Review Snapshot: The tenth album by the Canadian rapper, Feist's occasional dancing partner, is an unremarkable collection of same-old-same-old beats coupled with dense social-commentary influenced by 1950s seediness. By no means a bad album, but it will only excite that small Venn diagram segment where 'Public Enemy fan' overlaps with 'James Ellroy fan'.
The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10
Not to be confused with Buckcherry, Buck Owens or Eiffel 65, Buck 65 is one of the many aliases of Canadian rapper Ricardo Terfry. If you're not well up on your Canadian rap, you may have seen him dancing romantically with Feist in the video for her breakthrough single 'One Evening'.
'Situation', Terfry's tenth album in twelve years as Buck 65, is a concept album about 1957 - according to a post by Terfry on his MySpace page, "the year that created a legacy that affects the way we live and think fifty years later". So, we have a track called '1957', with others whose words evoke the spirit of James Ellroy's sleazy paparazzi ('Shutterbuggin') and crooked policemen ('Cop Shades'), as well as Betty Page's underground starlet ('Lipstick').
Buck 65 has previously laced his rap with folk and blues sounds, but from start to finish 'Situation' is just old-school socially-conscious hip-hop. 'Old school' means that there's nothing really new or innovative about the sounds on offer here; the beats and instrumentation are fairly run-of-the-mill stuff. You're left listening to 'Situation' purely on the strength of Terfry's rapping - but his deep voice has little personality or variation. He's obviously put a lot into the lyrics in order to create his '50s demi-monde, but that's not enough to sustain interest for a whole album.
Fans of literate, thoughtful rap may like it - but they'll still find that the likes of Jurassic 5 and The Roots do this sort of thing far better.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.
2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).