Buck 65 Square

[Warner Bros.; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: weird collage rap
Others: Anticon, Sixtoo, MC Shan

Have you ever been stuck within a square, you know, not thinking outside the box? You may never want to leave this box once you have a listen to Buck 65’s Square. The album is comprised of 4 tracks ranging from 14 to 17 minutes long.  Each track contains its own level of individuality and complexity. That is where Buck 65 intends to take you; within the parameters of each emotion without excess.  In the box we go.

Buck 65 a.k.a. Rich Terfry has been in the hip hop game for a long time. If you haven’t heard of him, its because he remains within his boundaries. He produces, raps and does basically everything related to his album releases. He is constantly roaming the underground (the Canadian underground?!) telling tales of ex-girlfriends, searching for the perfect beat, groupie girls and much more. Square does not stray away from his homegrown recipe but moves him out from the shadows to a badly lit back road. Each song contains fragments of gritty hip hop, one of a kind beats and laid back vocals.  But Square is most powerful is in its limited accessibility. It is the first true sign that Buck 65 wants to be heard. The only thing is that you must travel within his ‘square’ to fully understand what he is telling you. 

"Square One" starts with an intro reminding us of where the art of hip hop originated, continued with a slow tempo tainted with a droning organ noise while Buck 65 banters about hard times. Buck takes no time to switch his tempo and continues throughout the album sending us on a beat driven roller coaster ride. He incorporates many sounds ranging from strings, piano and guitar loops to old school beats and jazz. With these arrangements, Square reached its peak at nine minutes of "Square One." From there, the album steadily drives forth until the closing moments.

Square is a good introduction to Buck 65’s complex personality. His lyrics are both diverse, intriguing and honest and his self-produced beats are the perfect evidence that he spends a lot of time crate digging. He has become a model in the world of underground hip hop without traveling outside his personal square (even though he has just signed with Warner). His love for hip hop is evident and he wants to show you the true meaning of underground.  No gun toting, no champagne sipping, just pure love for an art form that has been growing steadily in the last few years.  But for Buck 65, let’s hope underground hip hop does not grow too big to force him out of his box. 1. Square One
2. Square Two
3. Square Three
4. Square Four