“Pusha T is the sharp-witted wordsmith painting pictures of his nightmarish recollections of his past and he does so in a raw, unapologetic, uncompromising manner.”
As the name suggests, “3ToSee” are my reviews of three albums released in the last 12 months that I personally enjoy, but that might not have reached your ears due to a lack of mainstream attention that I feel they probably deserved.
My Name Is My Name, released in October 2013, was the long-awaited, highly anticipated debut solo album of veteran rapper Pusha T, even being included on multiple “Most Anticipated Albums of 2013” lists including eighth by Complex Magazine and ninth by XXL Magazine. It is important to note that Pusha T has been rapping since the 90’s as one half of rap duo Clipse, with his brother with a repertoire of three albums over sixteen years. But since going solo, after a series of mixtapes and guest verses, his commercial success has never been as strong as his critical acclaim.
Pusha T is arguably at the top of his game with sharply defined autobiographical tales and defiant, self-aware verses, while sonically, the album was one of the year’s more ambitious efforts with Kanye West, Pharrell, and others providing both power and pop smarts. The beats are rough and simple, coated with a film of luxury with additional features from the likes of Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar and Rick Ross among others
The 12-track album opens up with the anthem “King Push,” a song fit for rap royalty. This sets the tone for the rest of the album to follow. Pusha T is quick to claim his seat on the throne of both the rap and dope game with lines such as “This is my time, this is my hour, this is my pain, this is my name, this is my power.”
Later in the album he even goes as far as to suggest that he deserves to be in the discussion of the top top rappers. “The best rapper living, I know who’s alive to me. The competition’s all but died to me” highlighting his self belief and confidence in both his debut solo offering and his rapping ability in general.
Despite a number of great moments, My Name Is My Name is not perfect, and falls down in tracks more obviously created to try and gain more mainstream listeners. For example, in “40 Acres” ft The-Dream, Pusha’s social commentary is good, but the combination of the slow tempo, sparse keys and pulsating synths is not as good as his match up with The-Dream on songs such as “Dope Chick” and “Exodus 23:1.” Also, R&B infused track “Let Me Love You” ft Kelly Rowland is reminiscent of the late 90’s/early 2000’s and while a good song, does not follow the mood set by the rest of the album
Pusha T paints a vivid picture of the things he knows best throughout My Name Is My Name. The trap sub-genre of hip hop is filled to the brim with aimless artists that aren’t trying to leave a mark or showcase skill. It’s simply a job and a paycheck. Among his contemporaries, Pusha T is the sharp-witted wordsmith painting pictures of his nightmarish recollections of his past and he does so in a raw, unapologetic, uncompromising manner.
Before its release, Pusha T declared My Name Is My Name as the album of the year and he had a good case. Kanye West handled much of the production and it shows with the dark yet lush beats which provide the perfect sound for Push’s own dark and twisted fantasy. Top producers such as Swizz Beatz, Hudson Mohawke, No I.D., Don Cannon, 88-Keys also contributed to the project. My Name Is My Name is arguably Pusha T’s most complete project yet, and as he treads the thin line that separates glorifying a life of crime from reflecting on it, it is fair to say that “36 years of doing dirt like it’s Earth Day” certainly paid off for Pusha T.
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