25-year-old David Brown, a.k.a. Young Buck, grew up in a tough part of Nashville, Tennessee. At age 14 he was selling drugs to pay for food and rapping to try and pay for his passage out of poverty. It wasn't long before Cash Money Records heard the budding young star and quickly signed him on. After four years with Cash Money, he joined Juvenile (another Cash Money alum) on his label UTP Records. In 2001, Buck recorded with another rapper who had recently hit the music scene hard: 50 Cent. Buck soon joined the G-Unit crew and in 2004 after a slew of guest appearances on other albums and G-Unit's double platinum release Beg For Mercy, Buck dropped his own platinum selling debut solo album, Straight Outta Cashville, but didn't feel that it represented the "real" Buck and began working on an album that would show the world what he's really made of.
Boise Weekly had the opportunity to speak with Buck. In his low, deep southern drawl, he talked about his past, his future and his present with his most personal work to date, Buck the World (released in March).
Boise Weekly: How are things going with the new album?
Young Buck: It's the No. 1 album in the country at this point now. My album is growing. It's definitely gonna go platinum, so I'm in a good space.
Congratulations. Are you doing a lot of tour dates right now?
Definitely. I got a lot a lot of touring I'm doing right now. I'm doing a bunch of shows everywhere and different club dates. Just movin' around, know what I mean?
How's that going? Are you having a good time?
Everywhere I go I make fun. A lot a lot of people show up at my concerts so I always enjoy my shows.
What's been the biggest change for you, besides the obvious of having enough money, that's come with fame and fortune?
Being able to pull some of the people that I know that was in situations that was life threatening out of 'em and able to make something outta they life. It's allowed me to have my financial situation and that helps me to help others, so that right there. Outside of that, ya know, to take some of the thangs that was nothin' to people and turn 'em into somethin', know what I mean.
That's funny, because I was going to ask you about the track "Clean Up Man" (on Buck the World): You talk about a responsibility to the people from your old neighborhood. Was that something that was always first in your mind; the thought that "when I make it big, I'm going to help the people who helped me back then?"
Yeah, yeah. That's always, I thank, the biggest dream for anyone who come up in the ghetto, that come up from situations where, you know, you don't have as much fortune as most. So, when you come up, the firs' thang you really wanna do is help the people who ain't able ... at least give 'em a shot to make the best outta they lives. You only got so many options when you come from the environment I come from. I wanna help that next individual do what he wanna do. Long as it's legal, straight up an' down.
[both laugh] There must be a lot of great things that come with this kind of fame and fortune, but what's maybe one of the worst things that come along with this, too?
I mean, yeah, like the Vibe Awards incident an' stuff like that. My life as far as goin' to jail and things of that nature are from havin' to react to certain situations in this rap game. At the end of the day, it has it's good and it's bad but it's more good than bad. Outside of that, it's jus' dealin' with a lotta people that sometimes have a off an' on switch in this game, ya know? They one way when the camera's on and when the media's in front of 'em talkin' to 'em and then the minute that you gone they turn into the person that they really is, ya know what I'm sayin'? That person they really is ain't the person that fits you, but they put on a front in order to get by with you. Dealin' with weedin' through that shit can be a big thang.
One of the things I read about you was that you've said Straight Outta Cashville wasn't your best material. What is it about Buck the World that makes it such a better representation of who you are as an artist?
I got more personal with this record and kinda like gave my life with this music so people could get it touch with Young Buck, know what I mean. I worked with other artists they expected me to work with and made the bes' out it such as Linkin Park, Chester Bennington from Linkin Park which is kinda crazy for you to hear me to even do a record "Slow Ya Roll" on my album [Buck The World]. With Straight Outta Cashville, I wanted people to know who I am, where I'm from, what I'm about and I did that. This album was jus' pretty much lettin' 'em know me up to date. Ya know, it's been two years since I put out a solo an' I want to let 'em know what's been goin' on with my life within these two years and where I'm at and where I'm headed to right now and get it out there. Like I said, I got the No. 1 rap album in the country. I woulda had the No. 1 album if it wasn't for country ass Tim McGraw.
[laugh] Is Buck The World exactly the way you wanted it to be?
Yeah, it's definitely that and a little bit more. There was a couple records [tracks] that was due to go on my album that wasn't able to go 'cause of content. They thought they was, you know, a little bit too hard, but I'm still satisfied with the album. Like I say, it's definitely sellin' more than any rap album that's out right now and I couldn't ask for nothin' betta.
And you did get 17 tracks on it. That's a lot of music.
Yeah, but for a lotta people, it's been two years since they heard a solo record from me but I kep' myself alive in the record community, in the streets period by different projects, you know. Just showin' up in a lotta other people's videos and a lotta mix tapes, but I really wanted to give 'em [his fans] a full, full album, more than enough which is why you got 17 tracks.
Obviously your children will be brought up in a completely different lifestyle than you were.
Oh yeah, they will.
Would you want them to go into this business?
I mean, I want them to go into anything they love. Long as it's a legal business, you know. I don't really care for them to jump into the music, but if in they heart they grew a love for it, then I jump in behind them 120%. You just gotta make sure they don't go off track ... and eventually they will find somethin' they love.
Is there any one particular bit of advice you'd your child if he or she said, "Hey, Daddy. I want to go into the music business?"
I'd say, "Push. It's four letters. P-U-S-H." Then they say, "Daddy, what that mean?" And I say, "Pray Until Somethin' Happen." [both laugh]
Are Young Buck and David Brown two very different people?
Nah, Young Buck and David Brown is the same individual. My name [Young Buck] was given to me from the streets. Ya know there was a point when I was involved in illegal activities, and they all be like, "Get yo young buck ass outta here." It jus' stuck with me to the point that even my mom be like, "Young Buck, come here." So once it got to that point, it stuck with me. I guess I can honestly say Young Buck and David Brown is the same individual ya know, but at the end of the day I'm a hustler period so both of 'ems about money. [both laugh]
From growing up running drugs on the streets of Nashville to a new album, and plans for an affordable clothing line, Cashville Clothes; an affordable line of tire rims called 50 Caliber—it's important to Buck that the things he creates or designs be accessible to everyone—and work on a movie and a reality TV show titled Buck The World set to air in June, this renaissance man of rap clearly PUSHed hard enough.
Empire Entertainment and Jay's House of Style (in the Boise Towne Square mall) present Young Buck with GTA, Harlem and locals at the Mardi Gras on Tuesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available through www.ticketweb.com.
Jay Puente and his business partner Marcus Calahan are working hard to bring more of these type of big hip-hop shows to Boise. Puente said "We're out here trying to make a presence for hip-hop. We're out here and it's a positive thing, bringing things the community hasn't seen before. This isn't typically that type of market, but there is room for it."