Buckshot and P-Money - BackPack Travels (Review)

Buckshot and P-Money - Backpack Travels (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"Backpack Travels" is a collaborative album between Boot Camp Clik / Black Moon emcee Buckshot and New Zealand based hip-hop producer P-Money. The album features guest appearances from Steele (of Smif-N-Wessun), Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Raz Fresco and others and is fully produced by P-Money himself. It was released on June 24, 2014 via Dirty Records / Dawn Raid Records / Duck Down Music.

1) Crown (Intro) - The first song on the album features Buckshot spitting a single verse about choosing hip-hop over a life of crime over a celebratory horn instrumental. The beat and rhymes are nice and set the tone for the rest of the project. Dope. - 4/5

2) Just Begun (featuring Raz Fresco) - The beat on this joint features a chopped up soul sample over stomping boom-bap drums and ill cuts on the chorus. The instrumental has definitely got me nodding my head and both Buckshot and Canadian hip-hop artist Raz Fresco sound great over it, rapping about the state of hip-hop nowadays and about how it's a whole new era. I'm really feelin' this track. - 4/5

3) Flute (featuring Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly) - Buckshot links up with Pro Era's Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly over a hypnotizing flute based instrumental that is another of my favorites on the album so far. This song was the lead single from the project and it's real dope, with all three emcees flowing smoothly over the beat and spitting about their dreams of making it in the rap game. It's nice to hear a vet like Buck sharing the mic with the latest generation of New York emcees. Very dope track. - 4/5

4) Sweetest Thing (featuring T’Nah Apex) - This was the second single released from the album and it's banging. The instrumental is mainly centered around a beautiful string sample that reaches a crescendo during the chorus and is looped up over dusty boom-bap drums. Lyrically the song is fire as well, with Buckshot and Pro Era emcee T’Nah Apex spitting about how "it's so hood, but it's all good." - 4/5

5) Clear Light (featuring Chelsea Reject) - P-Money comes through with the hardest instrumental on the album so far, with some hi-pitched synths and an exotic sample over energetic drums that should definitely get you hyped up a bit. As far as the rhymes go, this track finds Buck teaming up with Chelsea Reject (who I don't really know much about) as both emcees reflect about their careers in the rap industry (among other things). Very nice. - 4/5

6) Red Alert - This song has a kind of old school hip-hop feel to it, with a chopped up sample, blaring air horns and a scattering of soft piano keys over upbeat drums. Lyrically Buck goes solo on here and spits some boastful rhymes full of witty punchlines and ill wordplay. Yet another dope track. - 4/5

7) We In Here (featuring David Dallas) - Buckshot and New Zealand emcee David Dallas go in over another crazy P-Money production full of staccato keys and boom-bap drums. This album has been pretty crazy so far and this cut keeps with its consistent theme of hard beats and rhymes. Very dope. - 4/5

8) Killuminati - Well damn. P-Money delivers an instrumental that sounds very DJ Premier-ish to me and the shit is absolute fire. The beat is dope as hell and Buckshot rips it, poking fun at the supposed  connection hip-hop has with the Illuminati as well as speaking on other propaganda. This one's a banger. - 5/5

9) The Choice - Buck spits about being a "backpack rapper with a mainstream flow" over a chopped up soul sample and lively drums that up the energy level of the album a little. The beat is dope Buckshot sounds real good over it, keeping my head nodding the entire way through. I'm feelin' this one as well. - 4/5

10) This Is My World (featuring Steele) - The final song on the album finds Buckshot teaming up with Smif-N-Wessun emcee Steele as both rappers spit about touring all over the world as part of the legendary Boot Camp Clik. The beat on this joint is probably the most spirited on the entire project, with a celebratory sample layered over rapid-fire hi-hats and driving drums. Another really dope track. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

4  / 5

because it's really ill the whole way through. P-Money definitely delivered with the production on the album, crafting beats that perfectly compliment Buckshots style and content while still managing to sound unique when compared to his other projects. The beats range from gritty street bangers to more uplifting instrumentals without any of the tracks sounding out of place. Lyrically the album is just as strong, with Buckshot proving that he still has it after all these years. Many of his rhymes on here center around him reminiscing on his legendary career as well as where he is headed in the future, which is dope and is a welcome change from some of his more aggressive rhymes. The albums short length also works to it's advantage since there is no filler to be found and ends up leaving you wanting more. This one's a banger. Don't sleep.


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