Nashville rap is an enigma. For much time the city was pegged as just another stop on the Dirty South crunk wave, but in the past years has recently shifted into a heterogeneous mixture of styles and sounds, but with a typically uniform message and feeling excreting from the music.
BukuSteez’s new tape will change Nashville rap forever. The internet has shifted rap’s main cause and focus from lyrics to energy, and a rapper’s influence only goes as far as his music can take you emotionally. Rap as a whole obviously is not limited to this, as rappers such as Mike Floss and Brian Brown have shown, but the internet rap community at large is powered by melody. I can recall the Migos once saying that rap is no longer about your lyrical or syntactical structure (and this is obviously paraphrasing), but rather an MC’s ability to “ride a beat.”
Buku takes this to the next level. His melodic hooks and tales of success and tribulation accurately highlight the sentiment of much of the Nashville youth, as well as American youth as a whole. Working alongside Soundcloud staples such as Lucki and emerging Nashville producers FXNESSE and Evan G, Buku has produced the first meaningful full length Nashville project to take this new form of rap and run with it. He is a pioneer of this sound in Nashville, and because of his lyrical talent interwoven with the energy he exudes with from beat, Buku has released one of Nashville’s best projects of 2017.
Here are some of my favorite tracks from the project.
Track 1: “Gone” prod. Percules
This song centers around the general style of the whole tape: melodies. Buku has the uncanny ability to shift melodies, but continue a coherent flow throughout. This song is a banger for sure. The lyrics encapsulate the realities of quick money and success, and the inevitable urge to spend your earnings while you have them, for as we all know, you can’t take them with you when you’re gone.
Track 3: “Lot to Lose” feat. Lil Bruh Davis, prod. Juugstar
Another beautiful display in changing melody and form. Juugstar, another up and coming Nashville producer, made an incredible beat for the song as well. Buku continues to shine, but one of the other bright spots on this tape was Lil Bruh Davis, delivering a clean, hard feature. He beautifully interacts with Buku’s flow and left me excited for more Lil Bruh Davis music to come.
Track 7: “Catch Up” feat. Lucki, prod. Evan G
I want to start this by praising the work of Evan G. He produced a trancey, yet harmoniously pleasant beat that was completely perfect for Lucki to rap on. Lucki begins to track with a laid back as usual, but hard opening verse, and Buku picks right up where he left off, finishing the track in beautiful fashion.
Track 8: “Top Chef” prod. Topper Atwood
This is my favorite song of the whole project. First and foremost, Topper Atwood went fucking crazy on this beat. No other way to put it. The sample at the beginning and end fit seamlessly into the track and the in-between was upbeat and perfect for a rapper like Buku to go wild on. This is also Buku’s most impressive lyrical performance of the tape. His bars aren’t a marvel of wordplay, but are consistent and catchy, and that’s all a rapper like he needs. He hits every beat perfectly, and his switches in pace and tone fit effortlessly over this masterpiece of an instrumental. The potential on this track is endless.
This is one of the best full-length projects from Nashville this year, rivaled only by Mike Floss’s “Tennessee Daydreams,” and in reality, the two are so drastically different in style that they cannot be compared. BukuSteez is the future of Nashville rap, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.