Friday, December 26, 2008

There's Only One

by Buff1

It's amazing how much great music is coming out of Detroit and its surrounding area; in this case Ann Arbor. This is Buff1's second solo album, and this is an artist to watch. On this cd, he teams with the Lab Technicians, who provide beats for all but one of the tracks, and together they represent the new sound of Detroit quite nicely.

This album has a gentle quality to it - while many of the beats are bangers, there's a positive, upbeat theme that cuts across most of the tracks - it's not music that could offend anyone really.

It gets off to a bit of a slow start - not that there is anything the matter with the first half - it's just not that memorable. The cd really picks up steam around the seventh track, with 'The Sky' - a cleverly written, bouncy love song. On 'Love the Love', Buff and Tres Styles rhyme about the feeling that they get performing live, and how they've chosen this as a career (even if it doesn't come with a 401k or stock options). The tenth track 'Never Fall' features Black Milk on the beat and the mic, fulfilling what has become I think a local by-law that all Michigan rappers need at least one Black Milk beat (and all the better for it).

On 'Rain Dance', Buff calls for action, but not in the way of his colleague Invincible, whose Shapeshifters comes from the same location and sensibility; instead, he reminds us that "it's not a movement if you're not moving", and proceeds to call for change, but a change you can dance to. The album closes with 'Once', which, spoken word prayer at the end aside, is a song that causes you to reflect on life.

In all, this is not a terribly memorable album - it won't stick with you for long, but it is entertaining and enjoyable. I look forward to seeing what comes next from this artist.

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