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Pusha T – “My Name Is My Name” – ALBUM REVIEW

Pusha T “My Name Is My Name”

Pusha_T_My_Name_Is_My_Name

Before signing to Kanye’s “G.O.O.D. Music” label and subsequently appearing on some of Kanye’s best songs, Pusha T was best known as the cocaine-peddler-turned-rapper who dropped some incredible rhymes with his big brother Gene “Malice” Thornton in the duo Clipse. Although Clipse’s career didn’t exactly go out with a bang, they did release two of the greatest hip hop records of all time, “Lord Willin” and “Hell Hath No Fury,” which detailed the Thornton Brothers’ past as drug dealers in ways that didn’t feel repetitive. Seven years since “Hell Hath No Fury,” the Thornton brother that hip hop fans have wanted to hear more from and have not heard enough of is Pusha T. He’s brought some killer verses to a couple mixtapes and EPs as well as tracks on the “Cruel Summer” album and Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but it’s not until now that we have in our hands a proper debut album, which has been delayed enough times to qualify for “Detox”-level legend. Unlike “Detox,” though, “My Name Is My Name” is real and it’s pretty great.

With this album, Pusha T seems to be taking a few cues from Yeezy’s foray into minimalism. The album cover, music video for “King Push,” and some of the beats all exude a sense of absence. Even when they sound “big,” the beats take trap and minimalism and bring them to creative new depths. Some of these tracks even sound more suitable for MF DOOM or Danny Brown than they do for Pusha T, but almost every track works. Pusha definitely delivers his verses with incredible emotion and a flow that goes matched by very few artists. He even holds his own on a track that features Kendrick Lamar’s 2nd best verse of the year.

While Pusha performs flawlessly and the production is incredible, there are parts of this album that make me think Pusha should have put a little more thought into his highly anticipated debut album. When the track listing was first released, many hip hop listeners were worried that the numerous guest features would overshadow Pusha, or at least make this feel less like a Pusha T album and more like a lot of rappers and singers collaborating, but with mostly Pusha T verses. While Kendrick Lamar, The-Dream, Rick Ross, and Chris Brown—I’m just as surprised as you are—bring quite a bit of personality to their contributions, artists like Future, Kelly Rowland, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Jeezy, and a severely underutilized Kanye West (who sings through an autotuned microphone on “Hold On”) add next to nothing to the songs they are featured on. They aren’t distractingly terrible, but a lot of the verses are phoned in and are too mediocre to warrant being featured on an album of such high anticipation.

So “My Name Is My Name” may not be the ideal Pusha T debut album (I, for one, was hoping for a The Wire sample or two), but it’s still far better than it could’ve been. As Clipse fans have seen, Pusha T is capable of recording music that isn’t amazing, and thankfully “My Name Is My Name” is not total proof of that. In fact, some of these songs are not only some of the best tracks Pusha T has ever recorded, but they also have potential to be some of the best tracks of the year. Pusha T never ceases to find ways to make drug dealing sound interesting for 10 years, whether his past has been exaggerated or not. The beats are great, the verses are usually great, and if it weren’t for a handful overwhelmingly unnecessary contributions from outside forces, “My Name Is My Name” could be one of the best albums of the year. Unfortunately for Push, he was so close but so far. Maybe Clipse will come together for a new album that isn’t totally terrible, and maybe Pusha’s next album will rectify any of the wrongs and complaints associated with this album. Until then, though, we’ll all be trying to figure out how to spell his ad-lib. Yeugh? Yeeeauchgh? Yekcheuhch?

SCORE – 8.2

FAVORITE TRACKS – King Push, Numbers On The Boards, Sweet Serenade, Hold On, Suicide, Who I Am, Nosetalgia

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3 comments on “Pusha T – “My Name Is My Name” – ALBUM REVIEW

  1. Cell
    October 11, 2013

    Here’s the thing though. Typically I’m wary, when artist says things like I have album of year, but in this case, the statement is 100% true.

    This is just about as good as gets when modern hip hop production and the 90’s collide.

    EXCELLENT album.

    No joke, if you truly want to support hip hop you will pick this one up.

  2. Isomtricide
    October 11, 2013

    As far as I can tell the diversity of production takes us a musical trip through the past two decades from the prestige of a drug dealer all the way to Hip Hop hustler on the brink of Zeitgeist enlightenment. The production is pretty comprehensive and shows his appreciation of G.O.O.D., the 90′s as well as R&B.

    Its very much a trip through a few decades through the eyes of a drug dealer. And of course, the constant that ties it all together, testosterone fueled, yet some how well collected coke raps something of a signature for the artist.

    Lastly, to me what makes this a truly interesting listen is him drawing parallels from the gang banging lifestyle to being a hip hop mogul. The “Hustle” is still alive and well. One must look no further than SIMPLY the album artwork. The parallel being white albums to white kilos. The bar code indicates, hey this is just another day at work for Pusha T, whether is selling coke or albums, its much the same to him.

    To me it simply seems as these things were either entirely missed by you, or otherwise not appreciated, and its this, that helps the album to be above average.

  3. Massacred
    October 11, 2013

    Just Damn,

    In a year ladled with many major releases, Pusha T’s, My Name Is My Name some how manages to buck both trends and every other major release, to become one of best records released this year. In many ways it seems to be Yeezus done right, while the rest reaks of raw undiluted metaphors and lyrical skill. But where Yeezus and Magna Carta Holy Grail failed, My Name Is My Name gets it so right. Pusha T has undoubtedly cemented himself as a true quality driven artist with this LP.

    Every track feels carefully thought out and is mechanically sound, while all featured artists are utilized to their max potential, enhancing both the mood and style of the album. (Especially Kendrick Lamar on Nosetalgia) All of the beats are both creative, while still folding into the album nicely. Particular Standouts include those done by the Neptunes and Good Music.

    Pusha T is quite effective at painting a lifestyle turned bad to an artist hungry to reach the top of the game. While Yeezy, excellent production serves as a suitable backdrop. The differece between this and Yeezus, however is that Pusha T, truly retains the lyrical ability to back it up.It is difficult not to reap this album enormous praise, when it so perfectly delivers on exactly what was promised.

    The album manages to string together so many elements beloved from Hip-Hop, from minimalist 90’s beat to theatrical good music production, R&B hooks that came out of the 90’s, witty sharp lyricism, as well as an aptitude for clever story telling. And of course, the constant that ties it all together, testosterone fuelled, yet some how well collected coke raps something of a signature for the artist.

    Perhaps the only real “issue” with this LP are the questionable additions of MC’s; “Big Sean” and “2 Chainz” neither of which can even come close to holding their own lyrically with Pusha. Both of there versus feel unintentionally awkward and funny on and all but introspective and fascinating album.

    Yet, neither of them are truly enough to detract from the album as a whole.

    Surely, a classic in the making.

    A well deserved, 4.5 out of 5.

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This entry was posted on October 10, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , .
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