the lyric “Oh, suicide it’s a suicide” with a distinct flow sampling KRS-One in “Moshitup." This line was also used as a sample for the song “1-800 suicide” by Gravediggaz and used by Jay Z on "Grammy Family (freestyle)."
“20 plus years of selling Johnson & Johnson, I started out as a baby face monster, no wonder there’s diaper rash on my conscience.” Can you guess what business he’s alluding to in this one? That’s just one sampler from possibly the dopest track on the album, “Nosetalgia” ft. Kendrick Lamar. On this track , he throws back-to-back movie references with “Ivan Drago, if he dies he dies,” from “Rocky IV” and “like Doughboy to Tre, if he rides he rides,” from “Boyz n the Hood.”
Some of the hottest lines on the album came from featured artists as well. On “Hold On," Rick Ross spit typical Rozay bars when with, “Young King bury me inside a glass casket, windex wipe me down for the life after.” 2 Chainz boasted a couple on “Who I am," like in the second verse when he goes in with, “Entrepreneur, strip club connoisseur, hot fudge sundae, pour it on you hallelujah.” Or “Got gas in my peace pipe, pink Sprite, she P-popping her jeans tight, all day I dream about sex, three stripes," shouting out Adidas with the acronym and the symbol.
On “No Regrets," you hear Pusha rap, “My mind wanders on a PJ, my momma brought me up in the PJ’s, in the club sippin' on P&J on the same arm as my Piaget.” Must be nice after coming from the PJ’s (projects) to now be on a private jet, sippin’ on Perrier-Jouet with a Piaget watch on (it’s like wearing a Mercedes on your wrist).
With verses like these Pusha will resonate for years to come.