Staff Pick: Clipse rapper Pusha T continues to bring his street-level tales to vivid life

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From the January 23, 2014 edition

As half of Clipse, rapper Pusha T built his reputation painting cold-blooded, street-level depictions of life in the drug trade. It’s a trend he continued with last year’s solo effort, My Name Is My Name, which, appropriately, borrowed its title from a phrase repeated by “The Wire” kingpin Marlo Stanfield near the close of the show’s fifth season.

On “Nosetalgia” (get it?), the MC reminisces about his days as a dealer (“20-plus years of selling Johnson & Johnson”), while on “Hold On” he boasts he “sold more dope than [he] sold records,” and dude has sold more than his fair share of records. Though Pusha has never shied from celebrating his criminal past, he allows more shades of gray to creep in here, stepping back to let Kendrick Lamar rap about the drug trade’s collateral damage. It’s a welcome development, and one that helps bring his concrete-cool tales to stirring, three-dimensional life.

Photo courtesy of Pusha T