SXSW If you ever wanted to overdose on Hip Hop, SXSW 2013 is surely the place…
- Posted on Feb 1st 2011 10:00AM by Jenny Charlesworth
"I actually didn't realize the anniversary until the record was almost over," Buck 65, aka Richard Terfry, tells Spinner. "So I wasn't thinking about it while I was making it, and I'm glad because it probably would have troubled my psyche.
"But when I did think of it, it definitely had a profound psychic effect because there is something kind of terrifying about that number 20; two decades just seems so long. My first thought, of course, is, 'Oh my God, I'm old.' And then there was the second wave of, 'Wow, I've managed to continue to do this for 20 years -- that's a long time and I've seen a lot of people come and go in that time."
"I think the title might be misleading," he adds. "It may set people up to expect that the album would basically be a look back, but it's not a direct retrospective. The title was kind of an afterthought."
Listeners might not find snippets of a fresh-faced Buck 65 on the mic, but the disc's namesake isn't a complete red herring. When surveying ways to describe Terfry's place in the hip-hop canon, a word like "odd" only seems to fit.
"I've been a magnet, it seems, for unusual sorts of things," he says. "Maybe I've just been open to it or something, but it seems I have way more strange experiences than most people. Maybe it's because I've traveled so much while doing this and it's led to all sorts of craziness and pitfalls and ups and downs and traps that I've had to worm my way out of -- it's definitely given me lots to draw on for songs."
Terfry admits that perhaps the oddest thing about this particular album -- which features guest spots from the likes of Gord Downie, Hannah Georgas and Mister Heavenly's Nick Thorburn (Islands), and is largely composed of tunes plucked from a series of 2010 EPs -- is that it paints him as "terribly grown up."
"One of the big themes -- it's subtle but it pops up -- around the record is basically my marriage," he says.
"The song 'Paper Airplane' is about the early days of my relationship with my now-wife when she was living in Colorado and I was living in Toronto, and we were writing letters to each other for about a year -- we were both pretty low-tech people and didn't have cellphones. And then, the song 'Final Approach' is about the same period when we would have to travel a lot to see each other, and how good it felt to have someone waiting for you at the airport."
Inching towards 40, Terry accepts he's in a different place these days, a place that often feels, well, at odds with the current state of hip-hop.
"I don't think it's a revelation to anyone that it's always been in a super strong way a youth-driven genre," says the rapper. "It's always been like, 'Who's the next 18-year-old to wear the crown?' So I think it has a very strong message and a very strong audience among teenagers and people in there early 20s, so once you kind of get over the hurdle of your mid-30s, I think it's fair to say that there's less and less for you to really relate to in terms of your life.
"When I'm looking for some sort of experience out of culture that's meaningful to me, I feel like I either need to be able to relate to it somehow or, at least, for it to capture my imagination with the way its evolved over this period of my life -- I'm just not finding that in hip-hop the way I used to."