Long known for being the realest, most gutter member of glory day G-Unit, Young Buck has travelled a long road since parting ways with 50 Cent on less than amicable terms. Determined not to remain a hostage under his own record deal, Buck has managed to independently release his third LP, The Rehab. The low-budget situation is quite the contrast from his earlier efforts, as this is noticeably absent of any big name producers and features. However it is all targeted to play in Buck’s favor because, similarly to Game’s Doctor’s Advocate, this is his post G-Unit opportunity to show the world that he can still make respectable music without 50’s dough and influence behind him.
Listeners of his previous projects know exactly what is coming before the first track starts. Surprising no one, tales of lavish spending, bravado, and stories of his struggles comprise of the vast majority of the lyrical content. Still, on tracks such as “When The Rain Stops,” Young Buck is able to successfully use a new mellow, underground sound under his husky vocals to concoct some head-bopping ear candy that shows that he does still does have the ability to make a hit record.
However, the album is plagued with several forced joints that prevent it from taking off the runway. For example, on “This is Mine” Buck experiments with the ill-fated “it’s going down, basement” flow that Big Sean Drake promised to dump in a retirement home, and as expected it’s a disaster. Also, it would appear that Buck didn’t get Hov’s message that Auto-Tune is now resting in peace, because on “Not Killing Me,” he attempts to create an electro-melodic sounding hook, and predictably his gruff and baritone vocals just don’t mesh well with that sound. Additionally, without any features to provide some variation, Buck is forced to be the sole entertainer throughout the album. Unfortunately his versatility is considerably limited, and his one-dimensional subject matter on genericism like “Ya Betta Know It” and “Smoke Our Life Away” ring a little too hollow to be taken seriously. It would seem that Young Buck is suffering from a severe lack of creativity as the latter half of the album wears thin and becomes repetitively dull with a stagnant sounding flow and dreary lyrics.
Overall, a less than stellar production exposes Young Buck’s shortcomings as an emcee, revealing an extremely limited supply of content and flow. Perhaps an actual rehab could help revitalize Young Buck before his career regression rides him all the way into the dirt. Through all of his boasting and bragging, it’s apparent that he needs 50 Cent now more than ever.