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Talkin' Honky Blues

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Album Review

It's accepted practice to regard Buck 65 as a hip-hop artist, but there's very little in common between most modern hip-hop and Talkin' Honky Blues — the album title itself is a dead giveaway. Instead of jazzy or funky backing tracks, most of the tracks here crib heavily from country, which is where the "honky" comes in: this is the sort of thing that Buck 65 grew up with and what influenced him. Lyrically, the material is very much of a sort — old cars, old trash, old boats, and Buck's old man — and in the end the whole thing is more reminiscent of Tom Waits for the hip-hop crowd, or at the very outside, a beat poetry album with hip hop beats. That's because there's a lot of time spent on the words; even when you're not quite sure about some of the specifics, Buck has a real knack for drawing a picture, sketching out sketchy characters, and filling out the dark corners of both houses and relationships. There was more time spent on this album than on the earlier releases — nearly a year instead of the usual two weeks, according to the video found on the enhanced portion of the album — and Buck actually had a band with him in the studio when these tracks were laid down (instead of relying solely on his turntables and production skills). That extra time and input have paid off. "Wicked and Weird" is told from the perspective of someone who's been on the road too long and plans to be there for a little longer; "Roses and Bluejays" looks at the similarities between father and son, including the good, the bad and the weird; most poignant is "Tired Out," where Buck reflects on the aftermath of cheating on a girlfriend. Buck 65's approach does get samey over the course of the album, though (and really, with seven of the album's 18 cuts revisiting the "Riverbed" theme, maybe variety isn't the intention), making the standouts more like the rest stops along the way. After all, even if you like going on road trips, sometimes you have to pull over to the side for a rest.

Biography

Born: 1972 in Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Born in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Richard Terfry (aka Buck 65, Stinkin' Rich) spent the majority of his adolescence as a self-described b-boy. He eventually moved to Halifax in 1989, where he founded a seminal hip-hop show on local college radio. The program (dubbed The Bassment) helped Terfry cement his status as Halifax's premier hip-hop head; inch by inch, artist collaborations, production duties, and club residencies soon followed. During this time, Terfry dabbled with mike duty, often to...
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Talkin' Honky Blues, Buck 65
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