One emcee, one producer – the formula that has benefited both emcee and artist in terms of consistency and sound. From Eric B & Rakim to Talib Kweli and Hi Tek, the formula has culminated into near classic records and created, for lack of a better term, Chemistry. For Buckshot and 9th Wonder, this venture is an attempt to resurrect the career of the former Black Moon frontman. For 9th Wonder, this venture looks to further the hype for the wunderkind of producers right before the release of his crew, Little Brother’s, highly anticipated sophomore album The Minstrel Show. With that comes the duo’s collaborative effort, Chemistry.
What makes this release interesting is the fact that 9th Wonder is slowly reaching a new fan base. But because he has released so much material since The Listening, he is being subject to a certain amount of backlash regarding his production (i.e. same snares). But the naysayers may have to keep up their efforts to denounce the ability of 9th, because this critic is still in awe of his sound. His melodic “Slippin” is just another chapter of 9th’s cookbook as well as the album’s intro and Curtis Mayfield vocal sample on “Chemistry 101.” He also incorporates what sounds like someone powering the turntable off in the middle of a sample on the beautiful “I Don’t Know Why” proving that he still has tricks up his sleeve. Sure many of you know a 9th Wonder production when it comes on, but does it make it any less dope? In a nutshell, you pretty much already know what to expect from 9th so either you like it or you don’t.
What needs the most attention is the progress of Buckshot. That is, whether or not he can win over new fans who’s definition of “old school” includes the post Enta Da Stage era. Buckshot still has the swagger that many would expect. On the immodest “No Comparison”, Buck still proves that there isn’t an emcee like him as the gorgeous 9th sample rages along. Buck’s hood narrative “The Ghetto” may not be a new topic to cover ground on, yet is still made entertaining by Buckshot’s signature drawl and solid lyrics. Buck continues with a jaw full of tough talk on tracks like “He’s Back” and “Side Talk” and makes it a point to those who don’t know that he isn’t your average run-of-the-mill emcee. He even joins Phonte for a groovy romp about chicks on “Birdz” as the two trade verses about women in their life. But there are still a few holes in Buckshot’s style. For those who have followed Buck through the years, it pretty much remains the same and you gotta love it or hate it.
With all this being said, Chemistry is a take it or leave it album. Either you love Buckshot’s style and 9th’s production or you don’t. There isn’t much to be said in regards to that except that this is a good, solid hip-hop album, which in the midst of today’s bland hip-hop speaks in volumes.
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