Buck 65 talks about change

Life has taken a major turn for Canada’s beloved Buck 65 since his milestone record deal with Warner Brothers. Just over a year ago, he often performed in small urban bars with bad sound systems, small audiences and little money. Today his music videos air on Much Music and it’s one sold-out show after another.

With his newest album Talkin’ Honky Blues on CD racks across North America, everything seems hopeful and open, and there is a certain level of pride and excitement the artist himself cannot contain.

"I completed the album a while ago and I didn’t want to be tired of it by the time it comes out so I avoided listening to it for the last several months," he says. "So when it came out, I allowed myself to listen to it with fresh ears like everybody else. Having distanced myself from it, I can say that I am genuinely excited about it. It’s sonically very rich because we got this album mastered at a top facility so it has a real muscular sound to it."

Buck 65’s passion for the improvement of music shines through every track. Like his other releases, many new songs are inspired by emotions and experiences he personally went through.

"I would call art into question if it didn’t mean something to the person who made it," he says. "To me, that just doesn’t make sense. So [my music] means something personal to me, and it always keeps me interested."

Those who listen closely to Buck 65’s lyrics often say they are bizarre, powerful and inspiring. The new disc stands out from his previous rhymes, containing a few bouncier beats and more optimistic lyrics mixed in the middle.

"Most of my albums in the past have been almost exclusively about dark affairs. [They] were made while my mother was really sick and when she died and everything, you just don’t feel like dancing and having fun. I’m certainly not rich now, but I’m not eating out of a garbage can–things are changing and, strangely enough, sometimes I find myself getting to have a bit of fun," he explains. "But even if you listen closely to the lyrics of ‘Wicked and Weird,’ there’s something bittersweet about it.

While making music a personal matter seems extremely important to Buck 65, the desire to do something for the fans has also motivated a change.

"Something I’ve noticed over the years is that if all your music is dark and really slow, that requires a lot of patience on behalf of the audience who do sometimes want to have a good time," he says. "So I thought I would do myself and them a favour by having at least a couple of songs that can lighten things up once in a while. People respond very strongly in a live situation when you want to have some fun and forget about the dark stuff, I just try to be aware of that and not be completely selfish all the time, but I can never shut it off completely."

While candy rap still makes the top 10 of mainstream music, the task is going to be difficult, a prospect that doesn’t seem to worry Buck 65.

"I want to take that on as a challenge. I want to make the guy who teaches music in a university say there’s something to hip hop. I own 10,000 hip hop records in my collection and I know I’ve never met a person who would fight for it as hard as I have."

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