It seems like every time a G-Unit project is released these days, the same conversation begins: Is this the end of the line for 50's crew? Fif, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck racked up multiple plaques the first go 'round of G-Unit's reign, with their solo albums and the group's collective effort, Beg for Mercy. But since then, subsequent releases by Tony Yayo and converts Mobb Deep, as well as Banks' sophomore selection, have all fallen way below expectations. Meanwhile, M.O.P., Olivia and Hot Rod are still bubbling on the backburner.
Enter Young Buck. The defiant Tennessee Titan — who has adamantly stayed true to the G-Unit company line, echoing 50's refrain: "It ain't over" — called MTV News and gave us the rundown on his upcoming album Buck the World, due March 27. Aside from the standard evolution-and-growth spiel, Buck boldly proclaimed his album — which features guest spots from 50, Young Jeezy, T.I., UGK and others — will be the one to curb the negative G-Unit chatter. And since he calls himself the "Clean Up Man," let's take a look at his song lineup, track by track:
1. "Push Em Back"
"I made that record with the mind frame of whoever's album drops the day my album drops, they need to push that sh-- back," Buck explained. "A lot of people are enjoying the club, but this one of them records that got a lot of energy in the music, and I wanted to start my record like that."
2. "Say It to My Face" (featuring 8ball and MJG, and Bun B)
"That record is crazy. It's produced by a cat named Gigolo," Buck said. "It's like, you have a lot of people that say a lot of different things about G-Unit and me personally, but then when I'm in their face it be a different thing. So for the ones that speak negatively about us, look, bruh, say it to my face. And it's an honor working with 8ball and MJG, and Bun B. I grew up listening to all of them, I was pretty much raised off their music, so for me to be standing beside them, it's like, 'Damn.' "
3. "Buss Yo' Head"
"That's just the street sh--," Buck said. "My album got that street feel. I think if you take the streets away, there's no more Young Buck. ... It's really capitalizing off my culture in Tennessee, our type of down-South flavor."
4. "I Ain't F---ing Wit U!" (featuring Snoop Dogg and Trick Daddy)
"What I wanted to do was put some Southern music with the West Coast flavor, and the record speaks for itself," Buck explained. "We pretty much speaking on a lot of snitches in this game ... a lot of dudes that make us say, 'You know what, I ain't f---ing with you.' "
5. "Get Buck"
"Polow Da Don is a real dude. When I first got online with Polow, I told him, 'Look, bruh, I want you to come to my city, I want to show you how I get down, and we'll be more comfortable,' " Buck revealed. "So he flew down to Cashville. ... We hung out for a day or two, then went into the studio. I actually watched him cook that beat up. ... I knew it was gonna be a single the minute the track was finished. I heard the horns; they stood out so much to me. I was thinking of every marching band in America when I heard that one. ... a lot of women like Polow, so just being around Polow, you get access. [He laughs.] I was like, 'Polow, tell Ciara I said, "What's up?" ' Then he'll come back and be like, 'She said, "What's up." ' "
6. "Pocket Full of Paper" (featuring Young Jeezy)
"It's one of those records that wasn't hard putting together, because Jeezy is one of my homeboys," Buck said of the track, which was produced by DJ Toomp. "We got a relationship built through music. ... We just kicked it one day, went in the studio, had fun and made a hit. A lot of people are enticed because we both got report cards in the streets, so when they see us together there's a lot of excitement. It's a real respect record. I guarantee every club is gonna be banging that record."
7. "Buck the World" (featuring Lyfe Jennings)
"[On that song, I talk about] a lot of different issues that have been going on in my life," Buck explained. "You hear about the Vibe Awards incident ... about having success in this rap game and really have a foot still in the streets."
8. "Slow Ya Roll" (featuring Linkin Park's Chester Bennington)
"That's one of my favorite records on the album," Buck said. "I'm definitely trying to make that my third record. Everything that you hear on every verse on that record is the truth. ... That's why I wanna make a video for that record. ... I became a fan of Linkin Park from touring overseas, 'cause they're big over there. So when I heard Chester's voice, I was like, 'Damn, I could hear his voice on this song.' And I happened to be in the studio, thinking out loud and the engineer was like, 'I did a lot of their records,' and said, 'Let me see what I can do.' "
9. "Hold On" (featuring 50 Cent)
"I think I gave 50 the business on the verses," Buck said. "That's the first time people really had the chance to hear me and Fif on a record where we going line for line with each other. It created a lot of hype; people are like, '50 killed Buck' and some are like, 'Buck killed 50.' ... I had already had that record done, and 50 pretty much took it on his own to get on ... and diss Cam'ron. I ain't really playing a part in that one." [Note: Buck is referring to an early version of the song that circulated on the Internet; 50 appears on the album version but his lines dissing Cam'ron have been edited out.]
"I'm doing things and moving amongst the same individuals that Tupac pretty much moved with," Buck explained. "I appreciate the diversity he brought to the game; he brought the raw uncut of the street. .. I made the reference [to Tupac's 'Brenda's Got a Baby'], meaning, 'I wish he was here to witness this. To see someone who came from nothing into something.' "
11. "U Ain't Goin Nowhere"
"Produced by Dr. Dre, and I knew 'Shorty Wanna Ride' from [Straight Outta Cashville] was one of my biggest records," Buck said. "So I wanted to cater to the ladies more on this album. And who better other than Dr. Dre?"
12. "Money Good"
"Produced my Lil Jon, and that record is one of those records we all need," Buck said. "A feel-good record. A get-money record. A record you could put on and get your hustle on to."
13. "Puff Puff Pass" (featuring Ky-Mani Marley)
"That was a very special record for me, featuring Bob Marley's son," Buck explained. "It almost feels like Bob Marley was in the building with us. Ky-Mani is like a big brother to me. I think Jamaica is gonna really love this record, definitely."
14. "Clean Up Man"
"That's produced by Jake One, and I pretty much wanted to address everybody that's had G-Unit in doubt," Buck explained. "I've heard all the rumors: 'Is the Unit falling off?' I noticed that ... we get a lot of credit for the wrongdoing more than the right stuff we do. If you look at us from the right point of view, you'll understand there's never been a group where each individual has been as successful as G-Unit. Ever in history — not even N.W.A. ... When you get to the raw, uncut talent, that's what we got as a crew, so you can never count us out."
15. "4 Kings" (featuring T.I., Young Jeezy and Pimp C)
"The hook is pretty much already known throughout the South, from Pimp C," Buck said. "It was a really popular track back in the day, ['Havin' Thangs'], that Pimp C did with this cat named Big Mike — I wanted to bring that back. That was one of my favorite records growing up as a young one coming up in the game. So I wanted to make it a new-school record."
16. "I Know You Want Me"
"The ladies calling me handsome right now," Buck said. "Sometimes at my shows it's more ladies than fellas. So I had to let them know how much I appreciate them."
17. "Lose My Mind"
"I think the whole rock world is in touch with me," Buck said. "It's crazy, even Travis Barker came to my listening party ... a lot of rock cats are hollering at me. On this I kind of got on some rock sh--. ... I like to cater to the ones that cater to me. And that's exactly what I'm doing with this record."