Aside from Mr. Jackson himself, Young Buck seems to be the member with
the least questions. Contemplation on whether the Memphis, Tennessee MC would
fit in with the East Coast aesthetic of G-Unit
was quelled with his performance on the group’s Beg For Mercy album, his solo talents were proven with Straight Outta Cashville, and his street
cred was famously verified at the VIBE
a few years ago. Considering G-Unit’s
present losing streak–albums from Tony
, Mobb Deep and Lloyd Banks each flopped,
respectively–they need Buck’s
workhorse consistency to help pull them out of their rut. With Buck The World, Young Buck continues to
provide all of the answers.

A pleasant
surprise on Buck’s sophomore set is
a rejuvenated embrace of his southern roots, with much of the disc’s production
and guest list. While much of Straight
Outta Cashville
focused on the contrast between G-Unit’s NY grit and Buck’s
southern drawl, Buck The World sees Buck prospering in his own element. Lil Jon’s bouncy “Money Good” is a just-add-water
strip club anthem; “Pocket Full of Paper” sees DJ Toomp’s tried and true synthesizers continuing to work to
perfection, and Polow Da Don’s minimalist
horns and bass on “Get Buck” sound like they’re straight from an HBCU’s marching band. Buck keeps the theme with his artist
collaborations as well, piling 8Ball
(both members on separate tracks), Young Jeezy, and T.I. on
four tracks drunken with southern comfort. Unlike his Unit brethren, Buck has
always existed outside of his clique and this shows in the one and only G-Unit guest spot. The collabo in
question comes from 50 Cent on the Dr. Dre-produced “Hold On,” a trumpet-fueled
track with swagger for days.

Buck still displays his production
adaptability and song versatility throughout the album. He easily shifts
between the previous southern numbers, the west coast G-Funk on “Haters,” and Hi-Tek’s Midwestern guitar licks on “I
Ain’t Fuckin With You.” Buck also
shows multiple dimensions lyrically. Expectedly, “Clean Up Man” and “Buss Yo
Head” are filled with generic gangsterims, and the Letoiya Williams-featured “U Ain’t Goin Nowhere” is an enjoyable
(albeit unoriginal) ladies’ joint. But instead of the usual, obligatory single
heartfelt track, Buck opens up on
several instances. “Buck The World” features him recounting his days of
struggling with empty pockets, complete with a well-placed and performed hook
by Lyfe Jennings. Buck tells the story of a black girl
lost and touches on a laundry list of familial issues on “Slow Ya Roll,” and on
the closing “Lose My Mind,” Buck
manically yells his frustrations over a murky backdrop by Eminem. On his more personal tracks, Buck seems to genuinely
struggle between maintaining his hard, nonchalant persona and expressing how he
really feels, giving himself vulnerability unseen by his G-Unit cohorts.

The flaws
in Buck The World are debatable.
While Buck’s versatility serves him
well, none of his subject matter is anything new, and he doesn’t retread traditional
ground much better than anyone else. However, Buck makes up for a lack of originality and artistry with a
consistent bar-to-bar tenacity, charisma that appropriately seesaws for the
occasion and his gruff, southern drawl that somehow sounds perfect on every
track. Buck doesn’t seem to be
aiming to break any molds or to push the envelope; he’s just being himself, and
in that quest, mission’s accomplished.