On “Let Me In,” the first single from Nashville rapper Young Buck’s debut album, concealed weapons, underage drinking, and brazen flossing are the order of the day. Foes are shouted down; diamond-encrusted burners are waved. Even Buck’s G-Unit boss, 50 Cent, goes back to the well, intoning”Go shorty / We back up in this bitch again.” As the beat-part J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” part the Clipse’s “Grindin'”-thumps along,you’re thinking, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Then, out of nowhere, Buck exclaims, “My daddy’s a dope fiend / And I don’t really miss him /Ain’t seen him in ten years!” Then, as punctuation, he drops in a barbaric yawp of an ad-lib: “Fuck him!”Buck, born David Brown, possesses a delivery that’s a voodoo stew of Tupac and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and that unhinged growl powers Straight Outta Cashville. Scarily single-minded in its depiction of a violent man coming of age, it’s cut from the same cloth as go-for-broke debuts like Nas’Illmatic, Biggie’s Ready to Die, and Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt-records by rappers who didn’t expect a second chance. Cashville isn’t as powerful as those classics; for one thing, Buck can’t resist hack lines like “I’m throwing up this Hennessy /And blowin’ up my enemies.” But it’s still one of the most uncompromising mainstream rap discs in recent memory-track after track of empty shells, chalk outlines,wasted nights, and wasted youth.
On “Black Gloves,” Buck snaps, “I’m’raw’ spelled backwards, that’s what I’m gonna bring,” as his voice rises to a boil. “Welcome to the South” pairs him with Lil’ Flip and the reliably bonkers David Banner over producer Red Spyda’s Vangelis-south-of-the-Mason-Dixon keyboards. But he sounds most assured on “Bang Bang.” Producer Needlez, who obviously enjoyed Kill Bill: Volume I a great deal, loops the reverbed guitar line from the Nancy Sinatra tune that opened that movie,along with Sinatra’s coo, as a black-velvet backdrop for Buck’s morbid meditations (“It’s in us all / You just gotta find it and use it”). It’s a quiet song-too quiet, as if all hell’s about to break loose.And it’s a fitting sound for an album about dying with your boots on.