Pusha T, once rap's most sharp-eyed cocaine dealer, didn't get chubby and move to Miami. Instead, he shed brother Malice and migrated to G.O.O.D. Music, where he's mostly turned his gift for vivid illustration toward the trappings of luxury. But new track "Nosetalgia" is as advertised.
Over a simmering beat similar to his own "Numbers on the Boards," Pusha returns to his old Clipse character, spitting meticulous details about cocaine sales: "Gemstar razor and a dinner plate / Arm & Hammer and a mason jar, that's my dinner date / Then crack the window in the kitchen let it ventilate / Cuz I let it sizzle on the stove like a minute steak."
Kendrick Lamar follows that verse by yanking the rug out from under the track: He raps as the product of two drug addicted parents who grows up to be a dealer himself. The Clipse were able to get away with rapping as unrepentant drug dealers because they were openly cognizant of the unseemly underside of their business, of how sifting through their trash revealed a mess of maggots and worms. But never was that perspective as vivid as Kendrick renders it here — his verse alone justifies Pusha T slipping on his old uniform.