Buck 65 conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Buck 65: Traveling In The Right Direction

August 2005

Sitting down with Buck 65 is always something to look forward to, if only to watch the record label reps squirm as we ruin the day's schedule for interviews. Mr. 65 doesn't like giving short, blunt empty answers and is an interviewers dream, always expanding and answering questions as fully as he can.

He recently released his most critically acclaimed work to date "Secret House Against The World" and is now working on two books which he feels will be his next projects. The books have been on the backburner for a year due to touring, but soon he'll begin trying to bring them through to fruition.

MVRemix: Two months ago, I interviewed Prince Paul. We talked about various things and out of them you came up... He mentioned how on his next album he'd really like to work with you, that he really liked your stuff and such. How did the two of you end up meeting?

Buck 65: Well, we went on tour together. I got asked to go out on the Handsome Boys Modeling School tour and really didn't know what to expect out of that experience at all. Admittedly, and considering myself a music fan before I can think of myself as someone who really belongs in this world. I just didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet Prince Paul and ask him some questions and Dan [The Automator] too. I mean just to start the conversation, the "Dr. Octagon" album and "3 Feet High & Rising" - I think pretty much unquestionably you've got two of the top ten Hip Hop records of all time. I might even put them in a top 5 or go as far as maybe Buck 65 Intervieweven three. So these guys were royalty to me. I didn't know what to expect from their show because obviously that's a real eclectic project. Handsome Boys Modeling School could've been a whole lot of different things and I really wasn't sure how I'd be received by their audience because you never really know for sure. But in the end, it was a really great experience. We really hit it off and we've kept in touch ever since. So hopefully in September, we'll get together in New York and throw some things against the wall.

MVRemix: Yeah, he was basically talking about how he did want to get something done with you. But the last project he did was a selection of beats from older stuff. It wasn't really a focused thing...

Buck 65: Yeah. He's a very complex guy and I have the feeling that. Well just put it this way, from what I can see and I don't know how many people would argue with me but lets just say I'm a pretty open minded guy and I have the feeling that someone like Prince Paul is a very musically adventurous guy and maybe doesn't everyday meet someone who's really willing to try out some ideas. I think that's maybe the sense he got from me. Here's someone where we can really explore some things and do some really interesting stuff. So of course I look forward to an opportunity like that. Here, I'll show you something pretty exciting... for a geek like me anyways.

[Buck pulls out his wallet and flips to Prince Paul's business card]

I got his card. I've been carrying it around since the last day of the tour. At one point and I was hoping that he didn't think I was being facetious, but I said, "You know I'm sure you hear this all the time, but I really appreciate the work that you did on the In Full Gear album," which I also think is a classic. "For that matter, the On Fire album." He looked at me funny and said, "I absolutely do not hear that everyday. He's a guy with a lot of pretty impressive stories. I don't know if he was telling you that the first Gravediggaz was actually recorded way before it actually came out...

MVRemix: Branching off of the reason that he said he liked your style, with your last album (Secret House Against The World) was the eclectic variety a focused effort or was it down to you recording a lot then putting them together?

Buck 65: I've had a few ideas motivate me in the last couple of years. But by way of explaining now, I'll kind of explain the way things were before. One thing I was guilty of, and I think a lot of rappers are guitly of this is just kind of randomly putting together rhymes and beats. I produce myself and so I've really got no excuse. I know a lot of emcees out there, and anyone that's interested in Hip Hop out there has had debates about this. There are some emcees out there that are just no discerning at all when it comes to the production. They'll rap over anything. If I was more of an asshole I'd name names but you hear one great rapper who has been on one album that's classic, where the music is incredible. And another one where it's just crap, it's shit, and you think to yourself, "What's he doing? Doesn't he know better?" But to an extent, most of us are guilty of that kind of thing. I would make both endeavours pretty separately. You know, write rhymes one moment, make beats another moment but rarely kind of thinking about the two things at once. Then play match up based on some strange criteria afterwards. But what I've been trying to do in the last few years is take more of an actual songwriters approach to putting music together where it has to be a marriage that makes sense.

So when I was working on the most recent album, I was working on a song called "Blown Back," which is a really kind of heavy self-loathing kind of thing. So I though, "Okay, there's a spirit in these lyrics and I don't want to just random throw these lyrics over some beat. I've got to make this beat match. I mean what is the lyric suggesting?" What if you heard this acapella, what kind of music would you hear in your head? Its got to be an angry, aggressive thing so that has more been the story. I have a background as a DJ and not just a Hip Hop DJ or a Turntablist, but just out of the necessity of where I came from - an everything kind of DJ. I mean I've DJ'ed weddings and everything else. Just being a conscientious DJ I really wanted to collect as well-rounded a record collection as I possibly could. But without just wanting to rape and pillage these records, I was really listening and over the course of time gaining a bit of appreciation for all sorts of different stuff. So I've got a lot of sounds swimming around in my head, just a lot of things I can draw from. One moment that might be a rock kind of sound, or another moment it might be a quieter kind of thing. I mean I've written songs where I don't see drums on this. That may be seen as a sac-religious thing to some Hip Hop people because the drums is kind of like the cornerstone, but there's also a side of me that says "Why not push the limits of this and explore other things?" I understand the idea of staunchly, religiously sticking by a certain code. I've done that a lot myself but sometimes I've said if I want to grow and if I want to see the music grow, we have to dig down below the surface and just explore what the possibilities are. There are some areas where I absolutely won't compromise whatsoever. But I just never want to inhibit my desire to explore all the possibilities.

>>> continued...

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