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Old 12-22-2013, 08:02 PM   #32
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09. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name





We’ve been waiting so long for this, the solo debut album from one half of Clipse. Pusha T has long been one of the best wordsmiths in rap. The references and rhymes pile on top of eachother so densely on this album; you’d better remember what Pusha said 4 lines ago, because he does and the full impact of the wordplay won’t register if you don’t. This album has everything that a commercial rap album should have: “King Push” has a spectral beat that wouldn’t be out of place on a A$AP Rocky album; “40 Acres” has introspection, desperation, and a great chorus from The-Dream; “Suicide” reunites Pusha with his Re-Up Gang costar, Ab-Liva. But this IS a commercial rap album. His label wanted it that way. So there are more commercial beats, with features from the likes of Future, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz. Despite the obvious anchors, those songs don’t sink. Pusha is so damn good as to keep them afloat somehow.

What makes this album one of my top 10 favorites of the year are the ways in which this album fights against the expectations of commercial rap. There’s a ridiculous song called “Let Me Love You” that features Kelly Rowland on a low-key hook; I say that track is ridiculous because Pusha raps the entire song in the world’s best Mase impression. He sounds just like Mase and he’s absolutely nailed Mase’s signature flow. Weird, fun song. Another way this album defies expectation is in a couple of sparse songs – “Numbers on the Boards” and “Nosetalgia.” OK, well, they don’t defy expectations lyrically. Mostly in his career, Pusha raps about the manufacture and sale of crack. Mostly, that’s what he’s always done. But nobody on earth does it better. I say these two songs defy commercial rap expectations because the beats are ****ing austere. Minimal sounds beyond drums. They are a natural extension of the difficult beats that the Neptunes made Clipse learn to rap over. Basically, if you like rap I can’t see how you’d dislike this album.
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