20 September, 2004@12:00 am
What happens when the dirty south collides with Shady/AfterMath? Young Buck is the answer. The silky, southern gold tooth emcee of the G-Unit attempts to put his best foot forward with his release, Straight Outta Cashville. What seems like surefire success in the wake of his G-Unit members rise to the top, may also be his biggest obstacle of attempting to live up to the expectations. Can Young Buck fan the flames that 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks have started with their respective albums? By merging coasts by committing his southern swagger amongst backdrops that can be knocked in Brooklyn, Buck answers a whole lot of questions with his debut.
The album’s first single “Let Me In” shook many a’ booty in the club, but also introduced the G-Unit’s southern soldier to the world as a solo artist. And with an all star cast of producers, including Mr. Porter AKA KonArtis of D12 (“Look at Me Now”) and Red Spyda (“Welcome To The South”) amongst others, Buck further exudes his character and meshing of coasts. Sure, the album doesn’t stray from the soldier tough talk, and at times it can be entertaining. The ridiculously cliched “I’m A Soldier” sets the tone for the album as 50 Cent chimes in with an annoying hook while Buck brings the dirty to it’s crisp sound and menacing strings.
Young Buck is everyman’s southern rapper. He eludes the King of the South discussion, but still plays his way into every gangsters black heart. Just check the intimidating “Black Gloves” where Buck vividly narrates his larger than life hardcore “I’ll take you out the game” gangsta image. The hook alone orchestrates “Black glove, black mask Black shirt, black pants Blue steel, blue vest He dead, you next.” The southern swagger moves with massive persistence on the trunk rattling “Do it Like Me”, where Young fires off, “I’m in my best on the block/ a vest and a glock/ and the rest in my sock/ Unless I was Pac / you won’t see me with a cross on my back/ Gotta do my own thang, can’t copy that cat” Forever playing his position, Buck trades verses with fellow G-Unit cohort, Lloyd Banks, on “Prices On My Head” where the rappers verbalize their understanding of being a part of Hip-Hop’s most wanted…dead or alive. The production throughout the album does a more than adequate job of creating a sound that encompasses the South, but still keeps it gully enough to move units outside of the dirty demographic. And what the hell would a Dirty South artist be without the essential Lil Jon club banger? The club quaking “Shorty Wanna Ride” isn’t exactly like every other Lil Jon joint on the radio, it actually allows Buck to make the song all his own with his country twang. This is Dirty South to the fullest.
The problem with the album is that every time a guest shows up, they blow Buck out of the water. Of course you would expect that from someone like Ludacris who demolishes the pounding “Stomp” complete with scathing T.I. diss. But when Lil Flip and David Banner steal the spotlight from Buck on “Welcome to the South” you begin to wonder who is welcoming who to the south. Even Stat Quo steps to the plate and steals all the food from Young Buck’s table on “Walk With Me.” Buck also has a hard time matching up with the production on the album. The album’s most incredible beat, the haunting “Thou Shall” produced by Bruce Waynne and Dirty Swift, is butchered in so many ways by Young Buck’s stale delivery. On the flipside, a sample that is sure to be jacked by every producer (Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” from Kill Bill) isn’t ruined by Buck, it’s actually ruined by Needlz dry production.
These nagging flaws don’t permit Straight Outta Cashville to move from the shadows of his fellow G-Unit members’ successful albums. Yet it is an album worth copping if you are a G-Unit fan. Buck may not have the one liners of Lloyd Banks or the charisma of 50 Cent, but he possess that certain intangible that keeps him afloat amongst a sea of Southern rappers. And because of that Straight Outta Cashville will still move units no matter what G-G-G-Unit haters may say.
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