You can stream the entirety of My Name Is My Name here.
My Name is My Name can best be summarised by a sample, midway through ‘Numbers on the Board’ – a short burst of Jay-Z’s ‘Intro: A Million and One Questions/Rhyme No More‘ drops “motherfuckers can’t rhyme no more, ‘bout crime no more”. Pusha T is calling out the fakers and his debut solo album proves he is as real as he claims, as well as being a skilled rapper to add to his underground credentials.
‘King Push’ opens proceedings, after rumours it was produced by Joaquin Phoenix turned out to be false, the truth proved even more baffling. It was given to Kanye West by Phoenix, but was made by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich’s stepson. It’s a decent song and a good beat but pales in comparison to the incredible ‘Numbers on the Board’. Sinister, sparse beats produced by Kanye and Don Cannon are decorated with solid gold intelligent rhymes. Not a line is wasted and the benchmark is set high from early on.
From the second track on, each song has at least one feature spot. It’s not unusual in hip hop but with Kanye and Drake toning down the features with their acclaimed releases, one might think an artist with the ability of Pusha T would want more of the limelight, especially considering that at 36 he isn’t exactly inexperienced. Chris Brown and Rick Ross’ features hinder a focused and coherent flow, whilst later in the album Kelly Rowland is miles out of place and Big Sean is weak. 2 Chainz is, well, 2 Chainz.
‘Suicide’ brings back the dark and spacious beats which is Pusha’s winning formula but the pacing problem returns with ‘40 Acres’. The styles are jarring as concurrent tracks and ‘40 Acres’ itself seems like two separate songs – The Dream’s chorus and Pusha’s verse are too different. Things switch direction again on ‘No Regrets’, a huge instrumental from Hudson Mohawke and former BMF member Young Jeezy on the guest verse work pretty well but doesn’t sit right on what was supposed to be, according to Pusha T, a ‘dark’ and ‘cinematic’ album, like the movie The Devil’s Advocate.
Kendrick Lamar always turns heads and thankfully he is used perfectly on the brilliant ‘Nosetalgia’ a coke dealing reminiscence. This track is the distillation of the whole album, where it hits its stride and finds identity. Kendrick shows a sinister side that he has ramped up since his ‘Control’ verse.
An album named after a quote from The Wire had high artistic standards to match and despite pacing problems and one too many guest spots, Pusha T’s debut is a brilliant solo album. Twelve solid tracks, a clutch of songs that are destined for end of year lists and probably the best beats of the year make for a very good release. If you’re going to be one dimensional you have to be good at it. Pusha T is be the best one dimensional rapper in a long time.By Joni Roome