reviews

Published on October 8th, 2013 | by Boman12l

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Pusha T My Name is My Name Review

Pusha T, after building a critically loved musical legacy in the Clispe with his brother but fell victim to label politics that that stagnated any real chance for major commercial success, was left to find his own path once Malice took a sabbatical. Instead of kicking back and feeding off endless questions of a possible reunion, Pusha joined Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music and after superb features on Kanye’s GOOD Friday series and My Beautiful Dark twisted Fantasy album, it appeared infinite possibilities were ahead of him. But in the time since, his related solo work has been barred with inconsistencies. Pusha has shown moments of greatness but struggled to release a collective project that could capitalize on that potential or compare qualitatively to his earlier work. With two mixtapes and a retail album length EP, Pusha has spent the last three years trying to accommodate to what it means to be a major player in mainstream Hip-Hop.

It’s easy to see how Pusha T could draw parallels between himself and Marlo Stanfield from HBO’s The Wire (TV’s previous “Greatness Show Ever” until Breaking Bad ended.) My Name is My Name gets its title from one of Marlo’s more memorable scenes. It was all about the power and respect one’s own reputation can bring. One only has to look at the album’s UPC and barcode cover to understand that Pusha is trying to evoke a similar commanding effect, believing many will buy the album by the strength of his name alone. Marlo was a relatively unknown drug dealer who quickly rose to power becoming a major player in Baltimore’s drug economy. Marlo was unpredictable and uncompromisingly violent, doing anything, no matter how brash, to cease power. But Pusha, unlike Marlo, is not the young hungry upstart  taking big gambles on power moves anymore. In truth, Pusha T has more in common with Stringer Bell( another Wire character), a seasoned vet who survived a market/economy that eliminated many of his rivals before they had a chance to even think about real success. Bell, having made it to the top of his field, tries to uphold the legacy he and his partner Alvon built, while trying to expand into more lucrative business outside of selling drugs.

Pusha – a decade plus in the music industry – has reached the pinnacle of “drug rap” and has been looking for new ways to sell his product. Paring with Kanye has brought Pusha into stabilities among the rap elite with wide spread recognition. My Name is My Name is an album that refines the elements that have defined Pusha these last few years and for the first time taps into that intensity he showed on tracks like “Runway,” “Exodus 23:1” and “New God Flow,” but still suffers from slight inconsistencies that prevent it from being a definitive elite level album. Pusha’s previous projects have been amalgamations of trends in Hip-Hop paired with his signature wit, bravado and drug slinging tales. While that necessarily is not a bad thing, as Pusha has been enjoyable to listen too, it does make for a frustrating experience at times. Pusha T is at his best when paired with sparse production that plays around with different percussion.  This is where MNIMN excels, as this album, more than any of his previous solo projects, sticks to this aesthetic closely and creates a distinctive identity, but like his previous solo work, at times will abandon that identity for more general radio trends.

MNIMN is pure genre fiction. Basically Push T is the Tom Clancy of “Coke Rap.” What you will find here are rhymes about selling drugs, getting drugs and selling more drugs. In between hit men will get called up and snitches will get locked up. It is all made more immersive by Pusha, who has an eye for detail. His word choice and lyrical structure are so deliberate and calculated he captures listeners instantly. His flows are as menacing as they are smooth at times. Even now, months later, “Numbers on the Boards,” the album’s first single, makes for an early standout with its electric hum and distorted percussion paired with Pusha’s uncut fishscale lyricism. It’s fast, intense and makes no compromises in its jarring nature. “Suicide” featuring long time Clipse affiliate Ad-Liva features a bouncy electric pop provide by Pharrell. Push and Liva connect over tales of drug running, luxury items and hit squads.  “Nosetalgia” has Push and Kendrick Lamar snarling over single guitar cord and hollow percussion. Pusha’s selling the drugs and they are wrecking Kendrick’s family. It’s a testament to Pusha’s and executive producer Kanye’s sharp direction throughout the album, as they got producers 88-Keys, Don Conon, No ID, Nottz, The Twilite Tone and Pharrell on same page. Pusha and crew worked closely to create an album where tracks are individuals but are clearly meant to be part of a larger set. Where the album falls short is when Push works against the aesthetic he created for the album.

Tracks “40 Acres” and “No Regrets” sound and feel as if they were created in a vacuum far removed from everything else on the album. While Pusha could be applauded for switching it up on “40 Acres” he does it on some run of the mill Dream production. The same can be said for the Jeezy (sans the “Young”) “No Regrets”  an overproduced track which features a YOLO-esque hook and that is making no effort to hide fact that it is trying to a feel good radio jam in the middle of an album all about coke slinging. These tracks happen back to back in the middle of the album and kill much of its momentum in the worst possible way. Even the Kelly Rolland assisted “Let Me Love You” and the Chris Brown “Sweet Serenade ”fairs better as they sonically fits with the rest of the album and continues Pusha’s “I don’t do hooks” manifesto.

Pusha T still commands respect. My Name is My Name is the album many expected him to deliver sooner rather than later. Given those previous releases were not really “canon,” Pusha T’s My Name is My Name is a fine  “Major Label Studio Full length debut” (or how ever one would like to spin it.)While Pusha T’s name still means something, however, he is far from that brash unpredictable upstart his album’s title is tide too. Pusha T is a season vet who is making calculated moves to ensure his longevity. If there was any doubt about Pusha T place, My Name is My Name serves as a damn fine reminder.

Pusha T – “Numbers on The Boards”

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About the Author

Is Co-founder and Managing editor at RapconQueso.com. When he is not trying to relate everything to Wu-Tang, you can find him on twitter (@boman12l ) trying to relate everything to Wu-Tang. Hit him up at d.brown@rapconqueso.com



  • WholenotherLevel

    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 be 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 different 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; “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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