"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Young Buck: Best Rapper Alive?

(Well, no...but he's definitely better than the sociopath in the center.)

I definitely did not care for Young Buck at first but if anything that’s due to my general loathing of Curtis Jackson. When 50 Cent broke on the scene like most people I was caught up in the initial hype. Curtis had an impeccable pedigree since he was being mentored by my favorite rapper at the time (Pre-Encore Eminem) and my favorite producer at the time (Pre-Roid Rage Fun Dr. Dre) and he promised a debut record that was as good as “Illmatic” and “Ready to Die.” After months of hype, when I actually got a chance to hear the record, I was struck by how utterly mediocre it was (although on retrospect, "Get Rich Or Die Tryin’" is a pretty damn good record) so when the record became the inescapable jam of the summer of 2003, I quickly grew to resent 50 Cent for not only the endless ubiquity the record was being played at my college’s frat circle and how quickly Curtis Jackson went from plucky bullet-ridden upstart to the asshole prince supreme of hip hop once the fame and Vivica A. Fox hit his system. So when 50 Cent introduced his merry band of weed carriers to populate, I wrote of all of G-Unit in one well deserved stroke for being the talentless sycophantic leeching hacks that all ganja toters turn out to be after there master puts them on.

To me, Lloyd Banks was a poor man’s Fabolous (who in turn is a homeless man’s version of Jay-Z) with even weaker punchlines (if that’s even possible) and a creepy homo erotic current, The Game was an extremely annoying name dropping lyrical cipher, and Tony Yayo was quite possibly the worst rapper alive. As for Young Buck, he was a Southern rapper so he had to suck. 50 Cent’s incredible success in the year’s 2003-2005 in inexplicably turning these guys into stars only succeeding in making me loathe these clowns ever more than I would normally hate a group of jewelry polishers. I was perfectly content on hating G-Unit as a whole until I started to slowly but surely notice that Young Buck was a hell of a rapper. Who the fuck knew?

Young Buck’s two commercial solo releases on G-Unit Records, "Straight Outta Ca$hville" and "Buck The World", were for the most part two typical G-Unified abortions filled with middling plinking faux-Dre piano beats, suspect studio gangsterisms, and enough cliche-ridden song-writing that made 50 Cent the biggest musician in the world. However despite being less than stellar efforts on Buck’s behalf, they did feature enough moments of genuine electricity that hinted towards Buck being a much better rapper than his track record had let on. "Bang Bang" and "Welcome To The South" off of Buck's debut record, "Straight Outta Ca$hville" were slow crawling bangers that played to Buck's southern roots and last year's rollicking, hyperbolic Tuba-infused "Get Buck" off of "Buck The Word" is pretty much my favorite song ever. These songs divorced from the more traditional G-Unity material on Buck's records proved that without the insidious artistic influence of Curtis Jackson that Buck could make music that could stand on it's own. Still, I wasn't convinced that Buck was anything more than 50's token southern weed carrier but as of lately, Young Buck has been coming into his own as an artist.

I suppose it was inevitable that 50 Cent would drive out all the artists on his label that were actually better than him and thus had a chance to prove that he was not actually worth a damn as rapper. 50 Cent is a deeply insecure man who seems to derive his self worth not on his own accomplishments but the failures of his others. It seems that he needs to feel a percieved sense of superiority and control over everybody else around him otherwise why does he feel the constant need to insult other rappers. 50 Cent tossed the Game out of G-Unit for some imagined sense of disloyalty conveniently when the Game's first record was massively taking off and has spent the better half of the last few years attacking rappers like Kanye, T.I. and Lil' Wayne who were a threat to his status as the undisputed king of hip hop. It's no surprise than when Young Buck and 50 Cent started to have problems surrounding money issues that Buck started having a creative renaissance and a coming into his own as an artist.

Since last fall, when rumors of Buck's imminent depature from G-Unti became apparent, Young Buck has been making some simply amazing music. First came Hi-Tek and the Outlawz assisted "Drivin' Down The Freeway", a slow, breezy track which highlights Buck's ability to write emotional mid-tempo bangers. The song was a surprise favorite of mine last year as it had a timeless summer-y yet sad quality that was perfect for rolling your windows down and letting a cool breeze blow through your car. The song hinted at a sad, reflective side of Buck that seemed repressed by the endless G-Unitism of 50's bulletproof gangster facade that he demanded all his artists maintained. Next, Buck released the dark and moody "New York City" which sampled Phil Collins' classic "In The Air Tonight" that further showed a more poignant side of Young Buck than we had seen before.

As the conflict between Buck and 50 grew Buck's song-writing became more and more emotional. After 50 Cent officially booted Buck from G-Unit earlier this spring and accused Buck of being an overly emotional, flakey coke head, instead of responding with a vicious "Game-style" diss track, Buck responded with the thoughtful and quiet "My Interview" where Buck admits to his own personal problems while tossing soft but pointed jabs in 50's direction for being a selfish, jealous asshole in the situation. "My Interview" was a stunning anti-diss track in the sense that it showed a thoughtful and remorseful side of Buck that contrasted with 50's narcisstic and childish antics. It made 50 look foolish and for a few moments actually seemed to subvert the impending apocalypse the G-Unit camp was going to have feuding with another one of their more prominent member.

That was until last week where Buck was caught on stage screaming "Fuck G-Unit" at a show in Tampa and the video ended up on some gossip blogs. To me, this was a revelation that was well past due considering 50 Cent is probably hip hop's most utterly repugnant figure since Suge Knight hung Vanilla Ice's pasty ass over a hotel balcony many moons ago and Young Buck completely severing ties towards his former camp is something that was long past due. G-Unit has been a sinking ship since the Game handed them their collective asses on "300 Bars And Runnin" three years ago and 50 Cent decided that he was going to continue on releasing the same awful record out over and over, again. G-Unit is dead and having an association with them is doing absolutely nobody any favors. Banks ' career is deader than Tupac's, Yayo had no concievable talent in the first place other than being 50's child slapping Yes-Man, Conspiracy Theory P is going to be spending 3 years in a state penentiary being raped by men named Tyrone, and Curtis, himself, had his ass served to him royally by Kanye West of all people last year. There's no benefit to being on G-Unit Records, anymore.

However, 50 Cent (while being a horrendous member of the human race is something of a genius when it comes to beef) released a tape earlier this week of a phone conversation recorded allegedly last year at sometime where Buck tearfully begs 50 Cent to let him back into G-Unit after screwing up majorly on some taxes and refusing to carry 50's magic stick at some European tour. For those who have not heard it yet, the tape is best described as sixteen minutes of a man breaking down completely and makes Buck appear to be something of what in layman's term can be described as a massive "pussy." It's not a pretty picture. I could hardly get through the entire tape without turning it off from feeling tremendous embarrassment and pain for the guy. Buck is clearly a man with issues however I can't help but feel that to release a record and release a tape like this ultimately makes 50 Cent even worse. It only further illustrates how just rotten to the core that Curtis Jackson is inside. I mean from randomly attacking rappers, to evicting his own child from his home, to tolerating Tony Yayo's assaults on children, to in all likelihood burning his own house down while his child was inside, Curtis Jackson is not a good person. To embarrass a man that publicly when that man was in great need of help and guidance is a despicable act.

But what happened next is much greater than what Curtis did and only serves to prove what an artist Young Buck is slowly evolving into. "The Taped Conversation", Young Buck's official reply and opening salvo in what is sure to be a series of classic diss tracks, is a vicious but subtle strike at 50 Cent that eschews the traditional route of attacking 50 Cent (i.e. insinuating he's a snitch, insulting his prominent overbite, making fun of his penchant for going shirtless). It's in the vain of Ice Cube's classic N.W.A. diss "No Vaseline" because Buck airs 50 and G-Unit out for their personal treachery and deceitfulness. Over a brooding piano beat and haunting strings, Buck goes on for 50 for being a shameless media whore and addresses 50's hypocrisy and fundamental dishonesty. There is an emotionality to it that makes it a much more personal song than most diss tracks are. You can sense an hurt in Buck's words that is severely lacking in most modern hip hop. I find it personally fascinating.
Buck's new creative direction seems energizing to me that makes me feel that he'll probably escape the indignity of this latest setback and come out stronger. The emotion and weight behind these new songs that he's been releasing lately are reminiscent of "All That I Got Is You" era Ghostface and suggest that Buck now that he's free of 50's creative influence can go on to create beautiful pieces of art. I'm excited for the prospect honestly that Buck can mature and become a great artist on his own. He seems to have all the tools. His delivery is fierce and energetic, his music has a personal quality to it when he breaks from G-Unit's studio gangsterisms, and he's an underrated lyricist in his own right. I personally wish the best for Buck now that he's formally done with G-Unit. Keep your head up, David Brown....
Get 'Em Buck!
Download: Young Buck "The Taped Conversation"


Natan said...

Whoa Doc!
i always believed anything around Fiddy had to be a well thought publicity stunt. i bet in most times it was... even now, notice the timing - G-Unit's having an album out in the very near future.
but u managed to convince me that this time it's for real and that this time - it's worth the bother to check out what's happening.

i'm also happy to find another real hip hop head who gives Buck his props. i was surprised the same way u was when i heard "welcome to cashville" the 1st time. and "get buck" is my shit too! (props 2 Pollow 4 this one)
i just hope he'll get his shit 2gether and won't fade away now that he's not with the Unit/Interscope anymore.

africanorigins said...

Damn. You hate in a way that is artful. The read was some funny shit man. A lot of ethering in this post LOL. But, yeah I think this could be a great opportunity for Buck. I always thought he was only second to The Game when it came to pre-MOP MOBB G-unit.

I was one of the biggest 50 Stans around when he first came on my radar. 50 Cent got in 'the game,' off of How To Rob. So I guess he feels that's the formula. Just talk a bunch of bullshit every time you're about to drop. I think 50 was low for this. But where did Buck get the idea to say "Fuck G-Unit." I listened to the tape and it sounded like 50 felt sorry for Buck and was offering 'help.'I think 50 should've tried to get him professional help. Not humiliate him like this....or try to. But Buck went off again cause Buck is on something serious. And this bullshit happened.
But Buck will rise after this, I think after listening to his response track.

Madman said...

Well done.

I've been anti 50 Cent ever since The Massacre when he dissed Jadakiss (my favorite rapper at the time). I've never really paid attention to Buck mainly cause he always seemed like nothing more than a G-Unit member with an accent. I plan on checking out the songs u listed.

tray said...

I don't really get your hatred for 50 - he's a likable, smart guy who's unfortunately a really lazy rapper, that's all - but it's nice to see you enthusing over someone who's actually good for once. Not sure that he has quite enough talent to make "beautiful works of art," and I think that Buck lost this beef years before it even started when he said those immortal words, "I got a Bentley that I only drove one time, 50 bought it for me shorty but it's still mine," but he is really good and has a bright future ahead of him.

DocZeus said...

"Damn. You hate in a way that is artful."

That's the only way to hate. I consider what I do the highest of high art.

I do think that a lot of what 50 Cent does is just a publicity stunt as well but I think that what makes it all the more sinister. He's hurting other people to further his own career. I definitely think the man is a certified sociopath which when combined with the fact that he's an awful rapper just makes me loathe him even more.

50's unquestionably a really smart man and has shown that he does have a talent for making money but I feel he has to be the worst role model in all of hip hop... arguably worse than Suge Knight.

Anonymous said...

"I don't really get your hatred for 50"

C'mon slim, this is really some Devil's Advocate shit right here. Dude is really loathsome.

Anyways, never was a big fan of Buck. I liked that "Footprints" song off of "Beg For Mercy," but still fronted on him until his solo debut came out (that "my daddy's a dopehead and I don't really miss was thrown out there as a throwaway that wasn't quite a throwaway...always stuck with me). But after hearing "Heart And Soul Of New York City," I became open to listen to anything from dude.

Anyone have the link to "The Taped Conversation?"


tray said...



Also, I always liked Suge too.

Trey Stone said...

i dunno man, The Game and Buck are still trash to me, regardless of any "ballsy" (not really but anyway) feuding with Curtis. the fact that Game's dry, forced little kid schizophrenia is seen as "complex" just shows you how skewed heads' tastes are now when it comes to what's "lyrical" (and considering an actually interesting personality like Wayne gets constantly shit on for lame reasons, but anyway...) and while Buck can occasionally drop some affecting shit he's way too over-the-top for my tastes. sorry, but when there's a line on your last album about kidnapping someone's kids and sounding dead serious there's a problems. and his yelled adlibs are awful.

whatever though, i wouldn't really mind if all G-Unit/Game disappeared at this point, unless 50 has another Get Rich in him.

Trey Stone said...

a problem*. dammit.

Anonymous said...

the thing with buck is that he fleeced 50 for the dough hence the got a bentley line and now he has the chance to make even more great music after the great driving down the freeway track and my interview. He got that west coast style that everybody craves with that southern flavor can't miss.

DocZeus said...

"the fact that Game's dry, forced little kid schizophrenia is seen as "complex" just shows you how skewed heads' tastes are now when it comes to what's "lyrical" (and considering an actually interesting personality like Wayne gets constantly shit on for lame reasons, but anyway..."

The mitigating factor in all of this is that Game has made two albums better than Wayne's entire output but you know... that's because Game sits down and focuses on his material. Wayne is certainly a personality but that doesn't mean the Carter 3 is anything but just ok.

To throw Wayne a bone, Carter II and III shit on Buck's albums though.

Trey Stone said...

you serious? i mean Doc's alright 'n all (although "How We Do," "Hate It," "Put You on the Game" and maybe "Don't Worry" are the only beats that jump out me as truly great) but the guy had nothing to do with that. people talk about how Get Rich was manufactured hype/production, which is true but not as much as it is for Doc.

if by "focuses on his material" you mean "uses one thudding, dry flow that's boring as shit and raps like a no-personality version of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg," i guess. i personally can't really stand Doctor's Advocate outside of Kanye and Nas/Just Blaze tracks, both of which have rappers on 'em who're vastly superior to Game. there's absolutely no way dude can be compared to Wayne in flow, lyrics, versatility, personality, beats right now (Scott Storch and "J.R." Rotem Dre knockoffs are not hot,) anything.

Trey Stone said...

and the idea that C3 is just "OK" only further confirms my suspicions of the rapbloggerati as over-analytical rap nerds. not that it's entirely a bad thing, but c'mon now. it's not a crime for a rapper to be entertaining (and sound damn good at it) and not aspire to make any "powerful statement" or act like an insecure, geeky non-rapping douche that people mistake for being "down to earth" or "complex" (see: Kidz in the Hall.) the complete disconnect of the reaction to "Lollipop" on the Internet was pretty telling i think. just embrace the goofiness people

Trey Stone said...

i probably should've said nerds instead of rap nerds. i think it's a given that rap blogs are run by rap nerds.

but i'm tired. i wish there was an edit function or something, lol

DocZeus said...

I mean if your arguing that Wayne's a better rapper than Game. I totally completely agree with you but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying Game's albums are better than Waynes which isn't exactly a stretch. I mean let's not pretend that Wayne was making good albums until the Carter II. I mean there are plenty of great lyricists or what not that haven't ever made a classic album. Wayne's in good company.

And for the record, in about six months, people are going to be looking at C3 and thinking to themselves...Eh, this ain't that good, after all. I'm calling it.

Trey Stone said...

nah but i want you to explain how exactly Game's albums are good. cuz like i said i think Doc is mediocre with some great standouts and DA is pretty shitty, regardless of any lame personality split he tricked heads/G-Unit haters into thinking was "compelling."

DA doesn't have good hooks, doesn't have truly great beats outside of "Wouldn't Get Far" and "Why You Hate the Game," and has a rapper that's one of the worst, most unoriginal and most laughable emcees right now. and i don't like G-Unit so you can't do one of your "well i think this guy just provokes reflexive hate mmmhmm" deals here.

Trey Stone said...

BTW, i really wanna stop the multiple post correction but my bad if the end of that sounded snarky lol. just wanted to brace myself

Trey Stone said...

while i know it's really because i have nagging douche tendencies (what can i say, sometimes it's necessary) i'll still take the silence as a tacit admission that Game is one of the worst and the most unoriginal, derivative rapper today and Doc was only OK because of Jimmy Iovine/Dr. Dre/Curtis money

DocZeus said...

"while i know it's really because i have nagging douche tendencies (what can i say, sometimes it's necessary) i'll still take the silence as a tacit admission that Game is one of the worst and the most unoriginal, derivative rapper today and Doc was only OK because of Jimmy Iovine/Dr. Dre/Curtis money"

Jeez, man. I do have other things to do with my life than defend the Game but uh, ok... the Documentary and the Doc's Advocate are two immaculately produced albums. I mean say what you want about the Game but he has one of the best ears in the business for beats.

In terms of his rapping, yeah his name dropping is frustrating and uber annoying and is a crutch but I just was listening to a couple of the G-Unit diss tracks this weekend and Game is a DAMN fine battle rapper. 300 Bars is probably the best diss record since Ether/Takeover.

When Game is angry or pissed off, he's a good rapper. Not the most original but a good rapper.

Trey Stone said...

don't lie Doc, i know you sit on the computer all day scheming new questionable arguments for that real shit

nah but really, let me see if i can use my scientific analysis here..."Westside Story" good, "Dreams" not, "Hate It" great, "Higher" not, "How We Do" good, "Don't Need Your Love" and "Church for Thugs" blah, "Put You on the Game" retarded hot, and the rest of the album save "We Ain't," "Don't Worry" and "Like Father, Like Son" really isn't something i ever want to go back to.

DA has really generically "hot" beats that only people who wouldn't know good mainstream production if it bit 'em think are great. i mean "Wouldn't Get Far" and "Why You Hate the Game" are nice and the opener and "One Night" are OK, but the rest? nah. you yourself have rightfully dissed Storch and "J.R." Rotem is like an even worse Dre/Storch knockoff. worst Swizz Beat ever, will.i.am being diet hard, etc. etc. really not all that special.

C3 i think you could make a lot more of an argument for "immaculate prodution" save "Got Money" and "Comfortable" (which i like but anyway.) the beats aren't cinematic in that Jay-Z way but they're still great and perfectly tailored to Wayne's style

Trey Stone said...

oh, and i should've probably mentioned. "300 Bars" is hot? c'mon man...i guess if his aim was to have a way-too-long diss record that's not at all justified considering there's just about no memorable quotables, then yeah. that song is all the proof you need of Game being one of the dullest motherfuckers around, he doesn't even interact with his beats, he jut rambles over 'em.

50 Cent got him by mimicking his voice on "Not Rich, Still Lyin'." believe it

David said...

Whoa, someone else who likes "Get Buck" as much as I do! Amazing! I actually like the single version better than the album version, because the beat is slightly different, has some very minor tweaks.

Chus said...

More information!: Rapper THE GAME

504 lyfe said...

What the fuck does that mean hes a southern rapper so he had to suck?? The south has the best rappers in tha game now.. Quit listenin to that radio shit and find some buck mixtapes and bump on that for a while