Buck 65



Forget 50 and Kanye, Buck 65 (aka Ricardo Terfry) is arguably the most innovative lyricist in hip-hop. Sure, his stripped-down beats and piano melodies may not be crafted by Timbaland, but the minimalist musical compositions on Situation force the listener to focus on Buck 65’s idiosyncratic ingenuity. Whether he’s name-checking Link Wray on “Lipstick” or waxing nostalgic about “cats stuck in trees, robots and rocket ships” on “Way Back When,” Terfry’s signature drawl will captivate even haters of the genre because there’s no pretense or posturing involved in his music. “No joke, hit the low note, we all go to heaven in a little row boat,” he rhymes during the chorus of “1957”-and even if we’re not exactly sure what the hell he’s talking about, it’s nearly impossible not to sing along. (STRANGE FAMOUS/WARNER BROS.) Jonah Bayer