What makes Buck 65 so good is not his voice—which makes him seem like a 6’5” 250 pound wrestler, nor his turntable skills—he could tour with any number of MC’s and make them sound good. No, what makes him so good is his spot-on observations and delivery of said sightings. For his latest offering, Situation, the critically acclaimed and “highly prolific” artist explores themes connected to the year 1957—“a year that changed the world.”
Beginning with the song simply titled “1957,” riding hypnotic keyboards and a choppy rhythm, Buck summarizes important moments from the year to great effect. Continuing with “Dang,” the eccentric MC wraps his words around the prominence of funky drum work, borrowing also from Kid Rock’s past efforts as the infectious “Dang Diggy Dang” of the hook keeps the head nodding. With “Lipstick” and “Shutter Buggin’” respectively, the artist observes models then photographers in an effort to get deeper into the psyche that gave rise to the popularity of men’s magazines and women as playthings. The rumbling bass and guitar flourishes of the former, accented by incessant “umm, ahhs,” and the continuously repetitive camera flashes of the latter keep his missives focused.
On the somber “Spread ‘Em” Buck crafts a dragnet-esque tale of cop busts and raids, replete with thick drums and horns. Conversely, the airy movement of “Ho-Boys” perfectly captures the allure and vagabond life of the homeless, especially those affectionately known as hobos; criss-crossing continents on the tail of the iron horse.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Buck 65 crafted this album for Strange Famous Records, an imprint started by stalwart wordsmith Sage Francis. In keeping with his own sometimes twisted view of the world, he’s injected the spirit of his influences from Afrika Bambaataa to Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Cash. The key to his success is simplicity: he strips the songs down to their barest necessities, adding no extra clutter to confuse the listener, leaving his rhymes to stand center stage. And from there you’re hooked, transported to wherever/ whatever he wants to lead you to.
As with his previous work, this is one situation that deserves your attention.