Pusha T’s assertive album title may be a nod to The Wire‘s Marlo Stanfield, but after a listen to the dark and wicked opus, My Name Is My Name plays out more like actor Alec Baldwin’s chilling monologue from 1992′s Glengarry Glen Ross: a scene that finds his mirthless character forcefully asserting to a cast of hapless salesmen, “F—k You! That’s my name!”
That foul-mouthed declaration, packed with such scatological fury, is just what Push’s long-awaited debut sonically expresses. The same way that Baldwin’s cocksure character shakes things up in the dramatic film, Pusha Ton’s unpolished and unapologetic manner—an approach that’s long simmered beneath the surface of memoirs of his former street life—cracks pavement on his latest. And his M.O.? “All killer, no filler, been iller,” he maintains over the squeaky synths of Pharrell’s Lord Willin-esque “Suicide.”
On MNIMN, the Virginia-based hard-nosed lyricist strolls along the razor’s edge with a crown in one hand (“If it’s my reign, then it’s my shower”) and pyrex jar in the other (“Go blow for blow with any Mexican…”). But even as a self-described menace to society, who is haunted by his own inclination for heartless self-destruction, P has no regrets about his drug-dealing past. “Big willie with the blow, I am legend / School of hard knock, I attended / Selling hard rock, fuck who I offended,” he sneers on “40 Acres,” before detailing why he virtually gives no f—ks (“Old habits die hard / It’s heaven for hustlers, no graveyards”).
Raw, emotionless and straightforward, P’s strident poetry helps piece My Name Is My Name together as his most brooding effort since his second album as The Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury. And as expected, the street visions are bleak, from the bass-pummeling “Suicide” to the click-clacking dope boy anthem “Numbers On the Boards,” which hinges on the line “Come and meet the pieman, a must that I flaunt it / The legend grows legs when it comes back to haunt us.”
Without ever raising his voice or evoking a darker tone such as past greats like B.I.G. or ‘Pac, P’s words still strike like thunder. On “Nosetalgia” (featuring Kendrick Lamar)—a song that’d fit as the theme song for the Bumpy Johnsons, Nicky Barneses, and Frank Lucases of the ’70s crack era—Push holds his verbal camera steady, painting a sonic picture vibrant enough to give you a birds-eyed view to the face-numbing hustle.
For an album that looks claustrophobic on paper—due to the multiple heads involved in production and guest features—MNIMN brilliantly manages to congeal a wholeness that always finds him in the spotlight. Even with mood-shifting songs like “Who I Am” and “Let Me Love You” – the latter of which finds P inexplicably channeling his inner Ma$e—the album is a truly tight effort.
In a recent interview, Pusha discussed wanting MNIMN to restore a certain energy and feeling back into rap music. And with the days of venerated street rap classics like Ready To Die, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life, and The Infamous long gone, My Name is My Name may be the closest thing, in a while, to deliver on those uncompromised sounds.
In a post-Yeezus musical landscape, the man behind those “drug dealer Picassos” pulls over onto the downtrodden perils of the streets and offers an album that’s as hard-hitting as the mound he pitches from.
While many may find that, despite its title, My Name Is My Name doesn’t actually give listeners a full in-depth look into the true personality of G.O.O.D. Music’s golden child, it does illustrate Pusha sternly (and finally) introducing himself to the world and announcing, in his own way, “F—k you! That’s my name!”
Check out our recent interview with P at his recent album listening session in NYC, where he speaks on his favorite track and more.
By Ralph Bristout
– See more at: Revolt