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Buck 65

Not to minimize Buck 65's abilities as a rhymer, but it must be said: the greatest thing this man has brought to contemporary hip-hop is dirt. There's dirt and noise and grime and spilled drinks all over Buck's records, and his rough, full-throated voice is just part of it. The production work on Situation is among his dirtiest, with distorted drums, fuzzy bass lines, and ... shit, there's even a scratchy record at the beginning of "Way Back When." Situation finds Buck 65 going old-school — all the way back to the '50s. With rhymes that theoretically combine to make Situation a concept album about 1957, Buck creates a number of dark and desperate characters to tell a wide array of seldom-uplifting stories. "Mr. Nobody" is the most obviously creepy, being about a man "hiding in the bushes," but the dead-ender protagonist of the following cut ("The Rebel") is more extravagantly dark. Coming up with a batch of sublime, intricate lyrics and organic, challenging sounds to follow up 2005's incredible Secret House Against the World album was a tall order; with Situation, Buck 65 more than fills it.

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