I'll just start out by saying I'm more or less new to hip-hop. I've always enjoyed it but never delved into anything that motivated me enough to get me interested in the genre. The state of hip-hop the general public know of is pretty…well, terrible. It's lost the substance and originality that it thrived off of in the earlier days, which is why people are thankful for the underground. Buck 65 falls into this because the title alone oozes imagery, the instruments matter just as much as the lyrics, plus I don’t know any other Canadian rappers. Hell, just looked at this guy's picture you wouldn’t guess he could have belonged in this genre.
Lyrically, a lot of the songs sound like he's free styling on the spot. The opening song would be a pretty good example. Something interesting about this song is if you just read the lyrics you could think it's hip-hop but if you hear the song it sounds like a folk song. Now, there are times where his style sounds out of place, like in Surrender To Strangeness. He sounds too careless, which I blame on his delivery. This, unfortunately, ruins a few other parts during the album, such as in Blood Of A Young Wolf. The lyrics are great but his emotionless delivery kills it at times.
Buck 65 also sings, and it can work very well such as in The Suffering Machine or Drawing Curtains. Other times, he's off-key and it's annoying as hell.
After the first few songs, you may wonder if this should even be considered hip-hop. For one, his voice sounds more like a folk singer who uses spoken word, the instruments are very well constructed and REAL, and there aren’t many samples or loops. Le 65isme sounds like a French jazz band wrote a dancy, political number. But then you get to The Suffering Machine or The Floor, which for some reason reminds me of the slower songs on Eminem's Slim Shady LP (the latter moreso), and you realize that this is in fact hip-hop, but a unique and organic take on it. The bulk of the songs on the album are pretty fast-paced and according to Buck 65 they wrote this album fast, which gives off a sort of raw and emotive sense of bad memories, lust, and ambition.
I have to give a lyric sample from Corrugated Tin Facade, because the flow is beautiful just like the words:
Look at this mess, he thought he was cheating' god
She leaves in the autumn, his face like a beaten dog
Now he's become everything that you hate
He's just in time to be too late
His friends like snowflakes, his lies are confessions
Behold the hold man and h is ruin possessions
The hole in his stomach tastes like words
He dreams and imagines his face like hers
He knows he can't live without his greatest fears
And nothing's more beautiful than a woman's tears
Another awesome thing about this song is that under the verses, there's a great chord progression, and during the breaks you're given synth parts that are cold and unforgiving.
Now that I've mentioned instruments, I feel the need to mention Devil's Eyes. While not one of the best songs on here, it's still interesting because of its staccato beat and harp parts. The piano version isn’t any better but still worth hearing. It's quite the toe tapper…. Another song where instruments bring a fresh feel is Kennedy Killed The Hat. Almost instantly, it sounds like an LSD Soundsystem song with the really bassy guitar and female voice over Buck's.
There's not much to it. This is an interesting cd, regardless if you like/dislike hip-hop. There's enough organized instrumentation to keep a rock fan listening, and there's plenty of great lyrics and flow for the rest. The only flaws lie in a few areas: some songs don't flow well (ie: Blanc-Bec, Drunk Without Drinking), his delivery, which actually doesn’t occur enough to ruin the cd, and finally the replay value on this album may decrease for some people. The slower songs tend to be more traditional hip-hop, and just so happen to be the highlights. The other songs are still enjoyable, but may be too out there or unpredictable for the average listener.
Corrugated Tin Facade