Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton should not be an unknown name to any fan of hip-hop, past or present.
Since the early ’90s, the Bronx native and Virginia Beach veteran has released multiple albums with his brother Gene “No Malice” Thornton as the duo Clipse, working with the unique and innovative production of The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams was also a member). During a temporary hiatus, in which he attempted to forge a legacy as a solo artist, Pusha has done everything imaginable. From signing to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music to receiving a Grammy nomination for his featured verse on Cruel Summer’s “Mercy,” Pusha T has certainly shown the hip-hop world that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Despite all these accomplishments, Pusha had yet to release a solo studio album, until this week’s release of My Name Is My Name.
On his relentless freshman debut, Pusha T enlists the help of an all-star production crew and amasses an army of some of the biggest names in the game. With production assistance from legend and long-time associate Williams and West’s visionary production skills, the beats on My Name Is My Name are nothing short of spectacular. At times, they even push the artistic limits of hip-hop.
Pusha constantly discusses the effect of and presence of drugs in his life. He manages to intertwine the theme every aspect of his life. On “Nosetalgia,” he reminisces on the drug-slinging days of his youth, while on the Pharrell-produced “S.N.I.T.C.H.,” he focuses on how the drug game has turned friends into enemies. While he does an astounding job of conveying what life is like in the drug game on the tracks, he tends to focus on these themes too much, making the scope of his lyrics limited at times.
Songs such as “Sweet Serenade” and “Hold On” exemplify Pusha T’s ability to work with an array of artists, including Chris Brown and the G.O.O.D. Music vets 2 Chainz and Big Sean. This variety of features show Pusha can work well with artists who differ from him stylistically yet manage to emerge with an audibly-pleasing product. On the other hand, songs such as “King Push” and “Suicide” show that Pusha has no problem killin’ it on bars all by himself.
While songs such as “Let Me Love You” and “40 Acres” seem out of place with the general vibes of the album, and “Numbers on the Boards” seems to mimic West’s outlandish artistic style, Pusha T sometimes steps into bold artistic territory as a solo artist. Although Pusha’s skill keeps these track from turning into anything horrible, he may be pushing the envelope as a commercial artist considering he does not have any experience in that realm of hip-hop as a solo act.
Overall, My Name Is My Name has some hiccups to it, but it’s a necessary addition to the library of any hip-hop fan who enjoys clever wordplay, hypnotic beats and some solid features from a wide range of talented artists.