DAR Hip Hop: Pusha T's My Name Is My Name

By @_n8te

1. King Push 
2. Numbers On the Boards 
3. Sweet Serenade
4. Hold On 
5. Suicide 
6. 40 Acres 
7. No Regrets
8. Let Me Love You
9. Who I Am 
10. Nosetalgia 
11. Pain 
12. S.N.I.T.C.H.

2013 was an average year at best in hip hop. Cole, Kanye, Chance, and Drake are our cream of the crop artists that dropped projects. I enjoyed Yeezus and have it as my gym playlist because of the brash production and arrogance of Kanye that divided his base. I believe that Nothing Was The Same is Drake’s best work yet due to its pendulum-swinging tracklist that portrays Drake’s inner soul. Cole’s project is okay, but it feels as if it was a blip in this year. In comes Pusha T, who had three mixtape projects prior to his studio debut to find his pathway. 3 years later, I believe he found it and has stuck to it. Also, from what I know, Pusha T could have another potential fantastic project that’s coming up this year, King Push.

"My Name Is My Name” was inspired from a movie that perfectly describes the album. “The Devil's Advocate” is the movie that nudged Pusha T to take this path. Both the movie and album are dark and aesthetically pleasing to the human senses. The production on this album feels stirring and it compliments Pusha’s tame vocals, but mind-boggling lyricism. His lyricism on this album focuses on his dope-dealing days, the rap throne, and his personal mistakes in life (essentially the usual). His wordplay resembles that of a CEO Tower for a major label. It’s deep, complex, and seems very sneaky at times just off one listen. This album had potential to be a top three album on the year. Does it deliver? Let’s find out.

If you wanted to actually start off an haunting album, “King Push” is the track you start it off with. This is a great song on both aspects. The production involves a Yeezus' “New Slaves” sample that is elongated and layered on top of the boom-bap beat. Lyrically, Pusha T feels that this is his time to create that monumental shift in the rap game. He calmly asserts:

"This is my time, this is my hour/
This is my pain, this is my name, this is my power/”

It only gets better as the song progresses. Normally artists love to compare themselves to Jay-Z on the musical aspect of his life. Here, we have Pusha T comparing himself to Jay-Z, but on the drugs aspect of both careers.

“Best D-Boy, All I’m missing is a Dash/ 
Difference between me and Hova”

A witty line by Pusha, as it could fly over your head. He believes that he’s the best at what he does and belongs up on that list amongst Jay-Z and other greats.

“Numbers On The Board” settles down after a great opener. Lyrically, I absolutely loved the line he mentioned about there is one God and King and that only one can stand on his mound. It’s dope, and sonically, the track delivers. I love the Jay-Z reference at the halfway mark of the song. Production wise, we have a loop of monotonous bass with abstract tones that is solid overall.

“Sweet Serenade” is our third track on the album and it’s a bit underwhelming at times. First off, the chorus is hazy and it does not sound like Chris Brown really. I personally don’t like how the chorus is written and executed. Pusha T continues to do him and that’s pushing the envelope with eye-opening lines. Pusha took a while to get into the first verse, but then reloads and fires with this in the second verse:

"Supreme ballers, all my niggas got ESPY’s/
Triple doubles, both wrist and neck freeze/
Triple doubles, two bricks and tech squeeze/
Triple doubles, two hoes and check please/"

"Look my ouija board don’t never lie to me/ 
The best rapper living, I know who’s alive to me/ 
Yeah the competition is all but dead to me/” 

Dope lyrics, rhyme scheme, and flow that he brings on this track. It’s just that chorus that bothers me. “Hold On” actually made me hold on because this is another track that is a bit underwhelming. The beat is borderline dark with a hint of brightness, so I’ll let it slide. Rick Ross and Pusha T drop introspective lyricism about their drug lives and we see vulnerability from the two (or just one) former drug dealers. It takes a lot for them to swallow the pill of pride and deliver their experiences via solid lyricism. I personally am not a fan of Rick Ross, but his verse flows with the track. Ross speaks out on his passion and drive when he was younger, and he’s grateful for all that he’s accomplished and owes that to his close ones out there. I didn’t mind Kanye’s autotune ad-lib in the beginning, but at the end of the track it’s atrocious.

“Suicide” has a beat that is insane and so is the second verse of this track. Push reassures all these critics that he isn’t a newcomer to the rap game. The track’s production has this head-bopping vibe with 808 tones. Here, he drops my favorite bars of this project. It’s raw and Pusha provides a learning lesson here for the youth.

"Young niggas cliquing up with my rivals/
Like the bible don’t burn like these bullets don’t spiral/
Like I can’t see the scene that your mirror in your idol/
But a pawn’s only purpose is completely suicidial/"

It’s interesting how the youth support Pusha’s rivals in the rap game or street life, but are supposed to be on his side. Up and coming artists may not like him, but act as if they fuck with him. These “bullets" will fly if you can’t pick a side and burn your body like a bible on fire. That could just be on a lyrical aspect in Pusha T’s tracks or in real life. But then again, the newcomers are just “pawns” on a chessboard. Pawns are “suicidal” because you use them on a chessboard to attract bigger pieces like a king, queen, or bishop. You have to be a responsible person and make sure you don’t give up your small pieces easily and make sure you’re responsible of your life. Perfect execution by Push.

“40 Acres” slows it down with a feature from The Dream. It’s a drug-centered song focused on the life of King Push himself. He starts each verse out with “unpolished, unapologetic” because he knows he didn’t take the ideal path to success. He feels that he’s not the ideal role model because of his days of pushing. Unapologetic because he needed to survive and that’s his hustle. Dream’s hook describes the painful experience of Pusha T converting into this drug lifestyle. The overall track and the storytelling elements here are hands down dope. Definitely an underrated track.

“No Regrets” feels as if it was an anthem but didn’t hit the radio. Jeezy on the hook was excellent. I’m not a big fan of the beat in this track, but I’ll manage. Both artists lyrically discuss the same theme as the last track and that they don’t regret what they have done to get to the top. It’s a good song and depending on who you talk to, it could be one of the more significant songs on the album. “Let Me Love You” continues with Kelly Rowland’s solid chorus, but average bars for Pusha T. It makes sense that the last three tracks are stacked as it’s a little shift away from the introduction. I’m not a fan of the song personally, but it’s alright/mediocre. I just don’t see Pusha in this pathway. “Who I Am” features Big Sean and 2 Chainz. I don’t know why this is on this album because this is a terrible track. It’s bland and each verse is lyrically predictable as each rapper talks about their lifestyle. NEXT.

“Nosetalgia” is my favorite song on this joint. Push continues what he’s been doing in the first half of the album. I loved the Johnson and Johnson and that he’s a baby-faced monster line. The beat on this joint is the best background beat on the whole album in my opinion. I love how this track lays out with the first half discussing the drug mogul life of Pusha T talking about cocaine and his antics when he was involved in that lifestyle. The second half of the song involves Pusha T pushing the mic to Kendrick and man does Kendrick deliver. The Compton rapper continues off with grimy vocals and layers of double-entendres that makes his verse entertaining and this lyrical sequence he spits caps it off.

"Drop some ice cubes in it, Deebo on the perimeter
He said “son, how come you think you be my connect/
Said pops, your ass is washed up with all due respect/
He said well nigga, then show me how it all makes sense/
Go figure, motherfucker, every verse is a brick/"

“Pain” focuses on the title and Pusha T interprets his meaning of it compared to Future on the chorus. The “New God Flow” sample from Cruel Summer is notable. The beat is infectious on this track and I have to give it to No I.D. and Kanye West. Pusha continues with brilliant references such as his ability to push like Hines Ward, former Steelers wide receiver. Also, the triple entendre shines through:

“Pain is joy when it cries/ 
It’s my smile in disguise/"

Completely goes over your head until it clicks with the rest of the song. Push means that you can cry tears of joy or pain, He smiles when he’s actually in pain, and he cries tears of joy when the people he hates suffer in life. “S.N.I.T.C.H” is my second favorite track on this album. It’s overlooked in the album, but it is always dope to see Pharrell and Pusha T on a track. The chorus is genius because the first line by Pharrell is actually the meaning of the acronym. Pusha T expresses his hate for snitches throughout all the verses. He has dislike for the “brother” that ratted him out, because that was someone close to him. A bitter Pusha T describes how he thought the friends that were there for him since the beginning that you call family are the ones that snitch him out. It’s clear that Pusha hates snitches, and if you’re go for him, watch out. The production is minimalistic so there’s nothing to nitpick at. It’s a great song and wraps up this album.

“My Name Is My Name” was a great debut when it released. It’s considered his best work critically to critics and fans. Overall, the production is minimalistic and I think that’s what Pusha T thrives with. The beats are excellent like in Nosetalgia, Suicide, and Numbers on the Board. Lyrically, this is the way that Pusha must lyrically deliver to be considered a great artist, and he does that on this album. Dense yet clever wordplay, intriguing lyricism at times, and with a ton of features, you’d think this album pushes for a mainstream vibe. Wrong. There are a couple of tracks that falter like “Let Me Love You” and “Who I Am”, but otherwise this is solid. You could say Push takes his foot off the pedal at times as the momentum of the album feels like it’s running in place. This album is really good however, and was a contender for “Album of the Year” in some eyes. I’d think it would be in the running for it definitely, but in reflection, I think it wasn’t the best. This got me more into Pusha T and I’m excited for King Push to drop later this year as we continue the carousel of hip hop in 2016.

Rating: 7.5/10



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