Finally, the long-awaited, highly anticipated, debut from Pusha T is here. And finally, I can give my two cents on it!
Pusha has always been a dope, from the early Clipse days to the ambitious and hungry Pusha that killed the We Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes to present-day Push.
“My Name is My Name” starts off with a bang with some booming production on “King Push” from Kanye West and Sebastian Sartor. The 808s mixed with a repetitive snare drum provide a thumping background for Pusha to properly say that it’s his time.
“Numbers On The Boards” provides a bouncing, extraterrestrial-like beat featuring some hard-hitting drums. He frames this basketball phrase as an analogy for the drug world. In basketball, when you gain a rebound, score a basket or give an assist, you are put on the scoreboard with “X” number in that category.
The same can be said in Pusha’s cocaine-filled past life, if you were putting numbers on the board, you were making things happen. You were dealing, and in many cases, large amounts of kilos. The larger the number on the metaphoric scoreboard, they more money you made. No one wants to have Joel Anthony’s numbers when you could put up LeBron-like numbers. Fact.
The drug talk raps continue on “Sweet Serenade,” were Chris Brown assists via hook duty and Swizz Beats, along with co-producer ‘Ye, provided a thumping, striking beat. “Sweet Serenade” is a combination of two perfect verses, filled with drug references and one short, yet to the point, third verse, where he denounces his competition and proclaims himself as the best rapper living.
Arguably, the stand out track on the album, if not, one of two, is the Rick Ross-featured, “Hold On.” Backed by a dope ‘Ye and Hudson Mohawke beat, with ‘Ye’s auto-tuned vocals, provide the perfect backdrop for introspective raps depicting the drug and gang life.
Pusha, as he’s done throughout the album, provides insight into his past, satisfying us with his amazing verse He comes sprinting out the gate with an uppercut of an opening line: “I sold more dope than I sold records, you niggas sold records, never sold dope.”
His counterpart shouldn’t be shunned as Ross provides a verse of the year candidate. He paints a picture of his younger days where he tells us he dreamt of wealth since childhood. However, it came at a cost as he expresses losing friends to arguments and death. He mentions that he appreciates the loyalty his people provide and as a result, he’ll be there to pick them up when they’re down. You can tell his verse was heartfelt.
The combination of Pusha and Ross is a winning one. Every time they get together, you are bound to get a dope track. See: “Millions,” “I’m Good (remix),” “Chevy Ridin’ High (remix)” or “Maybach Music 2.5,” etc.
The Pharrell-produced, heavy drum ridden “Suicide” finds a reunion between Pusha and fellow Re-Up Gang member and We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape killer, Liva. Each showing us their knowledge of high-end fashion brands.
The other track that rivals “Hold On” is “Nosetalgia.” It gives “Hold On” a run for its money, flip a coin, that’s how close they are.
The guitar-riff-lead Nottz production deals with two different drugs viewpoint. Pusha, of course, raps from the drug dealer viewpoint where he shared with us how he did things.
Kendrick spits his retrospective verse through what he saw in Compton. Kendrick had to deal with the effects of drugs directly and indirectly including having a father and an aunt who are addicts.
The-Dream provides a soulful assist on “40 Acres” as we see Pusha rap about his past and how he won’t apologize for it because it helped better his life. He wasn’t going to give up that life. Nothing, including the arrest of the former manager of the Clipse, was going to scare Pusha away.
The idea of naming a track “40 Acres” is astonishing. Is Pusha implying that he won’t stop until he is wealthy? Much like slaves would have been if the U.S. government kept their promise.
The collaboration with Jeezy is perfect. On “No Regrets,” we get a celebratory anthem thanks to Mohawke and Beewirks. You can feel those trap-like drums and blasting horns in the beat. Both rappers speak on being triumphant, as they moved on from the past lives to achieve success in rap.
“Pain” is a great track.. The synths, the claps, and the piano keys give Pusha the perfect dark and eerie atmosphere to speak on pain, thanks to ‘Ye and No I.D.
How could Pusha’s debut not include multiple productions from Pharrell? Luckily, it does. He appeared on “Suicide” but makes his presence felt by inspiring the “S.N.I.T.C.H.” acronym. The track’s title says it all, in Pusha’s world, a snitch can be your demise. Here, he gives a vivid picture of a fictional(?) situation involving a friend turned informant. He raps about the thoughts of someone who just realized their friend has turned. Good stuff.
The following two got lost in the background when compared to the rest.
On “Let Me Love You,” Pusha takes a time machine back to the ‘90s where he channels his inner Mase and begins to look for a side girl. He brags that he’ll give them a taste of his lifestyle but not himself.
Meanwhile, “Who I Am” features two subpar guest verses. If Pusha continued the rest of the track like his first verse, it could’ve been ill, especially with that ‘Ye production.
Overall, the album is what I expected, dope! I expected something great and was pleased. His cocaine-filled raps and drug world storytelling are still as crisp, detailed and unbelievable as before. He’s at the top of his game and isn’t showing any signs of declining in the future. Hopefully, we received another dope project in 2014.
Nevertheless, except for one or two tracks, this album is solid. 8.5/10.