Hip-hop artist Buck 65 gives album a ’50s spin
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What would you expect from a Nova Scotian rapper worth precisely 3.3 times more than 50 Cent?
Don’t bother with Buck 65 — you’ll be wrong. Scrap the slang, the swagger or any sort of hip-hop stereotype. Instead, insert a trucker’s plaid button-up shirt, a tired looking hat and eyes that wander around the coffee shop in search of the best way to describe his homesickness. Most unexpected of all, he’s lonely for a time he never lived in.
Buck 65’s latest record Situation, a conceptionish collection of songs that were inspired by ideals and icons from 1957, plays out like a gritty love letter to Bettie Page, Elvis Presley and anybody ever tagged a rebel.
As his voice is being recorded into an audio file, as a digital camera lies in waiting to snap some high-resolution shots, Buck 65 explains his nostalgia stems from this conviction: Our generation is tumbling down a technology rabbit hole.
“With the Internet, we’re living in a time where what we want is very convenient and we want to have it all at our fingertips,” he says. “Maybe it’s adding a lot. I can see how on one level it’s really great that we can have the history of literature right at our fingertips. But maybe the price we’re paying for that is wonder. Maybe that’s what we’re trading in — our wonder, exploration and discovery.”
Cyberspace is crowded these days, Buck 65 explains, but sheer quantity hasn’t compensated for quality. And in an “anything goes” arena, he doesn’t think there’s anywhere left to go.
“Just look at the idea of a rebel figure,” he says. “Who is that person today? Have we created a world that makes it impossible to even really exist? If a rebel is a person who tears a wall down ... then who is the rebel once all the walls have been torn down?”
Buck 65 is talking about MySpace genius-of-the-minute wonders, and the media orgies that surround pretty young actresses who can’t seem to drive sober. In other words, he’s not sure when our generation will see its next hero.
“I just think we’ve created a few monsters,” he says, “and it’s going to take time to catch up spiritually.”
These are his two cents, anyway. And after that, you’ve still got $1.63 left — enough for a downpayment on a Starbucks yuppieccino as you wirelessly log onto Facebook, everybody alone at their little circular table.