AOTY 2017
King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
Pusha T - King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2015 Ratings: #37 / 742
User Score
Based on 198 ratings
2015 Ratings: #43
Your Review


A.V. Club
It is a 10-track twisted odyssey crafted by one of the most lyrically gifted rappers of the 21st century as he unloads on a range of specific enemies and larger issues both real and perceived. Never before, either in his solo work or as a member of Clipse, has Pusha T sounded more pissed off.

The Prelude has once again positioned Pusha as an emcee with the ability to put forth a legendary piece of work. Here now, the clock ticks until King Push.

The 405

Darkest Before Dawn is a declaration of now, using the rap world's skewed priorities and current disordered reality as his muse, dissecting its flaws through neurotic observations and sociological exploration - and of course the most inexhaustible adlib in the game.

Consequence of Sound
It isn’t the best he’s been or the most interesting, but he’s never been more colorful or more topical.

The beats sound like money, and the raps are whip smart and cleanly tailored.


We do know that Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude is a fabulous album, even though it’s merely a sample to whet our appetite for the real product, King Push, next spring.


On DBD, he delivers music that can’t be clumped with contemporary hip-hop.

Belying its also-ran billing, 'Darkest Before Dawn...' is a minor masterpiece of dark, smart, modern hip-hop.

Darkest Before Dawn is as real as it gets — even if you've never sold drugs in your life.


The album just doesn't flow as well as his monolithic 2013 effort My Name Is My Name, but as a mere "prelude" to the next LP, it's miles above "throwaway" and comes with the quality control that would put it in the top tiers of both the mixtape and street release formats.


A remarkable return to form by one of rap’s finest wordsmiths, it’s Pusha’s most focused and cohesive solo effort to date, and one of hip-hop’s strongest long-players of 2015.

Each track feels like a different corner of Pusha T’s mind, all coming together to form a complete brain, glimmering with glitz and glamour on the surface and exploring darkness and deep thought below.
The Guardian

Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude sees Pusha T continue in the verbose, matter-of-fact style that he’s honed since his days as one half of Clipse, but this time – amid the tales of slinging and spending – he’s built his own personal fifth column.

NOW Magazine

Darkest Before Dawn's only shortcoming is its prelude status; most of its 10 songs last just two or three minutes. It's too good to be a mixtape and too short to be an album, raising the stakes even higher for the album proper.


If My Name is My Name was a branding, an active marketing campaign, Darkest Before Dawn is the fully realized product, Pusha T not as he was or as he could be, but as he is. He’s not always as sharp as he’s been in the past, but he makes up for his faults with his tenacity.

The Line of Best Fit
It isn’t overly ambitious, but after more than two years without an official release it is still a treat to hear Pusha T, even if he stays largely in his cocaine comfort zone.
Rolling Stone
Though hip-hop gets more melodic and vocally expressive every year, Pusha keeps his cadences steely and his bars hitting like haymakers, maintaining that ice-cold Nineties feel even when he’s taking on modern troubles.
Jun 14, 2017*
FAVORITE TRACKS: Intro, Untouchable, M.F.T.R., Crutches, Crosses, Caskets, M.P.A., F.I.F.A. & Sunshine

LEAST FAVORITE: Got Em Covered & Retribution
Jul 28, 2016
flawless first half and pretty constant dark vibe throughout. kinda ruined by the closer though
Mar 25, 2016
If this is an appetizer for what is coming for King Push, I can say that I am very excited. Pusha T delivers a sharp mixtape/album with hard hitting tracks. It reminded much if his Clipse days.
Feb 6, 2016
Pusha T has brought out a dark, gnarled album with brilliant beats, polished lyrics and some of the most substance you will find.
Feb 2, 2016
This prelude project sets the bar pretty high for Pusha T's King Push album expected to come out in 2016. Pusha T doesn't waste time and doesn't waste words: this album of is 33 minutes of Pusha T getting straight to the point. While utilizing great flow and great lyricism, Pusha T repeatedly delivers punch after punch with no fillers over a wide array of some very fantastic production from the likes of Timbaland, Kanye West, Boi-1da, and others.
#19/Pigeons & Planes
Track List
  1. Intro
  2. Untouchable
  3. M.F.T.R. (feat. The-Dream)
  4. Crutches, Crosses, Caskets
  5. M.P.A. (feat. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky & The-Dream)
  6. Got Em Covered (feat. Ab-Liva)
  7. Keep Dealing (feat. Beanie Sigel)
  8. Retribution (feat. Kehlani)
  9. F.I.F.A.
  10. Sunshine (feat. Jill Scott)

Added on: November 24, 2015