Bukue One certainly has friends in the right places, or is he the one in that place? He is the manager of an exhaustive list of great Hip-Hop acts, such as; Blackalicious, Aceyalone and Del the Funky Homosapien, to only name a few. It is an interesting transition, then, for one to make the switch from a mogul to the mic, but can this be done gracefully by someone who so obviously has an ear for talent?
Bukue One’s “Intromission” is just that, an introduction and a mission of one man to prove his emceeing skills. It becomes immediately clear that he is also quite interested in creating a persona that stays true to the art of pure Hip-Hop. The “Cheese Intro” introduces the listener to Bukue on stage, likely at one of the many festivals that he has promoted, doing an accapella freestyle to hype the crowd. He repeats that there is a “case of too much cheese and not enough butter”. So, within this first track, Bukue successfully solidifies this image and gives the audience an idea of what he is all about.
On the title track, Bukue further explains the purpose of “Intromission” when he states, “My LP is designed to be an intermission. To let you step out of yourself, get some vibes, replenish and come back.” That sentiment is abundantly clear when the airy beat kicks in, which combines a steady snare, a jazz horn, and piano keys. It’s doubtful that anyone will be truly blown away by Bukue’s vocal presence seeing that it is pretty standard fare, but the complexity of his rhymes sometimes shines through.
A great example of Bukue One’s lyrics can be found on the following track, “Bring It Back”, when he drops a few particular bars that stand out:
“Independent, being self-governed
Diversified talent or you might get ousted
Vani-shed, left out for dead
Understand contracts must be written in red
Thoroughly, or of course there will be
Discrepancies things fall apart easily
Brain storm documented on track
Replenishing the Hip-Hop, yo, let’s bring it back…”
The track is a celebration of what Hip-Hop is supposed to embody, like the good ol’ days, before marketing and gimmicks took over the airwaves. And even when he gets ‘gimmicky’, by turning into a Kardinal Offishall clone on the Ammbush produced “Dangerous”, he succeeds.
Surprisingly, however, is the fact that the tracks featuring some of Bukue One’s most celebrated guests are the weaker cuts on the album. For instance, “Majah Knock,” which is said to be the single, features West Coast milk carton rapper Saafir and fails to maintain the cohesive feel of the album. It is not an atrocity, but the synthetic and aptly knocking bass is so off the radar compared to the rest of the albums sound. “FReal Version Ride” is a posse cut with Abstract Rude, Del, Motion Man and a few others. All of the aforementioned artists are accomplished, but there is nothing spectacular spit over the fast-paced Arabian beat
On “Writaz”, we get another pounding beat that sounds like a Heatmakerz production that M.O.P. would get wild on, but Bukue basically talks over it. This qualm is not an isolated incident as his emceeing turns lazy far too often.
Bukue One proves that when he is on point, he is a force to be reckoned with, but when he flirts with “commercial appeal” by abandoning his obvious love for Hip-Hop music, it usually ends in disaster. Some artists have proven that pure Hip-Hop can be synonymous with a greater mass appeal, both members of Black Star come to mind, yet Bukue One is yet to prove this on his own right.
When all is said and done, Bukue One’s “Intromission” is a pretty decent release that has its positives and negatives. Knowing that he has such a discrete ear for talent, as the manager of some of the very best underground Hip-Hop has to offer, raises expectations. Unfortunately, his shoddy ear for beats, sometimes lazy flow and inability to create an album his very own will make the listener sad that he never reaches those loftily imposed expectations.