WAT DO, INTERNET? Dr. Socktopus is back in the booth to scribe another review on the Terrible Tomes of the Moist Graffiti. You’re probably well-aware of Pusha T’s ascendancy to God Emperor of the Trap as one-half of the duo Clipse*, which climaxed with the release of Hell Hath No Fury in 2006. P.S. If you haven’t bumped that joint in a while it’s worth buying your Zune back from Lone Star Pawn and refreshing your memory– shit was the I Ching of drug rap in its day. Although East Coast junkies nervously whisper about a new Clipse LP currently being cooked down into ready rock somewhere in a Norfolk basement, my magic 8-ball is spittin’ “incredulous” at these allegations.
ANYWHO, after signing to Kanye Kardashian’s G.O.O.D. Music label in 2010, Pusha slowly found his footing** and soon dropped the mixtape Fear of God (2010) and the delectable EP Fear of God II: Let Us Prey (2011). Just in case you spent 2011 trying on tights at Aeropostale while jamming The Suburbs or some shit and slept on the latter, put on a kevlar vest and hit play b:
TURNING TO THE PRESENT, 2013 has been a bewildering-ass year for mainstream rap and pop culture at large. Yeezus was a bolt of pure hatred directed at the public, comprised of “Bound 2” and an additional 144 diss bars about how much Ye hates Radar Online. Magna Carta Holy Grail had Rolls Royce production but the raps were verbal Propofol. I needed two Adderalls and four beers just to finish that sentence b.
I’m not evennnnnn going to fuckin’ mention that one 13 track ode to Canadian bar mitzvahs by the George Costanza of Rap himself. Even Walter White is out the game, crushing my dreams of becoming a high school chemistry teacher. And don’t even get me started on them D.C. hyenas tryinta reboot the Confederacy and convince everyone that Jesus was a plantation owner. Thus, Pusha finds himself trying to break ground in an era of extreme angst. The G.O.O.D. good news is that when My Name is My Name works, it’s like the first black n’ mild you smoked behind church at age 10– electric plexiglass-stained tar ripping through your body with angels singing in the background and shit. It’s tight b. Trust me.
“King Push” kicks the joint off with 808 snares snapping like Syrian AKs and Pusha dolo dropping a mood darkening hook, to wit: “I’m King Push; this king push; I’m ’bout trap niggas; I don’t sing hooks.” You dun’ say, Terrence? Careful with that beat too, y’all. Shit’ll slap the argyle straight off your sweater vest and blackout the window tint in your Prius real quick.
THINGS PROGRESS NICELY with “Numbers on the Boards.” Did 2006 bust into the studio with Uzis and hold everyone hostage? These bars range from terrifying to hilarious. See: “Don’t let your side bitches settle in; might have to headbutt your Evelyn.” Eat a dick Chad
Johnson Ochocinco Johnson. The minimalistic beat is tight too, even if it sounds left over from the cold cut tray of flows Rick Rubin left in Kanye’s sauna after Yeezus (w)rapped.
“Suicide” (feat. Ab Liva) is probably as close to a Re-Up Gang reunion as we’ll ever get without a time machine and 10 oz. of lean. For the curious, Liva and Pusha’s lyrical subject matter concerning hustlin,’ the game, and expensive footwear has not changed a bit, e.g. “Between a renter and a homeowner; we can cover any rolling stoner; Louboutins I heist nigga, or that bitch Winona.” I rest my case b. The beat and hook are vintage Re-Up too (looks at credits). Pharrell?! The fuck? I’ll never understand how that dude goes from producing KIA Soul Hamster commercial joints to “serious” “gangster rap” to rapey summer jams, but he does it.
AND THERE’S “NOSETALGIA.” Sickest portmanteau I’ve heard in a minute, and with a title like that, hmmm I wonder what this song is going to be about? OH MY GODDDD. When I first heard the beat twang I fuckin’ hit the floor as AK bullets tore through my room. I’m writing this review crying in my bathtub b. If you climb a mountain and play this joint on your discman the skies will split and pour King Cobra. All blunts within a 5 mile radius will spontaneously ignite. This the joint Moses played to part the Red Sea and shit. You play this track on The Voice and 1999 Christina Aguilera will strip and give you three wishes. As usual, Pusha’s set is a fantastic around-the-world of 80’s baby references and dope rap. Check it:
“What I sell for pain in the hood, I’m a doctor; Zhivago tried to fight the urge like Ivan, Drago; If he dies he dies, like Doughboy to Tre; if he rides he rides.” Damn son, Rocky IV AND Boyz ‘n’ the Hood AND Dr. Zhivago. Dexterity.
Then Kendrick comes in with “You wanna see a dead body?” all spooky like a Compton-themed Are You Afraid of the Dark episode. He then proceeds to shoot Icy/Hot into your spine with some pyrotechnic struggle bars. See: “My little brother crying; smokers repeatedly buying my Sega Genesis; either that or my auntie was stealin’ it.” I said goddamn, he was just trying to play some X-Men and Shinobi and shit. Ahem, for you professors out there, let’s not miss the duality of the “Pusha as d-boy and Kendrick as victim” theme structure here. This joint’ll get you 5 on the Music Theory and English 4 AP Test b. This might be the best rap track I’ve heard all year.
HOWEVER, most of the rest of the album suffers from an retrograde attempt at forced commercialization. I mean I get Def Jam suits were probably in the mixing room sprinkling autotune flakes on everything while Kanye distracted Pusha with his #leatherskirt Instagram posts, but damn man. Having autowhine hooks on a dope-rap album is like trying to get a girl pregnant through two rubbers. Unless you’re 88-89′ Jordan, shit just ain’t working.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE HYPNOTIQ-FLAVORED hooks on joints like “Pain” and “Hold On” overshadow competent bars and even a decent guest spot from Rick Ross the Bawse, who managed to put down his Lobster Thermidor long enough to drop a solid verse. Speaking of guest spots… Pusha, why are there 12 guest verses (over 10 tracks) on a 12-track album? Why would you think it’s a good idea to have animal rapist Chris Brown and Babysitter’s Club members 2 Chainz and Medium Sean on here? After “King Push” and “Numbers on the Boards” it’s never been more clear that Pusha can lyrically hold his own dolo, and Terrence does not strike me as lacking confidence. More Def Jam Mickey Mouse Club shit under the hood? I don’t understand it, and somethin’ tells me I don’t want to.
ALL IN ALL THOUGH, My Name is My Name did not fail to deliver some serious vinyl-rippers, including a major contender for joint of the year. We’ll see what Eminem brings on The Marshall Mathers LP II: Dr. Dre Strikes Back, but I’m not holding my breath.
Moist Graffiti Rating
Beats. Strong to very strong, with a minimum of Kanye’ s tear stains: 83.413
Hooks. Some tight hooks but mostly autotuned soyrizo bullshit: 60.457
Bars. Pusha consistently drops Death Star verses. Guest bars from
Ab-Liva, K-Dot and Rick Ro$$ fit the Fung Shui like a ceramic owl, b: 86.997
“Nosestalgia” OH MY GODDDD B: +7
Shitty guests like Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, and Medium Sean: -5
MG Rating: 78.956
As always gracias for taking a moment to bathe in the Foamy Fonts of Moist Graffiti wisdom, and stay tuned for the next tablet to come hurtling off the mountain.
*Flashback visual effects: remember circa 2008 when all the cardigan wearin,’ horchata drinkin’ fools on the various primitive rap forums of the day were like “Oohhh shit Ionno guys, I dun think Clipse actually push weight or nothin 4 real b. Aint nobody rap that much about sellin drugs actually deal nahmean?” Then Geezy was arrested for selling, among other things, a half-ton of yayo (~450
kilos chickens for all of our European readers) and everyone was like FUCK HOMIE DELETE ALL THAT SHIT I WAS TALKIN 4 MALICE APPEAR IN MY CLOSET AND CHOKE ME WITH MY POKEMON CARDS B
**Highlights include dropping guest bars on Yeezy’s mea culpa “Runaway” and escalating simmering beefs with Weezy, Drake, and various other Young Money raw food enthusiasts.