In the video for “Go All Out,” Eddie Murphy’s brother Charlie Murphy and Buckshot take a stab at Buck’s backpack, now infamously associated with the term “backpacker.” Charlie claims he was Buck’s inspiration to sport the accessory in the 1993 “Who Got The Props” video, but I highly doubt that. Here I go dropping my old man again but I remember that backpack fad (See Method Man – Yo! MTV Raps Finale Episode) and seeing heavy doses of kids rocking their Jansport’s. Class apparently was not the destination.
Influence can be a mother and one of those kids watching that “Props” video was 9th Wonder. Maybe he rocked a backpack too but while developing his own niche as a beat smith, you can’t argue his influence by the Boot Camp sound (He’s admitted he can recite Buckshot lines from memory). Evidently this is proven from Buckshot & 9th Wonder on The Formula (Duck Down).
On collaboration numero dos, 9th drills in his sample heavy loops, later soothing it out over Buck’s hard vocals. The BDI Thug maintains his “L in his hand” bravado, floating over a beat in his signature cadence. Overall, the score is uniform; melodies are laid back throughout. Stand out cuts include the Talib Kweli featured, “Hold It Down,” the aforementioned “Go All Out,” and the feel good fuck-you track in “Throwing Shade.”
Vocally, Buckshot can come off as the straight man in a comedy team; punch lines hit but if you’re not inept, you may not realized he just clowned you. On “The Future,” he throws jabs spitting, “I know the rest is redundant/I know some of your LP’s standing for ‘Long Punishment’.” Reflective in this cut, he sends a message to the rookies to come correct. But how bout for himself? Chick songs like “Just Display” miss its mark, mainly because Buck is a better straight up emcee. There’s a feeling like there just something missing.
9th Wonder is no question talented producer, but overall, this particular “formula” is not the full extent of what he’s capable of. Don’t get me wrong 9th joints knock, but the continuity of the sound on The Formula seems so similar, you can get lost in the shuffle. Maybe I’m being too picky, but in the age of the producer getting as much light as the emcee, the appetite for bangers is larger. There are a lot of ill tracks but I’m looking for that OMFG cut-that isn’t here.
Instead of picking up where Chemistry left off, The Formula goes in its own direction. In my utopian idea of LP perfection, I would love cuts off the former album like “No Comparison” and “Side Talk” coupled with the recent tracks like “Hold It Down” and “Go All Out.” Selfishly making my own idea for this album, maybe this is a reflection of our mp3 playlist driven mentality.
Perhaps I’m coming up with my own “formula.”
Listen to “Hold It Down” Featuring Talib Kweli & Tyler Woods