My Name Is My Name: The really long breakdown [Review]
Calgary, AB – Originally published Oct. 22, 2013 – On Oct. 8, Pusha T dropped his highly anticipated debut album, My Name Is My Name. Okay, the album actually leaked beforehand. So Pusha heads have been bumping the album for a while, now. So our prairies team (Sarah Sussman and Sarosh Rizvi) decided to give you an official over-analyzed album review—complete with references from The Wire (hand-picked for you by Sarosh), and nugs of knowledge from Rap Genius. We’ve broken down the album for you, song-by-song, in a really long excessive review. Check it out after the jump.
1. King Push
Sarah: The album opens with this turned up little banger. Does it sound familiar? It should. It features the same sample used in Kanye’s “New Slaves.” Kanye actually produced this track, alongside Sebastian Sartor. The best part about this is when Pusha makes a hook about not singing hooks. Who even does that? Pusha does that: “I’m King Push/This King Push/I rap n*gga ‘bout trap n*ggas/I don’t sing hooks.”
Sarosh: This is becoming kind of a Kanye trademark lately – opening minimalist bangers. Very “Dark Fantasy” and “No Church.”
2. Numbers On The Boards
Sarah: This track is basically embossed with a giant G.O.O.D logo. But this track isn’t just “good,” it’s great. And the reason it is so great is because Pusha is dropping a giant “LOL” at his fellow rappers: “Your SL’s missing an S.” Rap Genius told me that “SL” stands for Sport Lightweight (and it can be found on posh Mercedes Benz cars). So what is “Sport Lightweight” minus the S? It’s lightweight. Pusha just called out the rap-game for being a bunch of lightweights. Oh snap. Now getting to the hook, here, there are so many different “numbers” and “boards” Pusha could lay claim to. Probably not bingo, because he doesn’t really have time for that. But he’s racking up scores, he’s climbing the music charts, and he probably has the foundation set for a sizeable savings account. Separate chequing and saving accounts— essentially everything I could ever hope to accomplish as an adult.
The Wire – “Homecoming” – Season 3, Episode 6
Vinson: What you do when you sittin’ at the head of the table? Once you there, you got to hold it down.
Marlo: Mmm. Sound like one of those good problems.
Vinson: Prisons and graveyards. Full of boys who wore the crown.
Marlo: Point is they wore it. It’s my turn to wear it now.
3. Sweet Serenade ft. Chris Brown
Sarah: Seriously. Is Chris Brown still relevant? Here he is, though, popping up on a track titled “Sweet Serenade.” Brown should have just gotten with Kelly Rowland, and they could have made a hot little single titled “Let Me Love You.” Oh wait, Chris Brown already did that with Ne-Yo, sans Kelly. And it was a total chick record. The Dream should have been back on this track, instead. Sorry ladies. You’re probably all going to go out and buy this record. But it’s not a sweet serenade for you. It’s a sweet serenade for white powder.
Sarosh: Side note, though. Why get Chris Brown to do a bad Weeknd impression? I can’t be the only one wishing he goes bad to making bad poppy EDM tracks, right? Sure, it targets the teenage girl crowd and they are the last ones who should approach Chris Brown’s sphere, but at least I could go on never having to hear him.
The Wire – “Alliances” – Season 4, Episode 5
Dukie: There’s no special dead. Just dead.
4. Hold On ft. Rick Ross
Sarah: Everything about this track is pure fire. It runs deep. It’s therapy 101 with Rozay and Pusha. As someone put it so eloquently the other day, the production features Kanye dying in the background. Brilliant, right? It’s the closest thing to copping a feature verse that Ye had on this album. He really knows how to moan in anguish. He could make a solid career out of that. He already did, too. It was called 808s & Heartbreak. This track sets the foundation for wanting to become BFFs with Pusha and Ross. They got each other’s backs. I just want to sit down with them. And we could braid each other’s hair and talk about cute boys, or something. This is the best song on the entire album. Call it a soft track. I don’t care. This is everything I ever wanted Pusha and Ricky to be.
The Wire – “Middle Ground” – Season 3, Episode 11
Avon: Us, motherfucker.
String: Us, man.
5. Suicide ft. Ab-Liva
Sarah: Why is this on a Pusha album? It’s so obviously a Clipse joint. Except Malice isn’t on it. Someone go find Malice. We miss him. Pharrell gets on the production of this track in classic Star Trak style. And don’t go calling Kids Help Phone just yet. It’s not a track about Pusha wanting to kill himself—it speaks to the roles of those who are replaceable middle-men: “A pawn’s only purpose is completely suicidal.” And that’s when it all gets real.
Sarosh: Come on. This reference from The Wire is a no-brainer. Almost wanted to go in another direction for degree of difficulty’s sake. Can’t do it though, it’s entirely possible “Suicide” was sparked from the scene itself.
The Wire – “The Buys” – Season 1, Episode 3
D’Angelo: Naw yo, it ain’t like that. Look, the pawns man, in the game, they get capped quick. They be out the game early.
Bodie: Unless they some smart ass pawns.
6. 40 Acres ft. The-Dream
Sarah: This is the real “Sweet Serenade” of the album. The Dream is on the hook, and he handled some of the track’s production. Pusha speaks to his split with Malice: “My better half chose the better path/Applaud him.” It brings a bit of closure to the uncertainty of everything that happened when Clipse went on hiatus. Malice changed his name to “No Malice” and turned to Christianity. But Pusha stays married to the game. He’s not leaving without his 40 acres. Malice rolls with Jesus. Pusha rolls with Yeezus.
The Wire – “All Prologue” – Season 2, Episode 6
D’Angelo: He’s saying that the past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it. All that shit matters… You can change up, you can say you somebody new, you can give yourself a whole new story. But what came first is who you really are and what happened before is what really happened. And it doesn’t matter if some fool say he different cuz the only thing that make you different is what you really do or what you really go through.
7. No Regrets ft. Jeezy & Kevin Cossom
Sarah: Sarosh had to kindly remind me that The Dream wasn’t on this track (sorry Jeezy and Kevin Cossom, don’t hate). I really just want serious business to happen between Pusha and The Dream. And it was all I was thinking about after I listened to “40 Acres.” Nonetheless, this track is solid. Not memorable. But obviously not regrettable either. Someone call Drizzy. YOLO just got a less attractive hashtag: #NoRegrets.
Sarosh: So tempting to just put a Tim Riggins quote here from Friday Night Lights: “No regrets. Let’s make some memories.” Side note: Sarah was just trying to manifest another Dream and Pusha track. She believes that the combination of the two of them push the track to new heights. She’s not wrong.
8. Let Me Love You ft. Kelly Rowland
Sarah: Pusha is downright bored on this track. He’s like: Yo Kelly go home. No one wants you here. Nothing against Kelly. She made a great career out of backing up Beyonce, and whatnot. And her new hairstyle is fresh. But a Kelly and Pusha T collaboration track is like a peanut butter and hummus sandwich: it just doesn’t make any sense. And it gets stuck to the roof of your mouth. And no matter how much Listerine you drink, you still can’t get rid of that odd taste. Cue Kelly Rowland on the hook: “Boy, you got that six in the morning/You got that thing that’ll make a girl feel high.” Yeah, whatever Kelly. It’s like that time when Keri Hilson hopped on “All Eyes On Me” on Til the Casket Drops. It was just out of place. It softened everything that everyone loved about Clipse. In all fairness, though, you need to reach the female demographic to sell records. And Pusha T is a smart businessman. He knows that he needs to get women buying his records to really be successful.
9. Who I Am ft. 2 Chainz & Big Sean
Sarah: Pusha lays claim to being the king of trap rap. So of course there’s going to be one excessive monotonous trap rap joint on the album. The Big Sean and 2 Chainz features make for a great success formula. All of the cool kids will probably bump this and hail it as the next sliced bread. But this is so far from what Push is capable of. And seriously, how many times is 2 Chainz planning on dropping “hallelujah” and “swimming pool” in a single feature verse. That’s elementary rhyming. And then Big Sean starts with the whole inflated ego thing: “To f*ck with me/You need a reservation.” Sorry, Big Sean. I called OpenTable and they said that I didn’t need a reservation. Things have been pretty empty since that whole Kendrick Lamar “Control” verse ignited the Internet. Step your game up.
Sarosh: This has got to be my least favorite track on the record. I’d check both 2 Chainz and Big Sean if they came through live. But put them on this album and they stick out badly. On top of that, both guys came with weak verses. 2 Chainz almost makes the Basquiat, Beats and Dre list with Jay, Dre and Game with all the swimming pool drops in this track alone. Pass. I was going to put in a Poot quote here from The Wire. But like I said – pass.
10. Nosetalgia ft. Kendrick Lamar
Sarah: This is what they should show kids in elementary school when they give them the whole “Don’t do drugs, or else…” chat. The rational behind the track is brilliant. Pusha was like: I could just write another song about slinging cocaine. Or I could get Kendrick Lamar to hop on a verse about his experience living with a coke dad. And then it would be this whole brilliant dual look at the effects of hustling. Kendrick’s flow is a little sloppier than usual. This could be because Kendrick is rapping about a sloppier part of his life. I’m probably reading too far into this. Nonetheless, Kendrick’s lyricism more-than makes up for it. It’s the Kendrick Lamar Oprah exclusive condensed into a single verse. Mind blown. And moral of the story: Don’t do drugs. You’ll get taco meat on your chain and end up being the poster child for sloppy deadbeat dads.
The Wire – “Sentencing” – Season 1, Episode 13
D’Angelo: Y’all don’t understand, man. Y’all don’t get it. You grow up in this shit. My grandfather was Butch Stanford. Know who Butch Stanford was in this town? All my people, man. My father, my uncles, our cousins. It’s just what we do. You just live with this shit until you can’t breathe no more.
11. Pain ft. Future
Sarah: Is it just me or is Future trying to sound like Kanye (circa excessive auto-tune) on this track? Pusha makes me feel the pain (or lackthereof because he doesn’t feel it, apparently). Respect for the ode to Trayvon Martin (“Coulda been Trayvon/Instead I chose Avon”), as well as the Tribe Called Quest reference that snuck in (“But my tribe don’t quest like love”). Cool fun fact of the day: Tribe member Q-Tip is actually signed to G.O.O.D. Music.
The Wire - “Homecoming” – Season 3, Episode 6
Avon: I ain’t no suit wearin’ business man like you. I’m just a gangster, I suppose. And I want my corners.
12. S.N.I.T.C.H. ft. Pharrell
Sarah: This track should have been on the Django Unchained soundtrack. It’s just a few bango twangs shy of being a solid contender. Apparently Pusha wrote it after he got a call from one of his buddies in prison. His buddy told him they’d never be able to speak again. Bam. Pusha’s heart is broken and he writes a heartfelt rap. Sort of. “S.N.I.T.C.H.” is an acronym for “Sorry n*gga, I’m tryna come home.” So what should happen here is Pusha should release a video of himself as Jamie Foxx trudging through the desert and being all sad and snitchy. You know, like in the opening scene in Django Unchained.
The Wire – “Hot Shots” – Season 2, Episode 3
Tillman: How the hell he know what the rat gon’ do?
Butchie: Junk do know his vermin.
Written by Sarah Sussman and Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
Twitter: @PUSHA_T | @TheKingDream | @kanyewest | @kendricklamar
Tweets by @HipHopCanada
Tags: 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Chris Brown, Future, G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye West, Kelly Rowland, Kendrick Lamar, Kevin Cossom, Maybach Music Group, Pharrell Williams, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Sebastian Sartor, The Clipse, The-Dream, Young Jeezy