Haiku Reviews: Pusha T’s “My Name is My Name”

Slava P’s name is Slava P. Coltrane. Pusha T’s name is his name. This seems like a trivial thing for a 36 year old man who has been in the rap industry for over a decade to proclaim, but...
By    October 10, 2013

Slava P’s name is Slava P. Coltrane.

Pusha T’s name is his name. This seems like a trivial thing for a 36 year old man who has been in the rap industry for over a decade to proclaim, but here we are. For the entirety of his career, Pusha has never been an island. He made a name for himself rapping along with his brother and now, after going solo, he’s relied on Kanye West to elevate his success and remind the general audience of his rap fortitude. This is probably due to the fact that Terrence is more focused on making money any way he can – namely by selling PlayCloths merchandise and cocaine – than locking himself in a studio and going on a 2Chainz-esque mixtape and guest feature run. Call it a lesson in opportunity cost for the streets. Pusha’s need for a supporting cast is out in full force on MNIMN, as ten of twelve of the songs feature a guest – although in T’s defense this is due to the fact that he “doesn’t sing hooks”. The finished project is concise and calculated, but doesn’t leave much to get excited about.

Pusha T’s persona has always been one dimensional. Albeit, the dimension he’s chosen is “hardened drug dealer recounting street parables” and that appeals to a larger-than-average chunk of rap listeners. But for those who aren’t intimately familiar with how to make crack cocaine, these stories can get old fast. It leaves you wishing that Pusha would do more character building in his raps instead of just fulfilling crack-rap tropes. For example “S.N.I.T.C.H.,” the best song on the album, is carried by a Pharrell hook that forces you to sympathize with the informant. It makes you wish that Pusha extended that theme throughout the verses instead of rapping about how it feels to get snitched ON – something he’s covered before. It’s not that the raps are bad, it’s just that Pusha can’t seem to think of any other ways to approach them. Maybe the problem is that he’s settled into a groove after being the Captain of Caine for the last twelve years, or he’s worried that not playing it safe will cost him his core fans. Or maybe that’s the entire point of naming this album My Name Is My Name: this is Pusha T and whether you like him or not, this is what you’re going to get.

King Push
Militant sounding
production mixed with squeals of
glee, also terror.

Numbers on the Board
production carries boastful
drug fueled lyricism

Sweet Serenade feat. Chris Brown
Valiant attempt
at a radio single
that doesn’t sell out

Hold On feat. Rick Ross
Yeezus primal shouts
and a top-level Rick Ross
balances it out

Suicide feat. Ab-Liva
Top notch rapping makes
chess metaphors not sound too
nerdy and uncool

40 Acres feat. The Dream
Shockingly open
lyrics about raw topics.
Best Drake song ever.

No Regrets feat. Jeezy
New beats but same flows.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,
but at least switch up.

Let Me Love You feat. Kelly Rowland
Radio fodder
where Pusha channels Mase just
to spite Drake again

Who I Am feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean
to the persona and when
GOOD music goes bad

Nosetalgia feat. Kendrick Lamar
A song so well rapped
nobody notices that
it’s two verses long

Pain feat. Future
If you need to show
pain then why not get the most
emotive robot

S.N.I.T.C.H. feat. Pharrell
Strong concept record
tarnished by T’s struggle of
going left of script.

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