Pusha T albums can be summarized with a quote from the Virginia rapper, himself, straight out of "Untouchables": “I drops every blue moon to separate myself from you kings of the YouTube.” Push has dropped solo projects in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2022. The gaps between each release only create more hype amongst his fans, especially since he doesn’t do many features between each album drop.
His most recent album, 2022's It's Almost Dry, sold 55K units in its first week and went No. 1 on the Billboard 200 because of streaming. However, 2018’s DAYTONA is his best-selling album, with 77K units sold in its first week. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Let's look back at the project that helped amass Pusha T's significant success.
A Product Of The Wyoming Sessions
The creative processes of Pusha T albums are often shared by the rapper through interviews. However, the album’s creation made headlines with DAYTONA because of its executive producer, Kanye West. In 2018, Kanye moved to Wyoming and bought a 4,000-acre piece of land home to a $7 million ranch. Here, Kanye produced Pusha T’s entire album - and four others - in a moment known in modern music history as the “Wyoming Sessions.” DAYTONA was the first release from this batch, and the others followed weekly in May 2018. Unfortunately, there was not a livestream for this album listening party like the other releases, but it dropped on time with no errors - unlike some other releases.
Pusha T Believes In Quality Over Quantity
Listeners know Pusha T albums for valuing quality over quantity, but DAYTONA is the best example of this. With only seven tracks and no intro, outro or interlude, the album is as straightforward as it gets. In an interview with NPR, Pusha shared that this tracklist length was not his original plan. “I probably wanted to be 12. 10 or 12,” he said.
However, Kanye had other plans. He wanted the album to have eight songs but brought it down to seven. Ironically, Push said he sent seven paragraphs to Ye about why he disagreed with the short tracklist. Kanye’s decision worked excellently, with fans having fun debates about which song was truly best and every song having over 25 million streams. The opening track, “If You Know You Know,” has a title that has become a common saying across social media, often abbreviated to “IYKYK.”
DAYTONA Had Two Major Moments
Like all Pusha T albums, coke bars and lyrical dexterity are running themes throughout DAYTONA. However, Push sometimes delves away from them and dedicates a whole song to a more vulnerable subject matter. “Santeria” finds him discussing the death of De’Von “Day Day” Pickett, his close friend and road manager. 070 Shake’s haunting vocals help this one have a completely different atmosphere than the other songs, but the beat switch in its final moments brings the album’s core sound back.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention “Infrared” an integral moment in the ongoing feud between him and Drake. The sparse instrumental gave the song a menacing tone, and listeners quickly picked up on the references to Drake and those he knew. This later led to one of the biggest moments in modern rap history - Pusha T exposing that Drake had a son.
Pusha T’s Success Continues
DAYTONA is a Pusha T album that helped solidify his presence in the rap game for anyone who doubted him. The album would help push him to more commercial success when its follow-up, 2022's It’s Almost Dry, went No. 1 on the Billboard 200. DAYTONA was released during the “Surgical Summer,” as Push himself called it, that had rap fans talking and its final track had people that didn’t even listen to him talking.
Push said the album’s title, which refers to a Rolex watch of the same name, meant he had the luxury of time. However, the original title of the album was King Push. Still, no matter how long the wait was, listeners would tap in with his music. The album’s success proved this and people are still listening to it today. It's been called his best and one of the best in all of modern rap.