Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Buck 65: King of Drums [Handsmade, 2022]
The Nova Scotian rapper born Richard Terfry is so Canadian he's had a gig as a CBC host since 2008, and although I reviewed some dozen of his long-players between 2001 and 2014, he then went on musical hiatus. So I was pleased to discover that this 21-song comeback had surfaced in June and even more pleased to soon conclude that it was his best album ever. The secret is the drums he's not actually king of, with a tipoff that arrives just three seconds in, when it becomes clear that the lead track is ignited by a James Brown homage. Although he was always beatwise enough, at 50 Terfry has done enough listening and thinking to grok how deeply percussive yet seductively sinuous the most compelling hip-hop grooves are. But he remains a word guy, and as a proud alumnus of Altered State University still loves unlikely rhymes: boondocks-boombox, crumb cake-drum breaks, SlimFast-gym class, humongous-homonculus, novelist-obelisk, Ukrainian-cranium, intensely-Zelenskyy. And when it comes to "friggin' them and fraggin' them," note that track two is built around a quick and easy recipe for a Molotov cocktail. A