Buck 65‘s Situation is his most coherent, thoroughly masterful and enjoyable album to date. It’s filled with the retro-eclectic themes and masterful rhymecraft that Buck 65 has become admired for while remaining essentially fun, inventive and fresh. This is a superbly smart, sexy, playful and observational collection of tracks.

Loosely based around the year 1957, there’s a complex nest of ideas within these songs and an underlying longing for a return of the creative and subversive cultural explosion Buck 65 perceives in the counter-cultural events of that year. He sees himself as a cultural observer and this comes through in so many plays on historical and present events and norms. Betty Paige, beatniks, film noir, hip hop, regional wrestling, pornography and hobos collide and form an unlikely thematic storm that is never unwieldy, but rather seems perfectly pieced together.

Buck 65 performing “Dang” from Situation live in Halifax
(I was lucky enough to be there for the taping)

Buck 65’s take on cyclical rebellion is worth exploring in addition to the music, so check out this recent Pitchfork interview where he explains the album’s genesis.

The more I began to look at it, I began to come to the conclusion that arguably, culturally, in modern times– certainly in the West– maybe it’s the most important year in history. And I think [1957] really has had a way of shaping the way we see the world and our expectations of art and pop culture. I think it’s really subconscious for a lot of us, but the fact that it was exactly 50 years ago– and to compare and contrast where we are now compared to then– it’s just all really interesting stuff. It gave me a lot to think about, and it resulted in a record.

We all love to look back and reflect on how exciting that time was, how exciting 1977 was, how exciting it was when Nirvana came along– these are the sorts of things that really get peoples’ blood running and we still like to talk about it. It becomes a very romantic thing for us. And I think we’re waiting for it, sometimes almost to a fault.
But having said all that stuff, and having made all these statements with this record, the last thing I would ever assume or try to position is me being that person. I’m just here to provide food for thought; I like to think of myself as a cultural observer, like everybody else. I’m not the man for the job. I’m expecting it and wanting it and hoping for it just as much as anybody else.

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