Pusha T has enjoyed a recent career renaissance to be sure. As 1/2 of the Clipse he has dropped three albums and long been considered one of the tightest lyricists and one of the true 'coke' or 'trap' rappers. Since signing a solo deal with GOOD music, Push has been on many features and his popularity has soared. His last album wasn't bad but more of a rehash of the mixtape that preceded it. However, expectations have been raised. Can Pusha deliver on his new album, "My Name is My Name".
The album starts with "King Push" a video for which was just recently released and it is more of the serious dope rhymes Pusha has laced us with over the last 15 years. He manages to match the beat with the right mix of intensity and sharp witted bars that aren't the usual obvious metaphors and similes as he tells you on the chorus that "he doesn't sing hooks'. That is followed up by "Numbers on the Boards", the song he was so excited about that the video of him screaming to get it released made the rounds on the internet. The beat reminds me slightly of 'grinding' because it has some weird sounds in it that throw me off repeatedly. Chris Brown handles the chorus on "Sweet Serenade" where Pusha goes to describe his drug lifestyle again before leading into a hook by saying "Gun Shots in the Dark are like a sweet Serenade".
"40 Acres" featuring The Dream is another collaboration that brings the singer into the street realm slightly where Push spits his unapologetic coke bars and the first verse is especially poignant. The track on "Suicide" reminds me of something from a late 90's underground mix tape and it's a decent song and even the best gets coaxed out of Ab Liva whom is generally a disappointment to me. "Hold on" with Rick Ross is a good example of how two guys who are so similar in topic are different in style but the annoying auto-tune from Kanye (yeah I hear you in the background) undercuts the entire thing and is slightly irritating.
Now "No Regrets" seems like the oddest song to feature Young Jeezy along with Kevin Cossum on a song that seems like it's more suited for Ace Hood or Drake than Push who slows his flow down. Jeezy's verse is cool but this song just seems odd. Meanwhile, the lone 'chick track' "Let Me Love" with Kelly Rowland is weird because Pusha channels his inner Mase/Loon and the beat is different but it works. However, I know people will like the 2 Chainz and Big Sean featured "Who I Am" but Pusha doesn't really spit on it and my detest for Big Sean runs strong.
"Nostalgia" with Kendrick Lamar is more of the typical what we expect from both rappers as Pusha gets descriptive about how he hustled starting out. Something about the beat makes this even more visual, Kendrick on the other hand relates the drug game to rap bars and while his verse isn't sensational, manages to bring it home with the energy and emotion he dredges up near the end. "Pain" would be straight without the presence of Future mangling the hook. The album ends with the Pharrell feature "S.N.I.T.C.H." and reminds me of some real Clipse music as Pusha talks about coming to the realization a friend in prison is looking for information so he can drop dimes and come home.
Pusha has so much potential at times it feels squandered. Songs like Snitch and King Push are borderline great for trap rap but they fall by the wayside due to bad sequencing, yes that matters. See Snitch should be near the middle of the album, not ending it. It's a song like that which is a strong concept I would have liked to see more of. We know Push can talk about moving blow like no other and sometimes the redundancy can feel tiresome even though coming in I knew it would happen. Then there are too many features and the Kelly Rowland song ends up feeling out of place. I really enjoy about 5 or 6 of the twelve songs and really dislike 2 of them. The others kind of blend in and that's slightly disappointing because this is Pusha's time.