Having spent most of the last decade as an underground king and one half of Clipse, Pusha T excited rap fans last year when he joined Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint and began experiencing stardom. His official solo debut is still a work in progress, but he’s managed to keep his momentum with a number of high-profile guest verses and a well-received mixtape earlier this year. Pusha continues to keep us warm with Fear of God II: Let Us Pray, a retail mixtape/EP that may not be what Pusha’s fans have been waiting for, but still manages to be a decent hold-over until that true debut actually comes.
The new material added to the retail edition of Fear of God does live up to the standard set by the original version, making it worth a second look. Most notably, Tyler, the Creator lives a dream on “Trouble on My Mind,” joining Pusha on a Neptunes-produced collab that perfectly marries the emcees’ love of dark humor. Later, “Body Work” (with Juicy J, Meek Mill and French Montana) finds Pusha getting his Three 6 on over a hard Southern track, and standout “What Dreams Are Made Of” is exactly the high-grade variety of coke rap that we all expect.
“Amen” (with Kanye West and Young Jeezy) and “Everything that Glitters” are also thrown in the mix, and while both have been available elsewhere, they’re still something of a bonus since most of the rest of the EP is composed of the singles from Fear of God’s free version . That first version is a great pool to draw from and the tracks that were imported are among its best, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a good chance you’ve already heard them plenty of times. A well-assembled cash-grab, yes, but a cash-grab nonetheless.
It’s isn’t exactly a new album or even an entirely new mixtape, but taken at face value, Fear of God II is a solid collection of tracks. There are definitely still plenty of people out there who don’t spend all day online looking for music, and those people should be very happy with what they find on this EP. Unfortunately, the fans who are the most anxious for new music from Pusha T are the ones who’ll be the least excited by the release since they’ve almost certainly heard this all before. The good news, however, is that if these songs are any indication, Pusha T’s actual album should live up to the standard that’s been set by his past work. Cold comfort, perhaps, but still better than nothing.