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Friday, June 23, 2017
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Pusha T: 'Fear of God II: Let Us Pray' – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tags: Music Reviews

Pusha T’s Fear of God II: Let Us Pray is full of simple raps and rhyme schemes, but his words are so authentic and heartfelt the listener can feel connected to the artist's struggles.

The EP’s opening track, “Changing of the Guards,” sends a sense of boldness and aggression but immediately fills the listener’s ears with painful introspection as Pusha T describes himself as a “known dope dealer who escaped without a scar” and says, “God only knows what I feel inside, responsible for all this inner-city genocide.”

On the next song, “Amen,” Kanye West sings, “Lord forgive my sins/and all my friends/dollars make sense/I’m trying to get paid,” alluding to his knowledge that he's living a life that compromises his morals in pursuit of money. Tyler, the Creator appears on the album’s third song, “Trouble on My Mind,” a haunting, dark narrative.

The EP picks up the optimism in “What Dreams are Made Of,” where Pusha T boasts about his rise from selling cocaine to wealth through rap. He then shows he hasn't strayed from the street lifestyle that propelled him to success in “Body Work,” boldly promising death to anyone who tries to "fuck with my money."

Fear of God II takes another introspective turn on “Everything That Glitters” when French Montana uses the chorus to warn the listener "everything that glitters, that ain't gold," and unexcitedly describes his daily life as "roll and smoke, getting’ high, high, high/Just another day gettin’ by, by, by." Plenty of other rappers glorify such a life, but Pusha T and French Montana look at the emptiness of such an existence.

Pusha T takes a look at the allure of selling cocaine in “So Obvious,” explaining even though he has money his desires are still simple: "I just want to flip it/I just want to sell it." In “Feeling Myself,” he describes his increase in confidence as a result of his successes. “Raid” juxtaposes a catchy and upbeat background mixed with a violently-themed chorus, and 50 Cent's menacing verse complements the song well.

As the EP starts winding to a close, “My God” leaves the listener wondering if Pusha T is in fact worshipping the power and influence of the pursuit of money. On “I Still Wanna,” Rick Ross hammers the audience with the hardest-hitting verse of the EP, explaining the impoverished and hopeless childhood that leads so many young people across the country to enter the drug game in hopes of escaping. Despite the constant bragging about money, cocaine and violence, Fear of God II ends on a reflective note with "Alone in Vegas," a song describing the loneliness Pusha T feels despite his fame.

For a 12-song EP, Fear of God II does an excellent job of being diverse in both style and subject matter and is well worth purchasing.

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