Worthwhile country rock 

CD Review

Buck 65
This Right Here is Buck 65
V2 Records

Buck 65 may not be the first artist to try to blend country and hip-hop, but he’s possibly the first to do it successfully. Without ever resorting to redneck shtick, Buck’s songs evoke backwoods small town life in a manner that makes one imagine Rakim born and raised in the South and given a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings records. These may sound like lofty comparisons, but Buck 65’s ability to tell a story, create a mood and cleverly turn a phrase justifies association with greatness.

Most of the songs on This Right Here is Buck 65 are newly recorded versions of material from Buck 65’s six previously released albums. Topically, Buck 65 moves from a serious look at incest and rumors in a small town (“Cries a Girl”) to playful fantasy (“Centaur”). He even throws in an adaptation of Woody Guthrie’s “Talkin’ Fishin’ Blues,” a tune few rappers would ever think of covering, let alone have the ability to pull off successfully.

This Right Here is Buck 65 is an atmospheric album where pedal steel guitar mingles with subdued drum beats like the moon cutting through clouds over a swamp. On top of it all, Buck 65’s weathered delivery sounds like “the man with no name” has joined the Anticon collective. Not only does this album introduce a major underground talent to the mainstream, it’s also an excellent album in its own right. It’s hard not to be mesmerized by the pictures Buck 65 vividly paints with his words and music.

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