6 August, 2014@4:35 am
Buckshot Shorty was arguably the first rapper to rock a backpack as a fashion statement, way back in 1993′s video for Black Moon’s “Who Got Da Props?” This seminal track would be the first brick laid in the building of the Boot Camp Clique and the Duck Down Records empire, a year before the release of the group’s classic debut, Enta Da Stage. Buck has been a longtime purveyor of Brooklyn bred, “backpack” rap, with only one strange misstep early in his solo career; that is when he released an album under the alias, Buckshot Da B.D.I. Thug. But even this album had its merits, introducing a young Just Blaze to the world.
Although Buck is one of the few artists that have been able to bob-and-weave through this game, constantly reinventing himself, yet still able to keep his core fanbase in tact. For his last three consecutive “solo” projects, Buckshot has teamed with producer 9th Wonder, for the trilogy of Chemistry, The Formula, and The Solution. On his latest album, he teams with a relatively unknown producer from New Zealand by the name of P-Money. Who is this kid? And can he live up to the precedent set by his predecessors, The Beatminerz and 9th Wonder? As a matter of fact, Backpack Travels might be Buckshot’s best work in years.
While Buck refers to himself on this album as a “backpack rapper with a mainstream flow”, that might not be the most accurate description for the longtime emcee. His controversial debate with Hot 97′s Ebro made for good reality TV (er… YouTube), however the truth of the matter is, there’s not much on Backpack Travels that would fit in between Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and Drake’s “0 To 100″. And that’s a good thing.
Producer P-Money has brought out the best in Buckshot, who is still very lyrically, physically fit, even at this stage in his career. His precise delivery and witty wordplay quickly remind us why we loved him in the past, even if cats try to act like that’s ancient history.
From the brief “Crown (Intro)”, Buck stakes his claim as the “Backpack Don”, a title a bit more attainable than say, “King of New York”, and he plays that role well. Enlisting Pro Era’s Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly for “Flute”, its clear that even the new generation respects his legacy.
Tracks like “Just Begun” and “Red Alert” have a decidedly retro, 90′s boom bap vibe to them, and Buck’s presence here suggests that era never ended. The clever “Killuminati” is finds P-Money channeling early Premier and Showbiz beats, as Buck lays to rest all wild rap conspiracy theories. Other times, tracks like “The Choice” and the smoothed out “Sweetest Thing” show P’s knack for digging up classic samples and freaking them accordingly. Its a well put together project that plays solidly throughout.
At a quick playtime of 30 minutes, and ten tracks, there’s little room for filler on Backpack Travels. This is an album that knows exactly what it wants to be, and plays out accordingly, with a consistent flow and groove to the set. While many rappers from Buckshot’s era have long fallen off, some hanging up their mics for good, Buck has instead proven to be a savvy business man that still maintains every ounce of his integrity. Sucka emcees Duck Down.
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