Aug 12, 2008 - 12:00 AM
Ann Arbor emcee Buff1 has successfully avoided the sophomore slump with his latest release, There’s Only One, available on iTunes and in stores today. His follow-up to last year’s Pure definitely brings the ruckus and mic skills.
On this album, Buff1 proves that the “underground” label doesn’t mean being revelry impaired. There’s Only One knocks, balancing throbbing bass lines and snare drums with witty lyrics. “Beat the Speakers Up” is a certified club banger--usually uncharted territory for non-mainstream artists. It also contains one of the album's best one-liners: “The game’s future was dark like little Michael/’Till I brightened it up like vitiligo.” It’s simultaneously comedic and genius, with the banter a continuing theme throughout the album.
Buff1 channels a Roots jam session on “I Know the Secret.” The soul-infused track’s infectious piano groove is the album’s designated hand clapper. “Classic Rap” pays tribute to hip-hop’s finest and urges aspiring MC’s to learn their history.
Although Buff1 is a beast of a wordsmith, it took some keen producers to create the fresh end product. The ferocious rhythmic quality of There’s Only One comes courtesy of fellow Michigan-ers the Lab Techs and upcoming producer/rapper Black Milk. The Lab Techs have worked with Buff1 in the past on the Athletic Mic League releases, of which Buff1 is a member. Black Milk has made a name for himself making beats for Canibus, Lloyd Banks, and Pharoahe Monch. He steps from behind the sound board and trades verses with Buff1 on “Never Fall.” Despite having two sets of producers, the album manages to sound cohesive.
Buff1 is gifted and he knows it. As he explains on “Real Appeal,” he may be a little cocky, but that’s the point. Never mind the lip service, There’s Only One speaks volumes on its own.
Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang! Magazine's resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.