Pusha T has been proclaiming his omnipotence for years, screaming from the valley at rappers atop mountains telling anyone who would listen, that he is the best. His moment of truth has arrived with his debut My Name Is My Name and it’s time to put up or shut up.
The album is compact with very little room for error and as you glance at the tracklisting, you notice that there are really only two solo songs. You would think that after a decade sharing the mic with the Re-Up Gang and his brother No Malice that Pusha would be dying to shine by himself. If the album was a Raekwonian ensemble piece whose guests boost that album to astounding heights then that would be one thing. But My Name Is My Name is a not lifted by its guests. In fact Pusha T is almost drowned.
Let’s start with the good. The intro, King Push comes complete with all pomp and bluster. The atmospherics and low 808 soft boom add to the aura of the song. The other solo offering, Numbers On The Boards, is as close as we will ever get to Pusha T rhyming over a RZA construction. There’s a running underpinning of soft distorted base bracketed by quirky atmospherics and sparse cheers. The Jiggaman sample in the middle of the track is a nice touch.
Chris Brown croons on the hook of Sweet Serenade with the pop of snare drums and thumps with a chanting chorus in the background. Not a bad track, but not something that will turn the tide of an album. Good for a video but not spectacular. Rick Ross drops the verse of the album on Hold On as he raps:
I seen children get slaughtered, niggas grandmothers assaulted
Throw a gang sign, dare you do something about it
Fuck copping them foams, when you coppin a home?
Cop a kilo and have them people on top of your home
The track features that residual 808 dithered wailing from Kanye atop mid key piano. The song serves as a note to hood loyalty and more of that romantic street shit that ceases to exist once a cat gets knocked, but it sounds real as fuck. Re-Up reunion occurs on the Ab-Liva assisted Suicide, a bouncy track that is cool, but misses No Malice and Sandman. Nosestalgia features a strong appearance by Kendrick Lamar with a cool Boyz In The Hood reference but we’ve heard this verse from Pusha T before. S.N.I.T.C.H. closes the album with a nifty performance from Pharrell Williams and some strong storytelling from Pusha, but Jay-Z did this song better 15 years ago with A Week Ago.
The wheels fall off immediately with the horrendous, The Dream “assisted” 40 Acres. The hook is softer than The Weeknd and ruins what could have been a solid track. Jeezy, a cliché hook and cliché’d production sandbag No Regrets. Kelly Rowland sings on one of those Kelly Rolland singing the hook on a rap song songs with Let Me Love. Close your eyes and tell me that this isn’t a Ma$e song. All that’s missing is a leather baseball jersey with a #2 on the back. Who I Am is an also-ran track featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean who steals the track. Future delivers a lazy hook that drains all the air from Pain. The simple rhyme scheme doesn’t help.
My Name Is My Name is underwhelming and so far away from that street hardcore you expect that you almost wonder why he even released it or touted it as loudly as he did. The production does not match the street driven bars. Maybe if they release the vocals we will hear what this album should have been. As is, it’s not that real dope.
Out of 5
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