Coke rap is back.
Pusha T, the former half of hip-hop super group The Clipse, returns with his first solo effort in the form of the highly-anticipated "My Name is My Name."
Pusha T has been in somewhat of a whirlwind the past few years since he became a solo artist, similar to the type of confusion that surrounded his career before. The Clipse was always a favorite of true hip-hop heads, yet there was some sort of disconnect between the group and the various record companies they were signed to.
Due to personnel changes, Malice – the other half of the the group – ended his career with The Clipse, which seemed to provide Pusha T with a second chance at a first impression in the music industry.
Becoming a free agent, Pusha T signed a record deal through Def Jam and G.O.O.D. Music. Now with a label that truly cares about the music at the helm and Kanye West as his executive producer, Pusha T was finally in a place where he didn't have to worry about radio singles and album sales and could make the type of music he wanted.
"My Name is My Name" begins with the triumphant "King Push," a song that more than shows the direction of the album.
Combining his top-notch wordplay with a West-assisted instrumental that sounds like it could have been the fight song for Gladiator, Pusha T uses this opportunity to make one of the boldest hip-hop statements of the year. He exclaims, "I rap (expletive) about trap (expletive) I don't sing hooks," a direct shot at the previous record labels he had been signed to.
Confident in his own abilities, Pusha T makes it clear he feels as though he was not only misjudged by the record labels, but that he is good enough to make an impact on hip-hop through his words and doesn't need conventional singles and hooks to sell records.
The album continues with one of the most talked about hip-hop songs of the year in "Numbers on the Boards." This song is a perfect example of the type of minimalistic music that Pusha T and his collaborator West have been striving to make.
With stripped down instrumentals, Pusha T allows his words to create the canvas of this song as he gives numerous examples about how he handles himself is better than others. From lines about high class fashion to how his cars and planes are better, including the line "Your SL's missing an S, your plane's missing a chef," Pusha is letting new rappers know he is a veteran in the game and he knows how to do it just a little bit better.
The album reaches another high note with "Hold On," a collaboration between Pusha T and Rick Ross with West on the hook. On this track, Pusha T and Rick Ross trade retrospective lines, where they both put what their past experiences in perspective. From Pusha T saying, "I sold more dope than I sold records," to Ross saying "I seen children get slaughtered ... grandmothers assaulted" you are hearing the words of two rich, yet tortured souls.
Surprisingly, the standout track on this lyrical and gritty album comes in the form of an upbeat, lady's song that features former member of Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland.
Pusha T uses this track as an opportunity to try his own hand at using the signature flow coined by late '90s hip-hop star Ma$e, that everyone from Jay-Z to West to Drake have all capitalized on this past year. To nobody's surprise, Pusha T does it best.
The album concludes with song "S.N.I.T.C.H," spelled out "Sorry (expletive) I'm Trying To Come Home," a track inspired by a conversation between childhood friends Pusha T and Pharrell. The song focuses on the pair's former associate who told them he would become a government informant, specifically informing on the actions of Pusha T. On this track, Pharrell not only delivers the hook, but also lays an instrumental that is the perfect platform for Pusha T to vent his frustrations, a fitting end to such a dark and painful album.
Long are we from the days where the type of gritty rap music or "coke rap" that had been trademarked by Dipset and the preluded Clipse was the prevalent form of hip-hop music, but there is definitely still a demand. With first-week record sales of 75,000, beating the likes of many hip-hop superstars that dominate the radio such as French Montana or 2 Chainz, this shows that sometimes substance does beat flash.
Similar to what he's done his whole career, Pusha T beat the odds with "My Name is My Name" and proved that in music, quality will always be heard.