Emcee/Beatsmith Derrick Buck delivers seven head-nodding tracks chock full of conscious rhymes and mellow rhythms. His latest EP, “The Way I See It,” is an eclectic assortment of Jazz/ Hip Hop tunes. Aptly titled, this EP is very personal; Mr. Buck shares his views and his life experiences, employing humor and headlines to make his points. While there are dark musical moments, overall, the EP’s ambiance is positive, hopeful, and accurately reflects the scary times in which we live.
“Revolutionary Gospel” opens the EP with dope lyrics about L-I-F-E. Mr. Buck’s rhymes are on point, his delivery is clear and concise, and combined with the smooth flow of the music, it’s easy to just head-bob and cheer the Rev. Buck on as he preaches to the choir. Clever use of reverb on the backup vocals sprinkles a call-and-response church flavor on this offering that lives up to its name. Typical of all of the offerings on this EP, “Greenlight” is a life affirming tune about optimizing what you’ve got. Cussing is kept to a necessary minimum and there is zero violence, misogyny or homophobia. Mellow keys open and close “Greenlight,” and in between, guest artists Drak and Young Riv infuse the hot sauce into this cut that the rest of the EP lacks. Humorous lyrics and passionate vocals overpower the mellow keys but save the tune from drowning. “Back Home” is a sizzling dance tune punctuated by funky sampling and political commentary. Sweet backup vocals, sweeping keys and hearty guitar riffs flow as Derrick spits his views on life in Cali, George Bush, the faltering economy and the lost generation. This cut teases the listener with a hint of Buck unleashed as he finally gets busy with the vocals. “Smove it out:)” is a musical beat down on sellouts and the dumbing down of Hip Hop and is the one track where Derrick Buck really brings it. His passion for Hip- Hop comes through in his tone and his delivery of the lyrics.
Too many Hip-Hop EPs meld into endless grinds of muffled vocals and monotonous beats because artists and engineers fail to mix up the flow. Not the case with “The Way I See It.” Masterfully produced, this EP’s pace varies by the creative placement of songs and thoughtful use of sampling and loop-driven beats. By interjecting perfectly-timed flashes of gospel keys, backup vocals, dashes of high-hat and handclapping, each cut is fresh and distinctively different from the last. Buck needs to let loose; he has the raw talent but holds back the power and range of his voice. Easy-listening Hip-Hop with a jazzy flair is a treat for the ears and offers food for thought, but it’s been done to death. Mix a little drama in the vocals and BAM! “The Way I See It” can be primed for radio rotation. Derrick Buck is an artist who deserves attention and acclaim. Give a listen to “The Way I See It” and be impressed and uplifted. Check him out at http://theglobes.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-i-see-it.