Buck 65 - Dirty Work EP

Alex Worsnip 15/11/2006

Rating: 4/5

For a long time now, Buck 65 has been one of my favourite artists. I have a kind of guilt about this issue: as a white, middle-class indieboy the closest I get to an MC who I'm really, really into is a white, middle-class Canadian making music that is less and less hip-hop whose fans seem to be mainly Pitchfork readers. Wouldn't I have more integrity if I just stuck to indie music and stopped pretending? Well, no, because Buck 65 makes some of the most incredible music you'll ever hear, blending hip-hop, dance, folk, blues, indie and country. 'Dirty Work EP', as a free download available from (click on the 'Show & Tell' page, rather than going through the poorer quality MySpace download), is an opportunity for those of you too sceptical to take my word on one of his fantastic albums to sample his talents.

Having worked on previous album 'Secret House Against The World' with Tortoise, 'Dirty Work' is a relatively back-to-roots EP, with the beats being produced by Buck himself and some serious MC-ing, rather than just spoken word, in places. Opener 'Indestructable Sam' is a twanging, banjo-inflected number like a less whimsical 'Wicked & Weird', while 'Days on End' is a dark, claustrophobic, bleak late night tale harking back to parts of 'Square' and 'Heather Nights', which is more spoken and bluesy, is the most similar to his recent work. But it's the closing title track that really captivates. With an infectious beat and understated synth hook that wouldn't sound out of place in a club, almost sounding influenced by UK two-step, it's a synthesis of his hip-hop material and his recent experimental turn that sounds bang up to date, with a real MC turn. Seriously, go and download it now. It's free. Then buy all his albums. That's not free, but it'll be a great decision.