Buck 65

Tues April 6

Ash Street Saloon

225 SW Ash

Canada's greatest gift to hiphop (stop laughing), Buck 65 is a genuine original. This former pro-baseball prospect (nee Rich Terfry) made the leap from underground bastion anticon (an incubator of genuine originals) to Warner without watering down his richly introverted, emotionally piercing production or uber-funky beats; he accurately calls his music "dirt road breakbeat blues." Each Buck track travels multiple paths, going off on adventurous tangents with uncanny logic. When Buck boasts about his big dick, like many other wack MCs, he does so from a centaur's perspective (see "The Centaur" off Vertex). On that slept-on classic, Buck utters profundities about baseball, stupidity's repulsiveness, sleep apnea, and other crucial matters out the side of his mouth as if he were a Nova Scotia-raised Ratso Rizzo--or the unjustly forgotten MC 900 Foot Jesus. His is an oddly intimate delivery, like he's confiding to you in the corner of a dark bar.

Man Overboard (2001) is a sui generis work with tracks moving from simmering 4/4 techno pulses to Polish folk to talk-radio guru Art Bell talking about Earthlings being the slaves of extraterrestrials to skewed easy listening. Buck matches verbal profundity and dexterity with sonic inventiveness throughout the disc's filler-free 70 minutes.

Buck's latest album, Talkin' Honky Blues (Warner, 2003) is, by contrast, like a script for a road film directed by Wim Wenders. The music evokes Western plains more than urban jungles, coming across like a Morricone/Calexico/'70s-era Tom Waits jam over quintessential funk beats. Buck works on an epic scale, rambling fluidly and obliquely symbolic like Dylan ca. 1966 about a huge cast of colorful characters, including his interestingly flawed self. Buck's omnivorous musical appetite results in charmingly askew compositions that crossbreed with promiscuity.

"I want to make the guy who teaches music in a university say there's something to hip hop," Buck told Canadian online zine Gauntlet. "I own 10,000 hip-hop records and I know I've never met a person who'd fight for it as hard as I have."