Pusha T’s first solo effort showcases his complex lyrics and remarkable flow all while sticking to the same narrative he’s been associated with since the Clipse days. “They praying I never go solo,” Pusha T declaimed on the intro to Clipse’s 2006 classic Hell Hath No Fury. A reference to other rappers’ fear of what would happen if he were given the chance to shine on his own, and after listening to My Name Is My Name, its evident those concerns were legitimate.
Pusha T flourishes on hard hitting gritty production and “King Push” gives him the best space to shine on the entire project. The snares give the impression of a marching band following Pusha T through the hood for a victory lap; all while he spits some of his best rhymes setting the tone for the entire album. When the official tracklist leaked the amount of features was baffling; only two songs on the album have no features. However, when listening to the album at no point are you confused with who owns every track. When you’ve made a career trading rhymes with your twin brother it stands to reason you’d do the same with the best rappers in the game for your solo debut. ‘Nosestalgia’ being the albums best example which finds Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar floating for 3 minutes in the grimy environment created by the Kanye West and Nottz beat. ‘Nosestalgia’ finds both rappers going into insane detail about the effects cocaine has had on their lives. Pusha T speaks of his “20 plus years of selling Johnson & Johnson” detailing his well known history of drug dealing; whereas Kendrick touches on his family’s struggles with cocaine addiction and how he now sells dope in the form of his music. Pusha T rapping about selling coke isn’t exactly breaking news, but Kendrick’s perspective in his song stealing verse gives the song equilibrium not found elsewhere on the album.
Pusha T makes it clear on ‘King Push’ that “I rap nigga ’bout trap niggas I don’t sing hooks.” Nonetheless, he’s able to give one of his best performances of the album with The-Dream crooning the hook of ’40 Acres.’ This song contains quite a bit of substance as it finds Pusha T delving a bit deeper than being a d-boy and driving foreign cars; touching on everything from his parents’ recent divorce to his relationship with his brother. ’ ‘Suicide’ has Pharrell handling production and recreating the classic Clipse sound for Pusha T and Ab-Liva to let loose. It’s also the perfect space for Pusha T get off several lyrical jabs at Drake. “I build mine off fed time and dope lines. You caught steam off headlines and co-signs.” Referring of course to Drake’s 2011 hit single. The “feud” between these two rappers is nothing new and Pusha T addresses Drake’s failure to respond in kind “Like the bible don’t burn like these bullets don’t spiral.” The irony is that Pusha-T says he’s talking to the world like it’s just you and I but he doesn’t call Drake out by name, nonetheless the shots are apparent and quite poignant. Pusha T has stated that he wants nothing to do with determining who is real and who isn’t with regards to rappers tales of the streets (namely drug dealing). This is solidified by standout track ‘Hold On’ which finds Pusha T and notorious ex-corrections officer Rick Ross exchanging rhymes reflective of their pasts “selling dope.” Authenticity aside Rick Ross gives a stellar performance and the apparent chemistry between the two makes for an amazing song save for Kanye West growling in the background. There are definitely places on the album that would have benefited from Kanye West’s vocal assistance but him growling on such an introspective track isn’t one of them.
This album is Pusha T’s first chance to showcase himself to the world so it’s somewhat confusing why a song like “Let Me Love You” made the final cut. Let Me Love You tells the story of Pusha T cheating on his girlfriend but this theme falls way outside of the narrative of the album. This song is the closest thing to a ballad you’ll ever hear from Pusha T and there’s a reason for that. Everywhere else on this album Pusha T is completely comfortable and effortlessly delivering rhymes that make you double take. ‘Let Me Love You’ finds Pusha T doing his best Ma$e impression and delivering subpar rhymes such as “If it’s about a dolla’ thing, big like Poppa.” The appearance of this song and the absence of “Trust You” may be the only major misstep Pusha T makes on this album.
Pusha T’s first solo effort plays like a 46 minute exposé into the life of the world’s biggest d-boy who decided to rap after retirement. He doesn’t glorify his past but he doesn’t lie about it either. There are the countless references to the fast money, but at the same time there’s him saying he’d rather die than go back to that life on ’40 Acres’. My Name Is My Name shows the world that Pusha T is way more than a member of Clipse he’s one of raps most interesting voices. The authenticity in everything he says has been missing from rap for some time now, and with that in mind it makes perfect sense why they prayed he never went solo.