Pusha T releases highly-anticipated solo debut My Name is My Name

Rating: 6/10.

Pusha T, Virginia-based hip-hop artist and member of rap-duo Clipse (with Malice) makes his full-length solo debut with My Name is My Name. Features on the album include Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Ab-Liva, The-Dream, Jeezy, Kevin Cossom, Kelly Rowland, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Future and Pharrell.

Pusha T released Lord Willin’ (2002) and two other albums with Clipse. He signed to GOOD Music in September of 2010, where since he has released two mixtapes and an EP, and has worked with GOOD Music on the compilation album Cruel Summer (2012).

Pusha does justice to almost every beat he raps over, but he works especially well with minimalistic beats like those on “Numbers on the Boards” and “Mercy.” This can be attributed to his very unique voice; Pusha manipulates his somewhat high-pitched raspy voice to sound tough over every beat. He sounds inspired and passionate, uses emphasis well, and punctuates his verses in a way that leaves listeners anxious for what may come next.

It has never been a question whether Pusha lacks lyricism or not; he continues to impress with his rugged, merciless style. Lines like “Givenchy fittin’ like it’s gym clothes/ We really gymstars, I’m like D. Rose/ No D-league, I’m like this close/ ’88 Jordan, leaping from the free throw,” off of “Numbers on the Boards” are common on the album. Pusha excels with this style of wordplay, where he relates every line back to the last, creating somewhat of a chain of topics in each song.

The album has its share of shining moments aside from the brilliant “Numbers on the Boards,” too. On “Pain,” Pusha declares, “Pain is joy when it cries/ It’s my smile in disguise,” effectively using a triple entendre to start the second verse. The song sounds has a very similar beat to “New God Flow,” a song by Pusha T and Kanye West; not coincidentally, Kanye played a part in the production of both songs.

Pusha steps up on “Nosetalgia,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, both of which boast verses that will leave listens taken aback. Pusha T and featured artist Ab-Liva impress on “Suicide.” The beat sounds eerily similar to “Intro” off of Lord Willin’ by Clipse, and both songs were produced by Pharrell. Additionally, “S.N.I.T.C.H,” produced by and featuring Pharrell, has one of the better beats on the album, with heavy bass and a distorted piano loop in the background.

As far as weaker songs go, “Sweet Serenade,” “No Regrets,” and “Who I Am” all share one common problem: they are very cliché. For someone as different as Pusha, to hear him release songs featuring Chris Brown and Kevin Cossom is very surprising. “Man it feels good, everything is right/ Energy is strong enough to brighten city lights,” Brown sings on the hook of “Sweet Serenade”; lines like this are the pinnacle of overused.

“No Regrets” sounds like a Drake song, with an up-tempo beat, loud drums and a heavy pop-influence. Not to mention, Kevin Cossom sounds very similar to Drake, even singing “Wasting time, I can’t that back/ Uh, so everyday I go hard” another cringe-worthy, Drake-esqe lyric.

“Who I Am” is really the only song where Pusha can be faulted for his own lyricism, rapping, in his only verse, “They said be all you can be, [man]/ They said be all you can be/ Always knew I could rule the world.” 2 Chainz and Big Sean both flunked their verses on the song. It was a mistake to even put them on the record in the first place; they are renowned as two of the most mediocre, cliché rappers in the industry. Aside from these three major flukes, the album comes together as whole in the end.

My Name is My Name, for someone who has not heard a single or any of Pusha’s previous work, will sound ambitious, raw, and with the exception of a few songs, may be an album of the year contender. The problem with the album, however, is that the project is only 12 tracks, and boasts a grand run time of 46:25. Short albums are not necessarily worse than albums which run for an hour or longer, but Pusha released seven of the twelve songs on the album before the album’s release on October 8. In essence, the album is a culmination of recycled Pusha songs, plus five unreleased songs. Albums need singles to gain hype and make people excited, but they never need seven of them (only “Pain,” “Numbers on the Boards” and “Sweet Serenade” were officially singles, but Pusha himself released other songs online before the release).

Pusha T’s My Name is My Name is a solid but curt release. If only Pusha had recorded tougher, more punctual songs like “Numbers on the Boards” and “Nosetalgia,” the album may have become a hardcore hip-hop anthem. However, with multiple ill-advised features which do not blend well with Pusha’s style, as well as over half of the album being released before the full album came out, Pusha essentially shoots himself in the foot on what could have been an excellent release.