Buckshot & 9th Wonder: Breaking Atoms

For more than a decade Buckshot has been stunning Hip-Hop crowds with his fiery rhymes. Whether it was with Black Moon or the entire Boot Camp Clique, lyrics ranged from insightful to riot-inspiring, striking a chord in all that listened. But after 1998, Buckshot unstrapped the backpack and became disassociated with his purist audience. Alone, Buck wasn’t quite the same. But as Duck Down plotted its second coming, Buckshot seems to have taken stock in his lyrical assets.

On the new album, Chemistry he teams up with Little Brother’s 9th Wonder. This echoes in the likes of an Ice Cube melding with a Bomb Squad, or a MF DOOM and Madlib link. Geography is defied as careers and attitudes are examined in a new light, stirring up plenty of conversation. As Buck turns a new leaf, 9th Wonder continues to resemble Premier’s vast body of work a decade ago – only Jay, Group Home, and Bahamadia became Bleek, Justus League, and Jean Grae.

AllHipHop.com brought in 9th and Buck to collaboratively tell their story, get a sense of self, and celebrate creativity in 2005. From Bucktown to Durham, we got this thing sewed up!

AllHipHop.com: Buck, how did you hook up with 9th Wonder?

Buckshot: Evil Dee had mentioned 9th as one of his favorite producers. So we called him and sent him some music. One of the tracks was “Alyiha,” with Smiff n’ Wessun. He sent us back the remix, which became “Night Riders.” It was crazy fire. From there, we started working together. It’s been all love since.

AllHipHop.com: You’ve been so strongly associated with Da Beatminerz, even in the off years. Was it very different moving from an Evil Dee to 9th?

Buckshot: No. But it’s obvious that they are two different producers with two different vibes. Evil Dee has mad love for 9th. That’s good because generally, a lot of producers don’t get along. The fact that they respect each other and vibe in the way that they do, makes things great all around. 9th reminds me of that Pete Rock, Large Professor sound. It’s a mix of Jazz, Soul and a bunch of other stuff rolled into one. Regardless, he still has his own vibe and sound.

AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about the people saying that you’re a “young Primo or Pete Rock?”

9th Wonder: I take it as a compliment, but I leave it at that. There’s only one Diamond D, one Primo and one Pete Rock. I enjoy the comparisons, but there’s only one 9th Wonder. I just let the people make the comparisons. In my eyes, producers like Evil Dee are on another level. There’s only one “Crooklyn Dodgers.” I don’t think that I could ever make something as good as that. I’ll be chasing that dream forever. It’s eerie for me. I met Q-Tip and Method Man both at the same time. Q came to the studio to do a track with Little Brother, and brought Meth with him. It was crazy. Here I was working with them and I’d been banging them on my headphones back in high school. To work with cats like these is a dream that I don’t want to wake up from.

AllHipHop.com: What’s it like for you to meet so many artists that you grew up listening to?

9th Wonder: I once met Morris Day. I get excited for stuff like that. Meeting him was more of an amazing thing than, say, meeting the hot artist that’s been out for the past two weeks.

AllHipHop.com: How important was it to you to work with Buckshot?

9th Wonder: I’ve been a fan since 92’. He influenced me to recreate that same sound up til’ now. I was in a “Black Moon state of mind.” I try to focus on what I’m doing. I wore fatigues the whole week. Timbs and all. I still know cats that live the Boot Camp frame of mind. Boot Camp gives off an aura. I want to do the same thing, only in beat form. Put it like this, I’ve been a Boot Camp and Wu-tang fan forever. They’re both amazing, but to honest with you, I’ve always been a bigger Boot Camp fan. “Who Got the Props?” and “How many MC’s” changed my life. They meant a lot to me.

AllHipHop.com: How was the vibe in the studio?

Buckshot: To be honest with you, I did the whole thing as a “one shot deal.” 9th gave me the tracks and I went into the booth and did my thing. It’s not rocket science. The more you make it that, the more you will fail at the formula. It’s not that complex. I did all of it in six days. When people listen to the album they may think that everyone did their own thing. That’s not the case. We laughed, joked and just vibed. Phonte wrote a verse in thirty minutes in his head. That s**t is crazy. It took me the same time to write it out. Because of the good vibes, energy and love, it came out dope. It’s beautiful. It was just good chemistry.

AllHipHop.com: 9th, what were listening to as you crafted this album?

9th Wonder: I was big into everything, from 80’s Duran Duran to Curtis Mayfield.

AllHipHop.com: Chemistry seems less about you in the writing, and more about the world, perhaps as seen through you…

Buckshot: I used this album to reflect and write about what I’m about. I used to write and rap and rap and write. I still do, but I deal with simplicity of the art. I do what I feel.

I’m telling you, when you palm this album, there’s no bad s**t on it. There are no more mistakes in my career. Every song on this album deals with something.

AllHipHop.com: Some people say that Boot Camp has never released a bad album, but have criticized your solo albums…

Buckshot: Sure, I’m aware. They’ll be like, “What’s up with this?” Well, I’ve gotta move. What’s funny about that is for that time, it was a damn good album. There were no garbage tracks on it. BDI Thug sold a lot of copies. They may not be the traditional Buckshot Shorty albums, but this one is. I did that album early to get it out of the way. Who’s to say that I can’t have fun on an album? When I did the album, 2Pac was one of my inspirations. That’s why I called it, BDI Thug. It’s on some, “not limiting yourself on s**t.” Do what you do. You have to be versatile and be willing to step out side of the box.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned that haters say, “Off with His Head.” How do you deal with critics that say, Buckshot doesn’t have it anymore?”

Buckshot: I’ve learned the hard way about worrying about those kinds of things. At the end of the day, you’re the one that loses. No one wants to learn the hard way, but if I can shorten a cat’s trip by dropping some knowledge, then I will. I’m trying to focus and go for the gusto. I’m doing my thing.

AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about the heads that say that 9th Wonder is just a “flavor of the month?”

9th Wonder: Internet cats don’t know anything outside of the Internet or Okay Player. We got on because of Okay, but a lot of people know about Little Brother. People get music from mixtapes and about a million other sources. There is at least one out of five that know a Little Brother or Pooh track. Skeptics are gonna be what they are, skeptical. We are gonna be what we are. I could criticize, but I don’t care. We do what we do.

It’s funny because any rapper that doesn’t talk about sex, women or money is automatically labeled, “conscious.”

AllHipHop.com: What was up with the Black Moon and Just Blaze beef?

Buckshot: That wasn’t beef. Listen to Biggie’s song and that’s what I consider beef. The Just Blaze stuff was a disagreement. I’ll disagree with a cat all day, but that doesn’t make it beef. There is no beef. Just Blaze is a cool cat. For the record, I got mad love for Hov. I shouted him out on my album. That’s my dude. He’s a Brooklyn General and I’m a Brooklyn General. I’m not trying to get on the Roc. I want to merge. We’re too small not to wake up and merge on some Roc and Duck Down distribution s**t. It wouldn’t even be about music. That’s what I’m talking about. I always shout out to Jigga.

AllHipHop.com: There really isn’t any profanity on the album. Was that a conscious decision?

Buckshot: It’s just natural. I wasn’t conscious of it. It’s not easy, but what people have to remember is that there are different areas of Hip-Hop.

AllHipHop.com: Will there ever be another “Fab 5” album?

Buckshot: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I hope so, but I don’t know.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think that there will be another Little Brother and Duck Down collaboration?

9th Wonder: You can’t force collaborations. They just happen. It’s a part of the vibe. Pooh and Phonte are both on Chemistry.

Related Stories