Famed underground Brooklyn MC, Buckshot, has once again re-teamed with former Little Brother producer and acclaimed beat-smith, 9th Wonder, for their second (third for the Black Moon alum as a soloist) joint LP, The Formula. BallerStatus hooked up with the Boot Camp Clik leader on the eve of the release of their brand new magnum opus…
BallerStatus.com: Now this is your third solo record, and second with producer 9th Wonder. It’s called The Formula. Why?
Buckshot: There is a special bond between 9th Wonder and myself. We called our first project Chemistry because we understood that from the gate. He brings certain characteristics out in me where I feel comfortable as Buckshot, the artist. I also understood that in the end, all that truly matters is what I bring to the table myself. I am The Formula. Everyone has their own internal formula inside them to excel at whatever it may be that they are doing.
BallerStatus.com: How does it measure up to your first two solo efforts, particularly 2005’s Chemistry?
Buckshot: This album sounds bigger. There is no question in my mind that 9th Wonder and I have created a powerful follow-up to Chemistry, and we did so with banging beats from 9th, and a wide range of topical tracks that reach across a broad spectrum. You have bangers like “Go All Out,” which features Charlie Murphy in the video, and then conscious records like “Hold It Down” with Talib Kweli and Tyler Woods, who also made video appearances for the track.
BallerStatus.com: What are your favorite things on or about the album?
Buckshot: One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Just Display,” as I discuss females who are all show but have nothing worth giving. They walk around like mannequins. 9th Wonder entirely produced the album. He is incredible. The man can balance the best of two worlds — producing singles for Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Mary J Blige, but also working with artists like myself, Skyzoo, Jean Grae and Murs.
BallerStatus.com: Why do you feel that the — to borrow from the title of your first 9th assisted CD — chemistry between you and he gels so well together?
Buckshot: I think it’s because we were born from the same taste in music. One of 9th Wonder’s favorite production teams growing up was Da Beatminerz. And, the crazy part is that DJ Evie Dee introduced me to the sound of 9th Wonder as an up-and-coming producer who I should check for. In a sense, he was endorsed by my family and that chemistry is real.
BallerStatus.com: What moves you when you sit down to write your rhymes?
Buckshot: I definitely operate from daily experiences. Things I may be going through or even experiences that are happening to those close to me.
BallerStatus.com: Like how much input do you actually have when it comes to the actual track itself?
Buckshot: I write all my own music and I construct tracks. I have always been blessed with the ability to write hooks and adapt my flow to mimic a sound I hear in an instrumental. 9th Wonder is a genius when it comes to building songs as well. He’ll know what he wants, and he can deliver.
BallerStatus.com: Take me through a typical studio session between you and 9th Wonder.
Buckshot: I had just finished helping 9th Wonder teach one of his hip-hop classes in North Carolina, and we walk our way down to the studio that was stationed in the actual college. No smoking allowed, so my mind was sharp. 9th loads a track and I begin to write. The process always seems to happen quicker with 9th Wonder. My rhymes come to me faster. I enter the sound booth, put my head phones on, and record the track. We finished Chemistry in two weeks, and we completed Formula in the same amount of time. I’m all business.
BallerStatus.com: Define for me the style of music that Buckshot creates and performs?
Buckshot: A flow you had never heard, a style that has tried to be copied. I make good music that you can move to, and it transcends many different styles of hip-hop music.
BallerStatus.com: What has been the, again to borrow from another album title, formula for your success?
Buckshot: I have an incredible team. Duck Down Records has been able to stand the test of time. Right now, I’m speaking as Buckshot the artist. But, I also operate as one half of the owner of Duck Down Records. People like Dru Ha, NoHa, Shucky Ducky, Matt Conaway… they are passionate about not only seeing me succeed, but also all our groups on the label — ranging from Kidz In the Hall, who have a new record dropping May 13th called The In Crowd, to Sean Price, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, Special Teamz, KRS-One, DJ Revolution, Ruste Juxx, and the entire Boot Camp Clik family. I also find ways to partner with the right people in corporate America.
BallerStatus.com: Tell me something about you that people would be most surprised to know?
Buckshot: I want to learn how to fly a plane. I hate flying, so I figure if I learn how to do it then I won’t be as nervous. I think promoters personally sit NoHa and myself next to each other on planes ’cause they know we both hate flying, and they get a laugh out of it because we make each more tight.
BallerStatus.com: As co-owner of Duck Down, what are your ultimate plans for the label?
Buckshot: I love the position our label is at right now. We are signing groups that fit our precise criteria. It all started with Special Teamz, who are a serious group out of Boston comprised of Edo G, Slaine, and Jaysaun. Go check their album Stereotypez ’cause it’s fire. There is a reason Preemo put it in his top 20 albums of 2007. Then, we signed Kidz In The Hall, who are two of the more talented up-and-coming artists you’ll find today. Double-O’s production is incredible, and Naledge rhymes with a passion that reminds me of myself when I was just starting to rap. Their new album, The In Crowd, will win awards this year without a doubt. Then, we signed DJ Revolution who is a precise DJ from the West Coast, and the main force behind the syndicated radio broadcast The Wake Up Show. His album, King Of The Decks, will be out by this summer. One of my favorite acquisitions is the group project I’m doing with KRS-One. We’re like Batman and Robin; He’s the Teacha, and I’m the student.
BallerStatus.com: What can be expected from these brand new, not too mention, super-dope label acquisitions?
Buckshot: Expect indie dominance from a label that understands how to make money off this indie sh**. Everyone is saying that indie is the way to go right now, but it’s just “a way” not “the way.” Duck Down has been independent, and pretty much with Koch Distribution, since 1998. With that being said, we have close to 10 years of experience and that shows. All you artists looking for the right place to be, send Duck Down a demo or a proposal.
BallerStatus.com: Finally, what’s going on with Black Moon?
Buckshot: Evil Dee, 5FT and myself are in the studio right now. There will be a new Black Moon album.