Young Buck

Straight Outta Cashville (G-Unit/Interscope)

Young Buck (born David Brown) isn't twice as valuable as 50 Cent, his benefactor, but neither is his rapping seven-ninths less worthy because he's only eaten two pieces of lead compared to the esteemed Mr. Cent's nine. Rather, he's a dynamic, if derivative, performer who's got a ways to go before measuring up to the big man. Fortunately, G-Unit is firing from all chambers right now, and like The Hunger for More, the irresistible recent disc by fellow 50 protegé Lloyd Banks, Straight Outta Cashville sports plenty of guilty pleasures.

As usual, the lyrics are seldom among them, because they too readily conform to gangsta-era stereotypes. But if a nasty slap at Halle Berry midway through "Let Me In" fails to thrill, the tune's monster beat and hook-heavy chorus provide excellent compensation. Needlz, that track's producer, scores again on "Bang Bang," highlighted by a hilarious sample from Nancy Sinatra's version of the Sonny Bono ditty "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)," and high-rent dial-twisters from Lil Jon ("Shorty Wanna Ride") to Red Spyda ("Welcome to the South") work similar wonders with familiar material.

Cashville isn't guaranteed to make Young Buck a star, but he's got a shot.

 
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