Buck 65 – Situation

buck 65As is the case with M83, I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a big Buck 65 fan, his last three records have been big favourites of mine and he’s one of my favourite live acts. Buck’s last album was a collaboration with Chicago’s post-rock/jazz masters Tortoise, which resulted in the wholly unique Secret House Against The World. Situation is a return to Buck’s “pure” hip-hop roots with a sample/scratching approach to the music and a much more straightforward vocal approach. Situation is going to be one of the albums that will divide hardcore fans and it’s not hard to see why.

Tracks like “Way Back When” and “Dang” are good, but don’t leave much of an impression. Much better is a track like “Ho Boys” with it’s piano motif and smart lyrics. “Cop Shades” has a jazzy bass heavy feel and some top notch scratching from co-producer Scratch Bastid. “Mr Nobody” has a laid back kinda lounge feel to it which sets it apart from some of the more excitable tracks. But aside from that, the tracks feel too short and don’t really engage me at all.

If you were a fan of the more conventional, independant Buck 65 albums, like Vertex and Weirdo magnet then you’ll probably enjoy Situation. It’s much more polished and has better production than these previous albums. Buck’s flow as a vocalist has improved ten-fold since then and his lyrics are spot on as always. But Situation lacks a hook; it has none of Square’s variety, the enveloping concept of Talkin’ Honky Blues or the brilliant instrumentation and ideas of Secret House Against the World. I’m not giving up on Buck, Situation is a good album, but it’s a definite dip in quality.


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