It's rare when a Monday can feel like a Friday, but here we are, as G.O.O.D. Friday came early this week thanks to a fresh cut off of the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music group album. "New God Flow" is the offering from on high, a combustible mixture of two rappers — Pusha-T, né "From the Clipse" and Kanye West, who also produces the record — who both seem to be hitting their stride. This is straight-up arena music, featuring a simple, catchy piano piece that gets forced off the track by a blaring drum that kicks down the door and refuses to leave the party. It's aptly paired with Yeezy putting out a roll call custom built to have 17,000 scream it back at him (you can even hear him 'fake' the lesser volume in the repeat verse — it's kind of adorable).
The song is packed with the kind of bravado that a song called "New God Flow" needs to exist, as Pusha opens with "I believe there's a God above me / I'm just the god of everything else." He continues to boast as only Pusha can, creating an easy through line from dope slinging to Tupac's hologram to forming his own narrative, that he's what would have happened if Diddy had Shyne with him in '99. It's not hard to notice that there's nothing Pusha can't do well (even doing a bit of Back to the Future Part: II editing). But what sticks out the most is the ferocity in his voice, dropped a bit lower in the register into an almost sinister space, coiling around his words like a snake about to strike. Then, he comes back to the voice he's used for the last decade plus for stunners like "I wouldn't piss on that nigga with Grand Marnier." Ah, there's the Pusha we all know and love.
This verbal change is echoed by Kanye, who plays the call-and-respond at the end of his verse raw and rugged. He's a man whose passion is so great his voice might just give way like the Big Dig. Focusing on the verbal contribution to the overall sound has been a preoccupation of Kanye's as of late. Mixing in with a larger trend on using organic instruments on his tracks, Ye put a bigger emphasis on weaving in the most organic of instruments: the voice. The thought came to him while listening to the fuzzy and emotive vocals on 1970s rock. While this doesn't allow for everything said to be clear and understood, it adds a hint of mystery in there, or an emotion that's indelible in the delivery that you could never achieve merely through saying the words.
This kind of care makes all the difference. It's the extra bit of bug-eyed craziness that elevates "Monster" from a possible Gravediggaz-like campiness and into a genuinely ferocious tune. Hell, Nicki Minaj has made a career off of it, wildly fluctuating her delivery into a cavalcade of characters and batshit inflections. When you listen to Kanye's verse in "No Church In The Wild,” you picture it slowly pushing out of his sweaty face, as you make contact with his exceedingly bloodshot eyes. Funny that this focus seemed to begin on "Death of Auto-Tune," when Jay practically pleads with the audience to let the gimmick drop, just as he slowly dribbles out "moment of silence." Funny how the instrument-turned-star maker, AutoTune, who turned every unique voice into a robot programmed into the Billboard 200 has opened the door to so much experimentation.
This makes for only the second good thing to come out of the AutoTune era. The first, of course, being this:
Rated: NSFW (language, an excess of awesomeness)
Image (and the original, multiply-played leak) courtesy of Beats Per Minute