Young Buck is “Straight Outta Ca$hville” – a place that seems to only pack guns, violence, drugs, money, and oddly-placed “Kill Bill” samples into a space known more for its guitar-wielding country music legends that its gun-toting hip-hop artists.
While the previous Southern-bias has all but been eliminated from hip-hop (see the success of Lil’ Jon, Outkast, etc.), fans of metropolitan East coast hip-hop will be surprised by G-Unit’s Buck, a charismatic, if not cocky and brash, Southern-drawled rapper with a chip on his shoulder and a style comparable to mentor 50 Cent. While no lyrical genius by any standards, Buck’s performances are less punchline (unlike labelmate Lloyd Banks) and more punch with a knack for all the aforementioned evils. Still, his limited range of topics quickly grow thinner than rumors of Elvis still roaming Nashville, with the result being the stale “Ca$hville.”
Buck’s lead single, the rebellious and overtaking “Let Me In,” clears the way for the Tennessee rapper to welcome himself into the hip-hop game as he breaks down the Southern stereotypes and demands attention from the radio. The bouncy Sha Money XL production of “Do It Like Me” continues the trend of breaking down the walls with Buck rapping, “I know I got a dirty mouth, b---h I’m from the South, I’m nothin’ like what you done seen or what you done heard about!”
In other spots, Buck chooses to more or less emulate his predecessor as one of the two Dr. Dre production efforts on the album “I’m A Solider” and the drug-hustling anthem “Bonafide Hustler” both feature guest appearances from 50 Cent over beats that sound like they would be chosen by the G-Unit ringleader. The former track is a hard-knocking Buck tale proclaiming his realness on the streets of his nicknamed hometown Ca$hville, Ten-A-Key. Also, check the Tony Yayo “Bonafide Hustler” verse as he flips an unimaginable amount of illegal drugs into the highest verse since Dre’s “Chronic” days.
Too often, however, Young Buck relies on generic topics to fill out an album already overdosing on violent tales of hustling crack and busting guns. The robbery theme of “Black Gloves,” paid hits done on “Taking Hits,” and less-than-stellar guest appearance by Stat Quo on “Walk With Me” (not to mention the waste of a Dre beat) all drag the second half of the album into destitution. Even the at-first clever Nancy Sinatra sample on “Bang Bang” (which gained fame in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”) grows into a novelty act that does not stand the test of more than a few listens.
Lil’ Jon’s underwhelming production on “Shorty Wanna Ride,” compiled with Buck’s rundown of his car game spells for a surprising disaster, as not even a fellow Southern producer can save Buck from spiraling into monotony and tediousness.
Even “Stomp,” which originally included T.I. and Ludacris, who both coincidentally exchanged disses on the track, has been stripped of T.I. here and replaced with G-Unit West artist The Game. Not only does Game’s verse not fit, it virtually sounds as if it was lifted from a completely different song and accidentally dropped in the Rubber-Band Man’s place. Not even a strong Ludacris guest spot saves this from transforming into “Ca$hville” filler.
“They shoulda never let me in,” Young Buck rhymes on “Let Me In,” solidifying himself as a member of G-Unit and the hip-hop community. Then again, maybe Ca$hville should not have let him “straight outta” there. Young Buck is young enough to grow as a hip-hopper and sharp enough to recognize his own hit-making ability. But first, the black gloves and “other” hits must go away and go away fast before Buck gets buried beneath the guitars and ghosts of Nashville’s past.