ALBUM REVIEW: Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

My Name Is My Name artwork
My Name Is My Name artwork

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 11.36.33 AM

ARTIST Pusha T

ALBUM My Name Is My Name

LABEL GOOD Music / Def Jam

RELEASE DATE 8 October 2013

8.3 | 10

You have to admire Pusha T’s patience and persistence. He made a name for himself as member of Clipse, and became one of Kanye West’s favorite rappers, leading to a feature on West’s stunning 2010 single “Runaway” off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Ever since, we’ve been eagerly awaiting a proper solo debut from Pusha T. With the recently released My Name Is My Name, Pusha T’s resilience pays off immensely. The album is a surprisingly fluid and concise affair. Pusha T has been waiting for his moment in the spotlight, and My Name Is My Name finds the rapper taking complete ownership of his leading role.

“Numbers On The Board” was the first track released from the album, in early 2013. The song perfectly captures Pusha’s mentality throughout the album; he might not be on the court for the whole 48, but he’s going to put numbers on the board whenever he is in the game. “Board” follows the opening “King Push,” which while not the brainchild of Joaquin Phoenix, is an excellent cut nonetheless. I’m also not entirely sure the fact that the song was produced by (Metallica drummer) Lars Ulrich’s son is any less weird than if Joaquin was the song’s producer. Ultimately the best thing about each of the two opening tracks is how definitively they shape Pusha T’s aesthetic. So when the remaining ten songs all carry features along with them, it doesn’t sound at all like a panic move on the part of a record label to get (arguably) bigger names on the album to wallpaper all deficiencies. Instead, the featured players, including Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Ab-Liva, The-Dream, Jeezy, Kevin Cossom, Kelly Rowland, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and Pharrell, are all guests following their host’s lead.

My Name Is My Name deserves acclaim solely for Pusha T making Chris Brown tolerable again, as “Sweet Serenade” is aided by Brown’s (largely unjustifiable) swagger, albeit turned down several notches. 2 Chainz and Big Sean are quickly becoming hip-hop’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and provide wonderful entertainment on “Who I Am,” which is full of audible Dutch angles, with the only certain thing being how unexpected the whole thing is. “I just wanna sell dope forever / I just wanna be who I am,” Pusha T raps on the cut. He’s just trying to make sure everything stays the same. The album’s only real detours occur on the longer cuts, which meander just enough to lose focus. The most notable misstep is “Hold On,” which never seems to find its footing during its 4:40 runtime.

“Nosetalgia” is arguably the best thing here, in large part due to Kendrick Lamar’s (predictably) incredible verse, but also due to the wonderful production, featuring a single electric guitar riff to piercing effect. The album ends on a remarkably high note, as Pusha T gets the most out of Future, who sings a memorable hook on “Pain,” and Pharrell, the man responsible for the year’s two biggest singles, shows up on album closer “S.N.I.T.C.H.” It’s excitingly upbeat without tarnishing Pusha T’s image. What could have been a major label clusterfuck is in actuality one of the year’s most vital hip-hop releases, up in that upper echelon with Acid Rap, Doris, Nothing Was The Same, Old, Run The Jewels, Stranger Than Fiction, and Yeezus. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Pusha T always comes through with the best product.

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4 thoughts on “ALBUM REVIEW: Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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