General Steele Welcome To Bucktown

Welcome To Bucktown is Smif-N-Wessun member Steele's solo debut, inspired by the 1975 Blaxploitation film Bucktown. The album samples dialogue from the film, aiming to portray life in Brooklyn through the eyes of a number of BK MCs. Bucktown is attributed to Steele and he appears on every track, but the album is more of a compilation featuring a cast of Boot Camp Clik affiliates and NYC underground stalwarts. The one-dimensional lyricism that was enjoyable on the first wave of BCC releases wears thin over 14 songs, and the merely competent production doesn't help. Bucktown has one beat by BCC's in-house production team Da Beatminerz, with Che Triumph and 7VEN H.E.D. providing most of the beats. The production is all-over-the-place stylistically and the album suffers from a lack of sonic cohesiveness. Bucktown's best tracks are those with a distinctively '70s sound. Ayatollah's soul-drenched beat on "Made Me Do It" complements Steele and 5FT's lament about corrupt cops perfectly. Album highlight "A Toast To Brooklyn" boasts a smooth backdrop worthy of Camp Lo and an excellent Buckshot verse. What makes Smif-N-Wessun a great hip-hop group is the preternatural interplay between Steele and Tek. Steele is gifted, with a commanding delivery and solid flow, but he struggles to distinguish himself from the swarm of identical-sounding rappers on Bucktown. (Duck Down)