Thursday, December 21, 2006

Young Buck Interview

Young Buck isn’t one to blend in with a group. The 25-year-old rapper’s Tennessee twang sticks out like a hitchhiker’s thumb among the New York City slang of his G Unit brethren, yet his lyrical prowess is about as Southern as Philly Cheese Steak.

Even Buck has a hard time labeling his style. “With me being a Southern artist the slang is there automatically,” says Young Buck. “When you put the lyrics with it, you get something that not even I can fucking describe.”

The Nashville native is not nearly as lost for words when speaking on his sophomore album, Buck The World. In fact, he only needs three: “It’s the shit,” says Buck. With production by the likes of Dr. Dre, Jazze Pha, Timbaland and Hi-Tek, Buck is poised to stand out once again, this time in a first quarter stuffed with high-profile rap releases.

Vibe.com chatted with Buck Marley about his beginnings in G Unit, the aftermath of the 2004 VIBE awards, and why some fans have hailed him the Tupac of the South.

Vibe.com: When you first met 50 Cent, Tony Yayo, and Lloyd Banks, they were building up a buzz grinding out mixtapes. When you officially joined the clique did you realize that you would play a major role in something so big?

Young Buck: I didn’t know we would be this big. I was there in the middle of the grind; before 50 even signed with Dr. Dre and Eminem, I was on the outside. To see us grow now and everybody becoming their own fucking artist—I’m proud of everybody. I’m really proud of 50 for the opportunity that he gave me because that’s all I ever wanted from anybody. Even with Cash Money, all I ever wanted from them cats was an opportunity and to let the streets be the judge. 50 was the one who provided that for me, so I’m real thankful and real protective over my homeboy. If somebody chooses to push any kind of line, you know his beef is my beef, on the strength of the opportunity.

It seems like 50 had it planned all along for everything to work out the way it has.

Young Buck: Yeah, this ***** had a plan. And for me, it was just like trusting this ***** with what he’s telling me because I had been burned from that. *****s saying they’ll do this and that for you and then they don’t. That’s how I came up with the “Do It Myself” record.

So your second album, Buck The World, is set to drop early next year. Can you tell me a little bit about the album?

Young Buck: It’s the shit. The content of my album is pretty much based on reality. I base my music around the things that I’m going through in my life. So I’ve been going through situations such as the VIBE awards that the world knows about, and just freak shit that the world don’t know about. I feel like the only way people are going to be a true fan of your music as an artist is if they can pull something from one of these verses we put out and say either “I’m going through that, I know somebody going through that or I don’t want to go through that.” I make my music based around real life in order to get that. That’s why we know that 50’s been show nine times and Eminem got a daughter named Hallie, because they base their music around real life. It lasts longer.

How is it different from your solo debut, Straight Outta Cashville?

Young Buck: It’s totally different than that one. My first album, I feel like I was in a rushed position. I had a date for a solo album and I was really trying to meet it. And at the end of the day, we were on the Rock The Mic tour, so it was the process of getting off the stage, jumping on a studio bus and recording the album. This one, my comfort zone was more laid back. I had more time to create records and really take it there and really decide exactly what I wanted to do with this album. Lyrically, I think I totally stepped my game up. I got a lot of top-name producers from top to bottom, so that made it real easy for me as far as delivering my flows. You’re going to get more features out of this album than you have any G Unit record. And I put my features together on certain records so I could make room for a lot of my solo records.

It’s always seemed like you were more widely considered a G Unit artist from the South than a Southern rapper. Do you agree with that?

Young Buck: I think I’m more looked at as a Southern rapper more than just a G Unit artist. That’s why you see me featured on so many other artists’ records. It’s because they see me more or less as a Southern artist and they respect the brand of G Unit too. In the beginning, I think I was just a totally G Unit artist and now I’ve grown to be a Southern artist.

What’s your take on the snap movement?

Young Buck: I think it’s good. I believe in reinventing myself in the music and I believe in the reinvention of other artists in their music, but just staying the same people that they are. That’s what I do. Snap is something that’s brand new and it’s catchy and the kids like it. The whole dancing thing I think is cool but for me, I think reality rap, real life rap works best. I’ve always lived under the theory that dances get old. You don’t see nobody doing the fucking MC Hammer dance. The same way in snap—you’ll see it now and then after a while it’ll be gone. But the difference is you can always go get you a record like [Tupac’s] “Keep Your Head Up” or “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” which was played so many years ago, and hear that motherfucker every day and bang it. So I feel like that side of me would last longer and I focus more on reality rap than party shit. I do that too, I just don’t make that my focus point.

So it’s safe to say that we might see Young Buck snapping his fingers?

Young Buck: Hell nah. It ain’t safe to say no shit like that. I ain’t gon’ be snapping my fingers on shit. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t, but I ain’t gon’ be snapping my fingers on my motherfucking album. [Laughs]

Some of your fans consider you the Tupac of the South. What kind of influence did 'Pac have on you?

Young Buck: A big one. I started to understand music through Tupac Shakur. I’m just 25 years old, I caught the Tupac and Biggie era, the Run DMC’s, the Kool Mo Dee’s, the NWA’s, I heard it. I started to understand through “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” “Keep Ya Head Up” and “If My Homie Calls.” He was the first artist that I was drawn to and really paid attention to. What I used to get most from Pac was the way that he delivered his message where he could give you the reality and hardship that came along with the street but then deliver you the record like “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Brenda’s Got A Baby.” And that’s a resemblance of my natural character because I’m a ***** that plays a part of this shit out here in these streets, so naturally the hard shit come along with me. You’re going to get that. But I can give you the other side of this shit too. I’m more or less thuggin’ with a conscious. And that’s what mixes it up and makes it all the way right.

Did you do anything to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tupac’s death this year?

Young Buck: Yeah, I smoke a whole lot of weed every day. Every day is an anniversary for Tupac Shakur to me. The 10th anniversary this year, we had a big cookout in the projects and it was crazy. Brought a lot of meat, hung out, popped a few bottles of Patron, smoked and banged his music out of all the cars and shit. That’s my way of kicking it. Right now, as I’m sitting in my car on some real shit, he’s in the fucking CD player right now as we speak. It’s crazy that you even said some shit like that.

Earlier you mentioned the situation at the 2004 VIBE Awards. How did that incident impact you?

Young Buck: I was blessed to walk away from that. I think I walked away from that situation because I didn’t come in that building with that bullshit on my mind, thinking, “I’m fitting to come in here and start something.” I’m coming in there to win an award and check out some of these fine ass women running around. At the end of the day, shit happens though. You know what I’m saying? If I’m in a situation where I feel like my life’s in danger or my loved one’s life is in danger, I’m going to do anything to protect it. I was actually in the back watching the teleprompter when the shit jumped off. I saw it from the teleprompter. And then I came up to the front of the stage to see Dr. Dre tangled all up. The Don don’t have any business being tangled up with nobody. I’m like, ‘Nah man, let me handle that for you.’ Shit got fucked up but I tell everybody, if you ain’t got no money, don’t follow in my footsteps because that shit cost me a lot of money to be able to keep myself out here on these streets. I got a few years of probation (three years) out of it and a whole lot of hours of community service (80 hours) but I’m still here. At the end of the day, P.U.S.H.--Pray Until Something Happens.

Did you gain anything from the whole situation?

Young Buck: I think a lot of people feel like, “now he got Dr. Dre on his album because he jumped in and held Dr. Dre down.” That was kind of funny to me. But I was always a part of Dr. Dre’s shit before the shit popped off. I did some work with Dr. Dre on my first solo project and I worked with him on the G Unit Beg for Mercy project and I was already in plans to work with Dr. Dre on this project. I think that that’s a misconception that I can clear up real quick.
On a side note, I learned that you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make sure everybody will ride for you the same way you’ll ride for them. I got a chance to see a lot of people that say that they’re down, not down and shit like that. But overall, I learned that sometimes it’s cool for me to lay back and let shit happen another way. But at the end of the day, like I said, if I feel in danger or somebody’s life is in danger, I’ma do whatever it takes.

What do you think makes G Unit like no other crew out there?

Young Buck: The real life issues, that makes us totally different. The Ja Rule situations and shit that come along with 50, that shit’s real life. There’s not many rap groups with known real-life issues out there next to G Unit. So that makes us stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of a motherfucking crowd. And then the success individually that’s come along with G Unit. My album went platinum, Banks went platinum and we know how many 50 Cent albums went platinum. I don’t care if Yayo’s album just went gold—he’s got a gold fucking plaque. We grow as artists and good music will always make its mark. At the end of the day, I feel like the whole theory of a label such as G Unit growing up and falling, you don’t ever have to expect to watch us fall—we’ve made too much fucking money in this shit. *****s got enough money to constantly keep trying. If we did fuck up, there’s enough money to heal the wound.

Would you like to say anything else?

Young Buck: Buck The World. Save the pennies and the ones, because this motherfucker’s set to blow up at any time with George Bush in office. Bet on that.

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