Young BuckStraight Outta CashvilleG Unit/Interscope
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.
Grade: B+See Also: Lloyd Banks, The Hunger for More (G Unit/ Interscope)