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17.10.13

ALBUM REVIEW: 'My Name Is My Name' by Pusha T

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Well, what do we have here? An album review of sorts...

It's been a long time coming. And it will be a long time before it happens again. I don't really do albums. There's always those two or three songs that make me wonder why on earth the artiste bothered to put it on the album; like, was there a song quota to be met or something?

So I get the singles I like and ignore the others lest they take up useful space on my phone/iPod; simple solution and it's worked well for me so far.

But Pusha T's MNIMN has helped join the fight to restore of my faith in this musical generation's ability to put a quality piece of work together. I have listened to all twelve songs in succession. I've done it backwards. I've listened to it in alphabetical order. I've shuffled and reshuffled even...

It might seem like I have a lot of free time on my hands, but I really don't. Uni is hectic, man.

Anyway, I finally convinced myself to do a post on the album because, even though I am about a week late, I thought you'd appreciate reading my thoughts. Not that it makes any difference to Push, but I really dig MNIMN, guys. It's not perfect, but I'll give it a good four out of five stars.

It's officially one of my favourite hip-hop albums this year, just rising above Magna Carta and Yeezus, and settling itself in comfortably behind Born Sinner and Nothing Was The Same. I'm not saying the others are bad or anything, I haven't listened to them all. Like I said, I don't really do albums.

Anyway, as difficult as it is picking favourites, if a bomb was strapped to my chest and I was told I had to make a choice right this second unless my captor would blow me to smithereens ('pink mist' to my Grey's Anatomy peeps), I think I'd have to say my favourite track is Nosetalgia. It's that one track I keep going back to whenever I can't decide which of my gazillion songs I want to start my morning off with.

I can unabashedly admit that most of Pusha T's metaphors flew right over my head the first time I listened to it. Honestly, I felt like I was listening to a spy audio-book with all the subliminal messages and whatnot.

Anyway, when I eventually figured them out, it quickly became clear that Kendrick and Pusha T did their thang on that track. Their honest emotional delivery transcended time and space. It wasn't just music anymore, he and Kendrick painted a rather vivid picture about their lives that made me want to go back to that era. Like I'd just revisited a really cool TV show and wanted to go back to the pilot to start all over again.

Pain is another favourite. Future is just amazeballs, honestly. His voice, however altered it may be, is so seductive. And Pusha T took Kanye West's production and made it the perfect amalgamation of their talents. This is one of those songs that make me want to wear my baggiest pants and a beanie, and sway and nod along with a bottle of beer (see: sparkling apple juice) in hand, getting lost in their words like I've been through that American-ghetto struggle.

Taking me back to the scenario with the bomb, I would have to say that Numbers on the Board is probably my least favourite. Don't get me wrong, Pusha's lyrics were on point and, for the most part, the production was pretty captivating in its dynamic simplicity with strong retro/electro vibes. But the mixing just felt a bit too disjointed for my taste. It gets better the more times you listen to it though, so I've noticed.

The album art was designed by Kanye West's creative team at DONDA (including the super awesome Virgil Abloh, Justin Saunders and Joe Perez) based on Pusha T and Capricorn Clark's ideas. Honestly, creative directing sounds like such an awesome job. Does anyone else ever listen to music and set up their own music video for it, or mentally put together the perfect scene to go with it? I know I have said I would like to do a lot of things in engineering, fashion, journalism and now creative directing, but like, when one is, like, as universally skilled as I am, like, you just can't, like, limit the possibilities. Know what I'm saying?

I'm joking by the way. I'm not really that vain. I like to let my awesomeness do the talking.

Back to the album art. Simplicity was definitely the theme, but in a good way. I think the bar code captured the essence of the album's title perfectly. A thumbprint is far more unique to a person than his or her name, and its equivalent, the bar code translates brilliantly with Pusha T's album. It is him in his rawest form.

Kanye West, being the fashionable man that he is, seems to be enjoying the monochrome trend as much as we are this season. The artwork is reminiscent of Kanye's Yeezus work, like the Black Skinhead video but still, I like it. I think I underestimated 'Ye. He's got an ego the size of the universe, but he does have quite a lot to be proud. Not quite as proud as he is now, but still there's grounds for argument on his part.

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All in all, I'm thoroughly impressed with this. Unlike most "new age" rappers, Pusha T's stuck to the old hip-hop ways, which some have said is a bit unwise, but honestly I like it. Ironically, it's a bit refreshing. I feel like digging up some Raekwon and Big Daddy Kane or something... Ooh, I think I've just sorted my weekend. Cue the snapbacks and oversized clothing!

The album also features Rick Ross, Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, Young Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Ab-Liva and a few more. Swizz Beatz, The-Dream, 88-Keyz, No-I.D., Pharrell and others also lent Pusha T their producing skills with superb results overall.

Fellow hip-hoppers, I know y'all know what's up, so I don't even need to tell you cop this album. For the non-hip hop fans among you, I strongly suggest you give this album a chance. The amount of work that's been put into it really shows, and it is well worth the listen. And to the hip-hop virgins, this may not be the mildest one to start off with, but we operate on a 'Go Big Or Go Home' system here. Hip-hop's really not as bad as the media makes it out to be.

Now, I've got to do some groundwork on Multisim to get ready for tomorrow's lecture but I'll try to keep posting as much as I can until I get some kind of schedule set up. But y'all come back now, ya hear?

[Haha, I'm gonna milk this Ghetto Chic thing foreveeerrrr]


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2 comments

  1. Just Damn,

    In a year ladled with many major releases, Pusha T’s, My Name Is My Name some how manages to buck both trends and every other major release, to become one of best records released this year. In many ways it seems to be Yeezus done right, while the rest reeks of raw undiluted metaphors and lyrical skill. But where Yeezus and Magna Carta Holy Grail failed, My Name Is My Name gets it so right. Pusha T has undoubtedly cemented himself as a true quality driven artist with this LP.

    Every track feels carefully thought out and is mechanically sound, while all featured artists are utilized to their max potential, enhancing both the mood and style of the album. (Especially Kendrick Lamar on Nosetalgia) All of the beats are both creative, while still folding into the album nicely. Particular Standouts include those done by the Neptunes and Good Music.

    Pusha T is quite effective at painting a lifestyle turned bad to an artist hungry to reach the top of the game. While Yeezy, excellent production serves as a suitable backdrop. The difference between this and Yeezus, however is that Pusha T, truly retains the lyrical ability to back it up. It is difficult not to reap this album enormous praise, when it so perfectly delivers on exactly what was promised.

    The album manages to string together so many elements beloved from Hip-Hop, from minimalist 90's beat to theatrical good music production, R&B hooks that came out of the 90's, witty sharp lyricism, as well as an aptitude for clever story telling. And of course, the constant that ties it all together, testosterone fuelled, yet some how well collected coke raps something of a signature for the artist.

    Perhaps the only real "issue" with this LP are the questionable additions of MC's; "Big Sean" and "2 Chainz" neither of which can even come close to holding their own lyrically with Pusha. Both of there versus feel unintentionally awkward and funny on and all but introspective and fascinating album.

    Yet, neither of them are truly enough to detract from the album as a whole.

    Surely, a classic in the making.

    A well deserved, 4.5 out of 5.

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    1. Well, well, looks like we've got a bad-ass over here lol

      I agree with you regarding 2Chainz and Big Sean though; it was a pretty odd choice featuring them but they didn't completely alter the album's flow. I still think the sequencing for some tracks is a little off but not in an incredibly obvious way, perhaps excluding Numbers on the Board. But with that song, the dynamics still compliment the album's raw, aesthetically unbridled vibe.

      I like Push, I like that he's somehow managed to stay true to the classic 90's hip-hop form, and I think the album delivered on just about all accounts. I think he took a risk sticking to his guns with the shift to the 'modern' in the contemporary hip-hop climate, but it worked out great for him this time! Whether it will continue to do so, I don't know but I'm definitely looking forward to his next album. His potential is undoubted.

      - Karina x

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