At some point this year, Pusha T will drop his solo set, My Name Is My Name. In the meantime we get a new mixtape entitled, Wrath Of Caine. Unlike its predecessor, Fear Of God II: Let Us Pray, there’s no $9.99 price tag to offset A-list features from Tyler, the Creator, 50 Cent and Diddy. In turn, concept-driven tracks like “Raid” and “Alone In Vegas” are swapped out for offerings like “Doesn’t Matter,” which showcases French Montana on Auto-tune.

We’ve heard him over the best soundscapes The Neptunes and Kanye West had to offer. So it’s interesting that aside from West, who co-produces “Millions,” Jake One and !llmind, most of Wrath Of Caine’s production is handled by relative newcomers. Pusha waves off blogosphere rappers saying, “You laptop hot / Internet warm / Down low for download don’t get caught in my storm / Fuck nigga you just Internet porn” on “Millions.” The irony here is that Young Chop of “I Don’t Like” fame, ascended from “laptop hot” to being squarely in Pusha’s crosshairs, only for the two to reconcile and work together on “Blocka.”

Pusha is essentially on cruise control for the duration of his freebie prelude to My Name Is My Name. He’s more than held his own next to Kanye West and others, so there’s no need for him to bring his best work out for a collection of songs that don’t have a barcode on them. The guest list here finds the younger Thornton brother with few lyrical peers. He trades bars with Rick Ross (“Millions”), Wale (“Only You Can Tell It”) and Ab-Liva (“Re-Up Gang Motivation”). But compared to Pusha, most of the project’s featured emcees are either the direct descendants of the Clipse’s introspective trapping on wax or the audio equivalent to a chubby, busted homegirl along for the ride on a group date. He only looks better next to them.

None of this is to say that Wrath of Caine isn’t worth the five minutes it should take to download and play or stream it on the device of your choice. Even when most of his focus is likely on his upcoming Def Jam long player, Pusha T can show off, be humble, recount his rock chopping days and actually rap with the best of them. And in a bleak, boring first quarter, that’s more than a lot of people are offering.


DX Consensus: “EP Worthy”

Listen to Wrath Of Caine by Pusha T.