My Name Is My Name: Pusha T live in Toronto [Review]
Toronto, ON – On Feb. 2, The Substance Group brought Pusha T and his My Name Is My Name Tour to Toronto and their timing could not have been better. King Push’s immaculate timing not only had to do with the release of his latest project, but also with Toronto’s exponentially talented and growing hip-hop community.
What’s more, Pusha T was also able to leverage Toronto’s centre-stage position within the commercial hip-hop world with his own climatic solo career.
Pusha’s visit to the screw face capital began with a meet-and-greet at Brooklyn Projects. Initially, it seemed as if the turnout for the event was going to be a modest one. But within half-an-hour of Pusha’s slight late arrival, the influx of fans was seemingly never-ending. His fan base was a combination of Toronto’s most influential hip-hop figures, as well as the Clipse fans and G.O.O.D. Music fans (with their own dope boy and dope girl ambitions).
Also present was a small minority of individuals that have lived the very urban drug dealer lifestyle that defines Pusha T’s music. The meet-and-greet went about half-an-hour overtime. And Pusha T’s laid-back persona (and appreciation of his fans) was a stark contrast to the harsh realities that he came from prior to his success as a musician.
Four hours later, the Danforth Music Hall was almost at capacity, and filled with an indescribable and infectious energy that only true hip-hop fans can emanate. Once T hit the stage, the crowd’s vocal eruption was hard to contain and only their willingness to hear his lyrics calmed them down. What followed was an hour-long clinic on lyrical dexterity, as well as what it takes to continuously craft hit records for more than 15 years.
Even though Pusha T’s performance wasn’t as animated as the performances of many other artists that I have worked with or have documented, it was quite apparent that he is one of the best at presenting cliché hip-hop themes in a highly unique, persuasive and articulate manner. As a huge fan of his music, I’m highly biased. But even if I had been skeptical, the evening’s crowd would have shown me the light.
Furthermore, the fact that Pusha’s fan-base and list of collaborators includes Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Kanye West and Chris Brown speaks volumes. I have been a close observer of his career since 2001. And as I watched a mob of satisfied Pusha T fans clear out of the Danforth Music Hall, I thought about how his career has evolved and what it will potentially look like in a few years.
I also thought about the fact that he will most likely never sell as many records as Eminem and he will most likely never accumulate as many internationally-revered awards as Jay Z. But even without the record sales and awards, he will forever be one of the most highly respected lyricists in hip-hop culture. The Clipse’s legacy will live on as long as hip-hop exists, and it was an honor photographing and interviewing him.
Review and photography by Ajani Charles for HipHopCanada