Less than two months after the solo debut of his G-Unit brother Lloyd Banks, Young Buck dropped Straight Outta Cashville, another well crafted but uncompromising premiere that expands 50 Cent and crew's empire below the Mason-Dixon line. Lyrics are often the same-old, same-old G-Unit topics -- weed, the game, Tony Yayo, guns, lots and lots of money talk -- but this crew has yet to present a rapper who doesn't attack these tired subjects with style and flair. Buck has been graced with 50's ability to bring street life to the CD player with that grotesque/flippant delivery. But with none of 50's smirk or Banks' city swagger, Buck is the one to relate to, still struggling, still hungry. The obligatory "how I got here" track, "Look at Me Now," is his best moment lyrically -- vivid and all that -- but you can drop the laser anywhere and hear more brain than boast. If that was all there was, Straight Outta Cashville would be a good record. What makes it great is excellent producer and guest rapper choices, a tight track list with nearly perfect flow, and the fresh G-Unit meets crunk and Lil Jon sound that dominates the album. He's often outrageously loud, but Lil Jon tones down his Southern beats to thug level on the excellent funkster "Shorty Wanna Ride," one of the deepest jams the producer has come up with. Red Spyda is at the helm for the sticky "Welcome to the South" with David Banner while the infectious "Let Me In" is proof frequent G-Unit producer Needlz saved his best for Buck. "Bonafide Huster," "I'm a Soldier," and the Nancy Sinatra-sampling "Bang Bang" are more singalong anthems to add to the G-Unit mixtapes, and nothing on the record out and out fails. If there's anything bad to be said about the album it's that the G-Unit machine is way ahead of Buck when it comes to experience and he keeps his personality from coming through loud and clear at times. Adjusting to the fabulous life of 50 Cent's clique has to be a whirlwind and you can't blame Buck for pulling his punches and coming into his own slowly. There's more to G-Unit's most approachable rapper than Straight Outta Cashville gives up; one listen and you'll feel it. Then again, if his "finding himself" takes 20 more phat-bottomed crowd-pleasers like this to get there, who would mind?
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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