Imagine if hip-hop was laced with atmospheric, ever-so-slightly folksy electronic music, peppered with French and lilting vocals that are more Julee Cruise than Janelle Monae. Imagine if a rap artist didn’t bother trying to hide a habit for books and movies.
That artist would be Buck 65, a Nova Scotia-born musician who grew up on baseball and spinning verse to impress girls.
Buck 65 (that’s Richard Terfry to his family) stops in Denton on Friday to do a set at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.
If you’re expecting straight-up party tracks, Buck 65 will disappoint. If you’ve been known to shuffle the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Midlake, or if Drake and Bon Iver share a playlist, Buck 65 will be sweet water in your musical well.
His most recent album, 20 Odd Years, betrays the artist’s penchant for the orchestral and the surprising. Strings pop up with winds, and a steady bass keeps time without dominating. And while the prototypical hip-hop artist boasts about having luck with the ladies in different area codes, Buck 65 boasts about watering your plants when you leave town and saying “gesundheit” after you sneeze.
In “Superstars Don’t Love,” Buck 65 riffs on Michael Jackson, Crispin Glover and the Holy Grail all to a mad, snare-heavy beat that comes closest to the scratch-and-thump prevalent in the hip-hop south of the Canadian border.Oh, and the rapper can switch between English and French as easily as reggaeton maestro Don Omar moves between English and Spanish. And on the exemplary “Whisper of the Waves,” featuring Gord Downie, Buck lifts a bluesy refrain from the American delta, and re-imagines it as a folk phrase worthy of Johnny Cash.
In a lot of ways, Buck 65 makes the kind of hip-hop that you’d find in the DIY music labs in Denton.
Sounds like: early Beck, if early Beck had spent a summer ransacking a secondhand book store. Like that one guy who can improvise verse just listening to Polyphonic Spree flutist Audrey Easley.
Details: Buck 65, Cool Womb and Fab Deuce play at 10 p.m. Friday at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $12 for age 21 and older,$14 for those younger than 21.
— Lucinda Breeding