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posted: 10/11/2013 6:00 AM

Pusha T's raps superb. Album? Not so much

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  • "My Name Is My Name" by Pusha T

      "My Name Is My Name" by Pusha T
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/DEF JAM

 
Associated Press

Pusha T, "My Name is My Name" Def Jam

Pusha T proves he is one of hip-hop's most skillful lyricists on his debut album, "My Name is My Name."

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The rapper is hardly new. He rose to prominence as half of the grimy rap sibling duo the Clipse, whose music played out like the soundtrack to "The Wire." On "My Name is My Name," Pusha T once again mines his past in the dope trade for material.

Rapping about slinging drugs is hardly a new topic, and some would say it's a tired one. But Pusha T's storytelling, imagery and superb rap skills make it worth hearing from his vantage point.

Unfortunately, Pusha T's lyrical brilliance gets dragged down by the extraneous elements of the "My Name is My Name." The 12-track album features appearances from Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Future, Young Jeezy and Kelly Rowland, but suffers from unimpressive production.

Kanye West and Swizz Beatz fail to pull the life out of Brown's voice on the mediocre track, "Sweet Serenade." "S.N.I.T.C.H." is a compelling story about a friend looking to rat on someone, hoping to be freed from jail, but the music on the Pharrell Williams-produced track doesn't hold up.

There are some bright spots. On "Nosetalgia," Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar take turns recounting life before stardom, while the impressive Ross-assisted "Hold On," features West harmonizing. "Who I Am" with 2 Chainz and Big Sean, and the Pharrell-produced "Suicide" featuring Ab-Liva are also enjoyable listens.

In all, Pusha T puts on a strong performance. But the patchy production is what prevents "My Name" from being considered as one of the top hip-hop albums of the year.

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