Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Buck 65: Square [WEA, 2002]
Where DJ Shadow decorates beats with words, Buck 65 underpins words with beats. That's why "the echoing voice of the old ones" includes substantial passages by Lord Buckley, Bill Cosby, Alfred Hitchcock, and William Burroughs. The music flows in its quietly sampled way, as it had better on CDs the artist refuses to divide into song-length tracks, but Richard Terfry's alt-rap wouldn't have much point if he wasn't at least as wise as, say, his compatriot Joni Mitchell--the young one, I mean. No question he's a nicer person. So here's predicting he'll be able to continue "The girls are desperate/But the boys are even hornier/The rose is sweet/But the stem is even thornier" into the productive adult life on which he's embarked. And that a decade from now he'll rewrite "Food" to accommodate the Malaysian, Uzbek, Senegalese, and haute French cuisines. A-