Artist: Buckshot & 9th WonderTitle: ChemistryRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill “Low-Key” Heinzelman

The one emcee, one producer combination has been a staple in Hip-hop since the beginning. However, as the landscape of the culture changed, record companies started to focus on gathering the hottest producers of the moment, instead of honoring the tried and true formula. Thankfully, Black Moon’s Buckshot is an emcee not phased by the new trends of the industry. With his new release Chemistry (Duck Down), Buckshot joins producer 9th Wonder of Little Brother for an intriguing album that looks to rejuvenate the classic formula.

With Chemistry, Buckshot continues to prove that he has more than enough gas in the tank and puts forth an impressive effort throughout. A prime example is the standout track “I Don’t Know Why,” which finds Buck professing his love for Hip-hop over 9th Wonder’s vintage vocal sample and predictable drums. On “Ghetto,” the BDI Thug pays homage to his surrounding environment through his vivid depictions of life in the inner city. “Food For Thought” and “No Comparison” continue the heat, as 9th’s crate digging skills are brought to the forefront with his gorgeous samples.

While 9th Wonder and Buckshot engineer their share of highlights on Chemistry, 9th’s formulaic production will leave some fans gasping for a breath of fresh mid way through. As always, its either a love or hate affair with 9th Wonder. 9th has made a name for himself through his magnificent vocal samples and the emotion he puts into every track. However, some have grown tired with this formula, as well as his repetitive snare driven drum patterns. Both sides of the debate show up on Chemistry. Efforts such as “He’s Back,” “Now A Dayz,” and “Slippin” fail to impress due to their monotonous feel. In addition, the various Justus League guest appearances such as “Out Of Town” featuring Joe Scudda and L.E.G.A.C.Y., “U Wonderin” featuring Big Pooh and Sean Price, and “Birdz” featuring Phonte and Keisha Sontell could have been done without, as none hit the mark and feel forced.

Nevertheless, Chemistry is a solid outing that finds two unique styles coming together. While the album does feel dragged out and repetitive at times, Buckshot’s lyrical daggers and youthful enthusiasm overcome such faults. In the end, your enjoyment of Chemistry will boil down to your level of tolerance for 9th Wonder’s trademark production.

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