By Michael Androutsos
“This the heart of the muthafuckin city. Act like y’all ain’t have the muthafuckin Clipse album. Act like y’all ain’t based your whole shit your whole lifestyle off this nigga Pusha T. Everything is Pusha T. Pyrex vision, that’s Pusha T. Fear of God, that’s Pusha T. This nigga the heart of the muthafuckin culture, for the culture vultures.”
Those are the words of the infamous Kanye West, who is Pusha T’s label owner and friend, at the official listening party to Pusha’s debut album My Name Is My Name, and truthfully I have no problem agreeing with Mr West on this one. Pusha has an overwhelming sense of control with everything he does — it is no different on this tape.
Since the Clipse became dormant and Pusha continuously appeared as a feature on GOOD Music records whilst Malice found God and became No Malice, I have been waiting for this moment. This album is one of those pieces of work that you fiend for as soon as you hear about it, in fact I placed a Pusha T solo album up there on my wish list alongside an Andre 3000 solo album, that’s how much this album means to me and whilst Pusha is not a lyricist, nor an icon like Jay-Z, it is incredible how from the moment you press play on the Clipse albums you fall in love with his almost anti-charisma like, cold flows.
The tape starts off with the Kanye produced track King Push, and from go, you get the message. “Cos I’m King Push, this King Push, I rap niggas bout trap niggas I don’t sing hooks” is one of the most authoritative sentences I have heard in a song. That is one of the reoccurring themes throughout the album, every song is authoritative, every song makes you believe; in every song you think you are listening to the King even when he is doubting himself.
Next we have my personal favourite Numbers on the Boards, and as soon as that bass line hits, you find your head nodding addictively. It is one of those songs that make you feel like you are the shit; no matter when or where you listen to it. Those indescribable sounds that take the place of what would be a usual snare are a testament to the brilliance that this album attempted to harness but can only put a finger on. To use a football reference, Lionel Messi is the benchmark on brilliance and this album is Cristiano Ronaldo, who is no doubt an incredible talent but can never quite reach the levels of Lionel Messi.
Features are aplenty on this tape and Pusha has utilised each one brilliantly. All the way from a dark and addictive Chris Brown hook to a typical ignorant 2 Chainz verse, none of the features take anything away from their respective songs. Even Rick Ross seems sentimental on Hold On, and this is from a dude who rapped about spiking a chick’s drink, taking her home and “enjoying that.” This brings me to my favourite feature on the tape and no prizes for guessing who it is… Kendrick Lamar. I have been a Kendrick fan for several years now and the dude continues to put bars on bars on bars. It is insane how he has so many different flows and voices in his locker and the way he compliments Pusha on Nosetalgia is perfect.
As well as authority, the other reoccurring theme of the tape is selling dope. If you know the Clipse’s music and if you know who Pusha T is then this is expected but it is one of the tracks where he takes a break from this topic that interested me. The Kelly Rowland assisted Let Me Love You, has Pusha T sounding like a Fabulous/Ma$e hybrid and this song wouldn’t be out-of-place in the charts of the early 2000s. I have a feeling the radio might eat it up. It is the complete opposite of the dark and emotional 40 Acres, which has The Dream singing “I’d rather die, then go home”, yet I enjoyed them both and neither seems out of place on this album.
All in all, from the production to the features to the fact that there is now finally a Pusha T solo album, I was left satisfied and the only complaint I could have is that there are only 12 tracks and whilst it isn’t a bad tape in any way or form, I still had higher hopes for a Pusha album and hopefully in his next one he finally reaches the levels he set for himself. With that being said, if you had the Clipse albums or if you are a fan of the culture then you absolutely need to check this one out.