It is quite rare when two artists get together and can come up with a product that is more than serviceable, but worth listening. Buckshot and 9th Wonder smashed that when they came together for 2005s Chemistry.
Three years later, 9th is out Little Brother and is still the accomplished beatsmith and Duck Down is making more moves as Buckshot as CEO. Understanding that the work that Chemistry needed a follow-up; the two decided to come together to display further the adult contemporary sound. Their latest offering The Formula (Duckdown) seems to kill two birds with one stone, and while it may not be a defining work for this genre, it works well as an introduction.
Even though both mesh well creating a singular sound, you can still hear their traits through the music. 9th Wonders native soul sample heavy snare laced production still flows through the track over Buckshots classic boom bap rap style. This is displayed quite well on Man Listen (Cause Ummm). You hear 9th work his magic through the chopped sample that creates a head nodding sensation, while Buckshot rides the wave picking his spots and finishing his bars on queue.
Their skills also shine through together on other selections. You can also hear their Chemistry within The Formula on their single, Go All Out. 9th employs a heavy bass with the trumpets working behind them, while Buck really amplifies the track to be one of the albums crown jewels. Here We Go happens to hold this quality, as Buckshot dances with the sample with his flow as much as his lyrics are courting the woman of his choice.
Fans of Chemistry will find that the amount of guest spots have waned on this effort. There are only two songs with features. “Shinin’ Y’all” featuring Arafat Yates & Big Chops, is rather a forgettable track, perhaps because of the lazy flow displayed by all MCs. Hold It Down however features Talib working over 9ths instrumental. Talib steals the song a bit from Buckshot as well, as he lays down an incredible verse at a rapid fire pace.
For the good music that exists on the album, there are some irrelevant joints that come to mind such as Be Cool! and Whassup With U? There is the feeling that this is more like a collection of songs and less a cohesive effort to create an album.
As much as that may be a flaw you also get a wide spectrum of how they may have seen this specific sound. The Formula plays itself much like that, a debut of something that may grow. It is a sampler, in few words but a very solid one; that may just be the key to giving this niche more material in which Hip-Hop fans can enjoy.
9th Wonder & Buckshot Featuring Talib Kweli
“Hold It Down”
9th Wonder & Buckshot Featuring Charlie Murphy
“Go All Out”