Pusha T Holds Court At Album Release Concert In NYC

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Photo By Samm McAlear via Instagram

“Put your middle fingers up!” screams Hot 97’s Cipha Sounds from the stage at the Gramercy Theater. Hip-hop’s most hated gesture fired up the packed crowd for Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name release party on the eve of its official street date. Like playing a game of Simon Says, a mix of bloggers, industry folk and fans all followed suit, putting their middle fingers high and emulating the bulletproof attitude of the night’s guest of honor. With a DJ set consisting of throwback Dipset, Jay Z and 50 Cent, the vibe was past being polite. Pusha’s supporters were ready to bring the ruckus.

G.O.O.D. Music’s golden child isn’t cut from the same cloth as other solo artists. As one-half of the coke rap duo Clipse, he’s run the gamut of success with three albums—2002’s Lord Willin’, 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury and 2009’s Til The Casket Drops—that defined an influential and enduring strand of imaginative, criminal-minded hip-hop. Pusha’s already established himself as a formidable lyricist, so it’s only right he is confident of his material now. Plenty of rappers have vowed to deliver the best hip-hop album of the year, but few say those words with such bracing conviction that it’s hard to dispute them.

Backed by large black-and-white photos of his album artwork, Pusha creeps on stage and opens with his high-energy intro “King Push.” Looking like someone possessed by the Holy Ghost of rap, the Virginia native flies through the rhymes while fans watch (and record with their camera phones) in awe. Next come a series of heaters—“Blocka” and “Millions”—that are met with emphatic gestures fitting for a dope boy with charisma. “This shit sound like God don’t it?” he asks, before moving on to “Suicide,” which features an appearance by his Re-Up Gang cohort Ab-Liva. As the show progresses, the veteran continues to display his complete sense of control, performing his familiar hit “Mercy” with the audience hanging on every word. But, Pusha wasn’t having it. “I feel like I am getting too commercial,” he admits afterward. “I’m sorry. It’s part of my discography.”

Apologies aside, Pusha made up for his seemingly “commercial friendly” material with selected tracks from his recent mixtapes, Fear Of God and Wraith Of Caine. In his own way, Pusha commands the stage, even if he isn’t necessarily the type to be an inventive performer. What works for him is straight bars, where the crowd joins in on full verses and punchlines, especially on “My God” and “Exodus 23:1.” Another standout was Pusha’s “New God Flow,” sticking to the basics of pure rhyming and getting the biggest reaction of the night. No gimmicks.

Overall, Pusha delivers a concise set ranging from his past to his present. More My Name Is My Name cuts such as “Pain,” “Nosetaliga” (sans Kendrick Lamar) and “Sweet Serenade” cap off the night, and, for a final push, the self-proclaimed Cocaine Cowboy hit fans with “Numbers On The Boards,” a subtle reminder that moving big units is in his forecast. “I love y’all,” he says at the end of performing his encore track “40 Acres.” Then, without warning, Pusha throws some free shirts in the crowd and disappears into the back. Still doesn’t give a fuck.Eric Diep

  • Isometricized

    Just listened to My Name Is My Name and Damn…

    Just Damn,

    In a year ladled with many major releases, Pusha T’s, My Name Is My Name some how manages to buck both trends and every other major release, to be become one of best records released this year. In many ways it seems to be Yeezus done right,
    while the rest reaks of raw undiluted metaphors and lyrical skill. But where Yeezus and Magna Carta Holy Grail failed, My Name Is My Name gets it so right. Pusha T has undoubtedly cemented himself as a true quality driven artist with this LP.

    Every track feels carefully thought out and is mechanically sound, while all featured
    artists are utilized to their max potential, enhancing both the mood and style
    of the album. (Especially Kendrick Lamar on Nosetalgia) All of the beats are both creative, while still folding into the album nicely. Particular Standouts include those done by the Neptunes and Good Music.

    Pusha T is quite effective at painting a lifestyle turned bad to an artist hungry to
    reach the top of the game. While Yeezy, excellent production serves as a suitable backdrop. The different between this and Yeezus, however is that Pusha T, truly retains the lyrical ability to back it up.

    It is difficult not to reap this album enormous praise, when it so perfectly delivers on exactly what was promised.

    The album manages to string together so many elements beloved from Hip-Hop, from minimalist 90′s beat to theatrical good music production, R&B hooks that
    came out of the 90′s, witty sharp lyricism, as well as an aptitude for clever story telling. And of course, the constant that ties it all together, testosterone fuelled, yet some how well collected coke raps something of a signature for the artist.

    Perhaps the only real “issue” with this LP are the questionable additions of MC; “Big Sean” and “2 Chainz” neither of which can even come close to holding their own lyrically with Pusha. Both of there versus feel unintentionally awkward and funny on and all but introspective and fascinating album.

    Yet, neither of them are truly enough to detract from the album as a whole.

    Surely, a classic in the making.

    A well deserved, 4.5 out of 5.

  • jay deluca

    album is hot maaaaaaaaaaaneeeeeeeee deff wrth my $