My Name Is My Name brought Pusha T back into rap’s spotlight. His post-Clipse absence feels like a soul-searching drive across the country now that we’ve heard the comeback album, a hiatus that helped give today’s Push a fully formed vision before unleashing it onto the world. He wanted us to be ready for the new era of hip-hop.
The new video for “Pain” is stripped down to the barest bones. Pusha is backlit against a white backdrop so that we never see his face, just a silhouette boxed in by black bars. The only other footage we see is from the civil rights movement, and it ain’t the empowering, uplifting Million Man March imagery. It’s the other stuff, the hate and racism that was happening the other 99% of the time. Arrests and water cannons fill the screen as Pusha tells the story: “there’s no trust without shame / there’s no us without ‘caine.”
The comparisons to Kanye really manifest here. The beat behind Pusha on “Pain” is in the same family as “New Slaves,” and the whole sparse black-and-white aesthetic is right in light with Mr. West’s current ideology. The glaring difference is that Pusha will always outdo Kanye in terms of actual rapping. But they’re obviously moving towards the same end goal, away from the Maybachs and Cristal and towards a social movement. Too soon to start hoping for a whole Pusha/Kanye collaborative album?
My Name Is My Name is in stores now.