Local Wire

Buckshot & 9th Wonder

Brooklyn rhymer Kenyatta "Buckshot" Blake is one of many shoulda-been-huge MCs who suffered when hip-hop became a blinger's game. However, despite legal battles, label struggles, and plain bad luck (Tupac was a fan, but died before he could get Buckshot's career into overdrive), the Black Moon leader hasn't given up. "My mission is to go for broke," he declares on "No Comparison," and in the hungry-sounding verses on Chemistry, he shows clear awareness that the current demand for Golden Age rap has given him a golden opportunity, and he's willing to do anything he can to exploit it. Well, almost anything: His crusade against the record industry -- which continues here on songs like "Slippin'" -- probably won't help land him on a major anytime soon. But he has found a compatible producer in underground hero 9th Wonder, whose knack for understated soul-sampling is reminiscent of Primo in his prime. Save for the odd modern reference (and the persistent, annoying electro-snares), these could be recordings from the early '90s, which benefits Buckshot's classic old-school style. "Hip-hop might fade out/Or be played out," he muses at one point, "I stay on route." From the sound of things, the road is finally rising to meet him again.