Despite their many similarities in both writing and past lifestyles, Pusha-T and Jay-Z have only ever appeared on the same record once before the brand new collab, ironically titled “Drug Dealers Anonymous”, dropped last night: “So Appalled” from Kanye West’s classic 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. On the menacing posse cut, both emcees got their shit off properly, with quotable lines galore, making it hard for rap aficionados to decide who killed it more. But, that wasn’t technically a proper “collaboration” in the one-on-one sense, as Hov and Push shared the track with ‘Ye and Cyhi Da Prynce. Now, five and a half years later, the two former cocaine cowboys’ powers combine on the first single from Pusha’s King Push album, and in the words of Paul Wall, they got the inna’net goin’ nuts.
LISTEN TO “DRUG DEALERS ANONYMOUS” VIA 2DOPEBOYZ HERE.
“Drug Dealer’s Anonymous” is a four minute long, hookless clinic in narcotics-related fly talk over an eerie, bare-bones beat by DJ Dahi. The overall reaction to the collaboration is a positive one, as it’s littered with quotable bars and gives us exactly what we’ve come to know and love from the two artists. We weren’t expecting the reinvention of the wheel here; personally, I wouldn’t want that from these guys, at least not on their first one-one-one collabo. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; just keep putting fly little flourishes on that old drug talk, which is something they both do here multiple times.
A portion of listeners will argue that the song is boring, that the 39 and 46-year-old rappers have no business still talking about their past illegal exploits when they’re so far removed from their respective backgrounds. It could be said that hearing Jay-Z rap about cocaine in 2016 is the equivalent of that 46-year-old dad bragging to his kids about his accomplishments as a high school quarterback “back in the day“. However, this is entertainment, and more so, this is music; and this music is fucking dope (pun intended). The creepy organ sampling production is the exact stripped-down, raw sound fans clamored for in December when Push dropped his 10-track Darkest Before Dawn “prelude album”. There’s no hook between the two rappers; just an ironic, hilarious sample of conservative pundit Tomi Lahren criticizing Jay-Z for his checkered past to break them apart. Brilliant.
As I said, “Drug Dealers Anonymous” isn’t a huge stylistic departure or unpredictable curve ball from either emcee; but don’t you tell me they didn’t smash this shit. Push keeps up his flawless track record lyrically, then Hova raps twice as long as him, taking the track over with an effortless charisma. It blows his “All the Way Up” remix verse out of the water, easily. Rap fans calling the track boring are evidence that hip-hop snobs are the hardest folks to please out of any genre’s fans. The “grass is always greener” effect runs rampant among traditional, often older, rap fans. Push put out some poppier stuff on his solo debut, and they wanted gritty, stripped down raw shit (pun intended again); now he floods the block with that raw shit, and they say it’s “boring”.
They’re wrong. Regardless of how far the truth may be stretched, sacrificed for the sake of pure craftsmanship and entertainment, or the fact that these two 30 and 40 somethings don’t live the same snoozefest of a life that many disgruntled “hip-hop heads” lead at 30 or 40 something, “Drug Dealers Anonymous” is an awesome track. Listen like it’s a movie, fool, and just enjoy the ride. I’ll just leave you with a some bars from Pusha and Jay here (check out Rap Genius’ line-by-line breakdown if any may fly over your pretty little head):
“How many Madonnas can that Mazda fit?
My brick talk is more than obvious, it’s ominous
Garages, the phantom, ghouls, ghosts and goblins
Blonde mohawk the collection I’m Dennis Rodman”
“I put my boos in those cruise collections, life’s a bitch
A to Z on her shoe collection, take your pick”
“Let he without sin cast the first stone
So I built that all glass quad level first home
Shatter all of your misconceptions
Hold all of them missing weapons”
“Thanks to the lawyers, I marbled the foyer
I tore the floor up, yeah, that’s for Koi fish
We been dining on oysters
I walk though the garage it’s like multiple choices
I told ‘em pull the Royce up”
“Cases we buries ‘em
Before Reasonable Doubt dropped, the jury/jewelry hung”
“Drug dealers anonymous
Y’all think Uber’s the future, our cars been autonomous”
FBI keep bringing them all white vans through”