Young Buck Live Loyal Die Rich

Onetime G-Unit soldier Young Buck has struggled with industry rule #4,080 since severing ties with 50 Cent's label. Live Loyal Die Rich sees the Nashville rapper trying to find his way in 2012's rap world. Awkward attempts at Rick Ross-style bangers like "Get It All" fall flat, but his storytelling shines on "Drug Related," a vivid picture of ghetto Nashville backed by an eerie organ loop. Buck's husky growl complements the nasal drawl of fellow Nashvillian $tarlito on club banger "Touch The Ceilings." "Ready Now" is perfect riding music, Buck dropping hard-earned life lessons over smooth jazz sax and rolling hi-hats. Though he made his name with brash boasting, Buck sounds most comfortable when he gets contemplative. On "No Place For Me," he laments the trap life over a mournful soul loop, while Goapele's "Closer" soundtracks Buck's sober meditations on lost friends and his responsibility to his daughter. Live Loyal Die Rich is too long by half, but the highlights serve as a strong reminder of Buck's talent. Someone give this man a proper deal. (Kash Roc Entertainment)