10.30.2007

Music Review: Buck 65's Situation

by Stephen Tringali

Buck 65 (real name: Richard “Ricardo” Terfry) is a Canadian rapper with a problem: he doesn’t really know where he’s aiming. Does he want to spin lyrical phrases like MF Doom (Daniel Dumile)? Does he want to craft trip-hop, sample-heavy compositions in the same vein as DJ Shadow (Josh Davis) and RJD2 (Ramble John “R.J” Krohn)? Does he want to pull it off with the same panache as Lupe Fiasco (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco)?

On Situation, the latest release from Buck 65 out on Strange Famous Records, (released Tuesday, Oct. 30) the Canadian rapper never really makes up his mind. His aesthetic ambitions pull him equally in all directions, and unfortunately, never yield artistic material equal to his influences.

His raps never hit the MF Doom-level of finesse. Sure, he drops just as many pop culture references. But those references sound awkward, almost as though he’s made them for the sake of name dropping and not for the purpose of illustrating the song itself. Listen for the peculiar references to Lou Reed, Link Wray, Johnny Guitar, Perry Como, and Pat Boone.

As for the production on Situation, it never hits the same creative stride as what's found on more eminent trip-hop albums, and at the same time, it never packs the punch of the best rap singles. Listeners will quickly find themselves stranded between mediocre sample scrambling and the numb thudding dull of drum beats.

Buck 56’s rap style and production, however, could be forgiven if only he were able to sell himself well. Most of rap’s quality is determined by how big you talk. Kanye West told everyone he’d win a Grammy for Late Registration, and he did. GZA (Gary Grice) of Wu-Tang Clan had the audacity to dub himself “The Genius.” And Akon (Aliaune Damala Akon Thiam) throws kids off his stage when he doesn’t like them.

Buck 65 doesn’t sound as though he believes in himself nearly as much as these other confident rappers. Delivery and ego are everything. Even if the lyrics sound stupid — and quite often they do with rap and hip-hop music — a solid delivery can make listeners forget just how ridiculous you sound when rapping them.

But Buck 65 stumbles with his delivery on songs like “1957” and “Dang.” What is most assuredly a stupid chorus — “No joke / Hit the low note / We all go to heaven in a little row boat” — sounds even worse when he can’t deliver it with the same don’t-give-a-shit mentality that his contemporaries muster.

As strange as this sounds, if Buck 65 can’t let his audience know that he doesn’t care whether they like his album — for an example see “Public Service Announcement” on The Marshall Mathers LP, the self-titled release from Eminem — then no one’s actually going to listen to it, and no one’s actually going to like it.

(Promotional photo of Buck 65 from Strange Famous Records. To see Buck 65 deliver a PG-rated version of "Dang," please check below.)









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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You don't get it.

Anonymous said...

"Most of rap’s quality is determined by how big you talk. Kanye West told everyone he’d win a Grammy for Late Registration, and he did. GZA (Gary Grice) of Wu-Tang Clan had the audacity to dub himself “The Genius.” And Akon (Aliaune Damala Akon Thiam) throws kids off his stage when he doesn’t like them."

This gotta be the worst review ever. Stephen obviously judges artists by how big they talk and not by their talent. I don't think you get it man....

Anonymous said...

you compared buck65 to wu tang and kanye

your an idiot

-Jake

Anonymous said...

You guys don't have to insult each other. come on, let's co-exist peacefully. It's a matter of preference. I think buck 65 and his new cd kick major ace. but that's my opinion.

Rick Rockwell said...

Folks... Steve is no longer blogging here. Currently, he's in Europe and he is sometimes keeping up his film and photography blog. You can find him over here at Kill Film Students.
Interesting to see that ten months later, his views remain controversial. Perhaps if there is more to this discussion, it should go on over at his spot.

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