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Saturday, April 9, 2011

That Song on the Radio is Nice

Gather round the fire children, for I've a story to tell.

It's the year 2000. The fear and anxiety of the New Year has dissipated, we have emerged from imminent technological doom unscathed* and it is summer. I was young, I was haphazardly ambitious, and I wanted to work at church camp. So I did.

17 years of religious experience had led me to this place of eager proselytization. I had been called by a higher power to the shores of the Northumberland Straight to save the souls of children through songs about little red wagons and games of manhunt. By the end of the summer only one girl had listened to my pleas of soul surrender but that was enough for me.

Cut to 11 years later and I feel a familiar call.

Children, let me tell you about a man with redemptive powers. A man with the power to heal the souls of the broken, soften the hearts of the hard**, open the eyes of the blind and cause the lame to boogie. A man long ignored and held back by the mainstream media that controls the airwaves and intertubes. A man, children, who cannot be ignored. I am here to unveil this city on a hill and to start a revolution in the world.

Children, this man is the legendary Buck 65.

A by-product of living a self-enforced life of piety is a poor taste in music and lack of exposure*** to what the cool kids had on cassette. I listened to a lot of DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline (not that there's anything wrong with that), so needless to say my tastes have only matured in recent years.

Point is there's this really excellent hip hop artist from just outside my current hometown, and in case you haven't heard of him I'd like to lay it all down.

Buck 65 has been known as such for a long time, and well before 50 Cent came into the picture. So imagine my surprise when I listened to a track and discovered he's not a parody artist. In fact, one thing that sets Mr. 65 apart from the hip hop crowd of modern generations is his distinct lack of gangsterism. He's a white kid from the country and to admit otherwise would be dishonest. I can't do a better job of outlining his life and career than wikipedia so go there for more deets.****

Would you like to hear a track or two? Let me guide you.

I'm not sure what song I heard first, but this was likely one of them. In fact, I'm almost sure it is:

Some other lovely older tracks to round out the picture: Wicked and Weird (2003), Kennedy Killed the Hat (2005), and Way Back When (2007).

So last night I get home after a great day of visiting friends to find myself over caffeinated and oddly melancholic. I end up heading over to my playlist at CBC Radio 3 and much to my delight I rediscover the song I most recently added: Whispers of the Waves feat. Gord Downie*****. I'll let Buck introduce it. 

This song guys. I can't even. I've listened to it 5 times this morning, and I'm not into repeats. The following youtube video is terrible, but you can watch it if you feel so moved. May I humbly recommend following THIS LINK NOW for a superior audiophyllic experience. Terrible quality video here for your convenience: 

Whispers of the Waves is the third track on Buck 65's latest album entitled "20 Odd Years" - representing a rough estimation of the length of Buck 65's tenure as a creator of hip hop. On it are a number of collaborations with talented Canadian artists including Jenn GrantHanna Georgas and Nick Thorburn (I encourage you to look those kids up as well). I've listened to all of it, and while hip hop isn't always my jam this stuff most definitely is. It feels creative and open, and free from the chains of trying to "make it", though I'm not sure he was ever really that concerned with success. 

I want you to listen to all of it, so below is a list of the tracks linking to the best place to listen online. Edited to add: Just noticed CBC Radio 3 doesn't let you click back to come back so open in a new tab or a smoother experience.

20 Odd Years - Buck 65 (2011)

  1. "Superstars Don't Love"
  2. "Gee Whiz" (ft. Nick Thorburn)
  3. "Whispers of the Waves" (ft. Gord Downie)
  4. "Paper Airplane" (ft. Jenn Grant)
  5. "Stop" (ft. Hannah Georgas)
  6. "Zombie Delight"
  7. "Tears of Your Heart" (ft. Olivia Ruiz)
  8. "Cold Steel Drum" (ft. Jenn Grant)
  9. "Who By Fire" (ft. Jenn Grant)
  10. "She Said Yes"
  11. "BCC" (ft. John Southworth)
  12. "Lights Out"
  13. "Final Approach" (ft. Marie-Pierre Arthur)

I was just going to end there, but you should really listen to "Who by Fire" as well. It's a cover of the Leonard Cohen song and it's super great:

*"Even Russia?" My grandmother exclaimed in shock and dismay as the midnight hour rang out in time zones ahead of ours. Shock because, really? Russia made it? And dismay that the months of planning, bean can buying and gasoline stockpiling were for naught. "Ah well", she thought to herself, "At least we have all this wine."
**It is most definitely, what she said.
***Though I would sneak a listen to my sister's copy of Big Shiny Tunes (the first one).
****It hasn't been updated in a while, so there isn't much info on his most recent release.
*****Not related but oh but how I wish!

Disclaimer: I would never presume that you haven't heard of Buck 65 because you're all very hip people (and I don't mean that tritely) who know music. But, just like that girl who's soul I plucked from the pit of hell, maybe one of you doesn't know Buck, and that children, is why I'm here


  1. principal enchmanApril 9, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    I didn't really dig the artist, BUT I must say Evelyn, this is an excellently written post. Top notch writing! Good job!

  2. Rejected Jeff Dunham PuppetApril 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    I love Buck 65, specially the weirder, more depressing stuff. It reminds me of some of what Kanye & Kid Cudi are doing now (as far as the beats go). Trufax: he's also they guy dancing with Feist in the Inside & out Video.

  3. Rejected Jeff Dunham PuppetApril 9, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Sorry, The One Evening video.

  4. I don't know Buck 65, but I am totally down with DC Talk!

  5. Both me and my mother are very fond of Buck 65. He's that kind of rapper (in a good way! My mum's cool!).
    While we're on the subject of promoting Canadian hip hop...the CBC recently hosted a Canadian hip hop summit, culminating in a supergood concert in Toronto, hosted than none other than Mr. 65. They released it as a podcast as well...might I politely suggest that every single one of you download it here?

  6. Thanks gobblegirl. I was going to mention that but forgot! I have only heard Fresh Maestro Wes doing the Back Bone Slide with Shad... great stuff :)

  7. Never in a million years did I, or would ever have, imagine(d) that someone would reference DC Talk on MOBFD.

    I listened to them. I saw them in concert, which is only slightly less embarrassing than admitting to having seen Carmen in concert. (I can't bring myself to explain who that is, BUT, if you are dying to know there is always Google).

    At the time my parents were very strict about me only being able to listen/own christian music. Consequently my knowledge of christian rap (and music in general) is rather vast. At least up until 1999 or thereabouts.

  8. OF COURSE I know who Carmen is!