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Album of the year?
on 8 October 2013
The debut solo album of Pusha T - one half of the critically acclaimed duo The Clipse - has finally been unveiled. With all the release date pushbacks many doubted whether it would ever arrive. It has, and it is worth the wait.
Disciples of Pusha's muscular, drug-driven lyricism will not be disappointed. King Push has delivered a masterpiece that must go down as one of the best albums of 2013. The oft-heard Rolex and champagne rhymes are interwoven with the harsh realities and consequences of a dealer's lifestyle, with a few subliminal stabs at Drake sprinkled throughout for good measure.
In pre-release interviews Pusha revealed that The Wire's fictional drug lord Marlo Stanfield was an inspiration for the essence of this album. The brash up-and-comer with little regard for the rules mirrors what Push feels he represents in the rap game. It's no coincidence the album's title matches one of the character's most memorable lines, and it's another example of Terrence lacing every line of this record with multiple layers of meaning (pun intended).
The star-studded roll-call of features includes Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Pharrell, Chris Brown, The Dream, Future, Kelly Rowland, Ab Liva, Jeezy, and his G.O.O.D. Music labelmates 2 Chainz and Big Sean. You can't shake the suspicion that the label have tried to maximise the potential for commercial success by tossing in so much big name support, but to be fair the cameos feel organic and compliment each song.
"King Push" kicks off proceedings with a monster beat that Joaquin Pheonix allegedly sent in. "Numbers" and "Sweet Serenade" continue the dark brilliance before "Hold On" offers up introspective respite. "Suicide" harks back to Lord Willin' days as Pusha comfortably hop-scotches over an other-worldly Pharrell classic. "40 Acres" is the standout with The Dream bringing a soft, almost hymnal refrain within a minimalistic dirge. Interestingly, Push channels '97 Ma$e duetting with Kelly Rowland in "Let Me Love You". Unusual, but it works. "Nosetalgia" and "Pain" are classics, simple as.
With My Name Is My Name, Pusha T has unashamedly catered to his core fanbase by serving up pure, unadulterated coke rap. Critics will point to the lack of versatility and repetitive subject matter, but Pusha masterfully confirms his place as one of the finest rappers alive today. Whether there's enough here to attract new fans is debatable but the message is loud and clear; Pusha only knows how to give you that raw. And I for one applaud him for it.