Pusha T might have coined the perfect title for this 2013 release and only when you look back in retrospect upon listening to the album do you nod your head in complete agreement. When you listen to Pusha’s latest album, My Name Is My Name, you will know that two things are certain: 1) he does not ATTEMPT to “let you know” anything; he is telling you what is up and 2) he doesn’t care what you think about it either. The album paints a bleak narrative of Pusha’s life: retrospectives on the intricate details of the drug trade, dealing with instances of snitching and past triumphs and failures dealing with success, fame and those around him. When you think of how long Pusha has been in the game, remembering his days of greatness with brother No Malice (formerly known as Malice) in rap duo Clipse, you would start to wonder where he still gets his angst and fight from that most rappers would have lost this late in the game, coasting off past successes and comfortable lifestyles. The gritty nature and down-tempo style production bleeds trap through and through, but its not as simple as that. On much acclaimed track “Nosetalgia” (note spelling) featuring rap phenom Kendrick Lamar, the two do a brilliantly witty job of metaphorically comparing the 1980’s crack epidemic to its real life ties to the rap game and how rap was a way of escape for many to leave the vile and vicious trap but still bring home the bacon. Lyrics such as “Gem Star razor and a dinner plate, Arm and Hammer and a mason jar, that’s my dinner date, then crack the window in the kitchen, let it ventilate, cause I let it sizzle on the stove like a minute steak” let you know verbatim what is happening. Pusha is blatantly telling you how he made crack cocaine. This harsh juxtaposition of many boastfully “drug life, thug life” rappers of this current era is what sets the tone for this album as a whole and it is the perfect example of what people want that is “real” and no shows, no gimmicks. I chose this album as my number 11 pick because I like the honesty of the product and I believe Pusha cunningly outshines his competition by providing what people want the most: real storytelling.
Best Song: Nosetalgia ft. Kendrick Lamar
Best Production: “S.N.I.T.C.H.” ft. Pharrell