REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/20/2003
In hip-hop music now more than ever there's the need to be legitimate. Authentic. To keep it real, blah, blah, blah, blah… Keeping it "real" usually (unfortunately) is synonymous with acting like a complete wanker, inciting "drama," or bringin' the ruckus down, and then getting killed dramatically because one of your silly songs finally came true.
(Blank) just went from having the rent barely, barely paid to being a hero. An inspiration. A dauntless lion. A god. A douchebag, usually.
Buck 65 keeps it really real, man: "when the mob comes running with pitchforks and torches I'll be safe and surrounded by sound inside my fortress." Out in a blaze of glory!
Tupac Shakur is a "hero" now. This acquaintance of mine swears that he's still alive somewhere in the mountains somewhere-in hiding from his "enemies". Why? Couldn't he have become a better rapper before he "staged" his own death? I guess those autopsy photos I saw are fakes. Same thing with Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.): Lacking in real skills that went anywhere beyond boring posturing, the Big Poppa had a fairly wack delivery, and wasn't ultra-graceful on the m-i-c.
Somebody capped Biggie's sizeable ass and now he can do no wrong. If Vanilla Ice got knifed tomorrow, four albums worth of the cheesy demos he did prior to making his ill-fated "big comeback" (still hearing about that one) would be issued immediately and masturbated over: "4 Mics! Brilliant!"
I'm dead sick of rap music these days. I mean, I LOVELOVELOVE it as a form of music, but, like "Indie Rawk" I find too much of rap to have painted itself into a corner.
So! I was doing my usual afternoon routine, digging thru piles of dusty forgotten records and CDs at this local music shop when I heard the intro to "Battery" by Metallica. Six somber notes. Then I heard it again. And again. And again. With some drums thumping underneath. Some guy was dropping rhymes about "having a head like a rat's nest," and being "harder than a math test". Then his voice aged forty years, he became Wilford Brimley (Old American moustache, now doing TV adverts stateside selling diabetes testing supplies. On horseback.). Buck 65 becomes an "amateur coin collector, John Q. Taxpayer. Shy around girls with my face all scarred. The only thing in my wallet is a baseball card."
"What is this???" I asked the girl behind the counter. I took the very cd she was playing over their little P.A. with me and haven't had it out of my stereo (except to temporarily transfer it to the boombox on top of the toilet so I can listen in the shower) since.
Making inroads on cable TV's Much Music along with label-mate/partner SixToo, and being one of the biggest acts in Nova Scotia, Canada, producer/emcee Buck 65 (named after his weight) used to Deejay for the Biz (Markie) and the Beastie Boys, and now he creates his own cuts and drops lazy verses that effortlessly stand way out in today's hip-hop climate. Buck 65 can make it almost painful to listen to some other rappers.
It's only when you hear stuff that's truly different that the regular shit seems so last year. Weary. Insipid. Stale. Buck 65's "realness" is in his willingness to drop his guard for a few minutes and be a vulnerable human being who doesn't really have anything that rhymes with "dick," or "jimmy," or even "schlong" in his rap dictionary. "I don't want to be remembered, by the way I've been rendered."
I'd love to tell you how great that song about his mother is. She died from breast cancer and Man Overboard is dedicated to her, but there aren't any song titles, so if you're lucky enough to snag a copy of this it's track nine. I'd give you my list on which tracks to skip to, but that'd take the fun out of it. Make your own list. Maybe you can trade in your Poop Soggy Frogg collection for this, Language Arts or his Vertex disc.
If Billy Ray Cyrus (remember him?) went into the Pacific Ocean from two miles up the day after tomorrow people would still say he was shite. For some reason though, I think if MC Hammer or Kid 'N Play were on the same plane there'd be boxed sets on the racks by the end of the week. When Buck 65 eventually shuffles off this mortal coil he won't need a commemorative triple CD of his "lost collection" or the sounds of him having one off at the wrist. He's already made a classic.