By Brad Halasz
20 Odd Years is a celebration of Buck 65’s 20 year history in the Canadian hip-hop scene. He’s part of a cohort of Canadian rappers who carved out their own niche with a unique style, rather than imitating high-profile Americans. Where others would release a greatest hits album to mark this milestone, Buck 65 does not– 20 Odd Years is entirely new material and Buck does what he does best. Though it’s less melancholic, it has the same purposefulness and energy as his 2009 collaboration with Belgian producer JoÃ«lle Phuong Minh LÃª on Bike for Three!
The album covers the whole hip-hop spectrum. Buck shines on tracks like “BCC,” a collaboration with folk artist John Southworth, which is upbeat, bouncy and reptitious (in the best way). The antithesis is the opening track “Superstars Don’t Love.” Hand claps, big kicks and synths dominate the fast-paced song. The albums best moment is a collaboration with Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, “Whispers of the Waves.” Buck slowly delivers his emotion drenched versus inbetween Downie’s crooning on the chorus.
Overall, the album is strong and diverse. There’s enough meat on it for longtime Buck 65 fans, and it’s accessible enough for those just getting into it.