After the hype surrounding 1999's Vertex, expectations were high for the next album from one of the most distinct voices in California's Anticon crew, Richard Terfry, better known as Buck 65. Where many artists might have taken this moment of public curiosity to make their music more accessible, Man Overboard is more complex, arresting, and personal than any of his previous records. Recorded shortly after his mother died, this is an album built on heavy emotions, with Terfry's schizophrenic rhymes taking on many personalities to express the pain and regret that he feels. The concept can be both an attribute and a burden; the most personal tracks are thoughtful and touching views into a tortured psyche, while his sarcastic boasts and comedic asides are hard to grasp in the context of the record. This is emphasized by his enigmatic flow, which is purposefully disjointed in order to give his lyrics an uncomfortable heaviness, even when it isn't necessary. Luckily, producer Sixtoo prevents the record from collapsing under its own weight with a set of varied, ambitious beats. Utilizing everything from the intro to Metallica's "Battery" to samples of a philosophical discussion on old age, Sixtoo builds a musical journey that resembles an eclectic mixtape more than a hip-hop record. There are moments where the music seems more imaginative than effective, but overall Man Overboard is a gripping record. Terfry's brutally honest beat poetry is well-matched to Sixtoo's all-over-the-map productions, resulting in the most successful mix of ambition and execution to come from their collaborations. This shouldn't be anyone's first exposure to Buck 65, but it makes for an excellent follow-up to Vertex's minimalist jams.
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AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano