Since starting at Envy Magazine, I never really thought it would get to the point where artists in the city of Ottawa, and even across the country, would be sending me records, tweeting at me, and emailing me asking what I thought of their musical output. This is something truly wonderful to me, as it alerts my musical brain to local talent which I may not have been able to discover otherwise. One such artist like this is an Ottawa rapper by the name of SawBuck, who was looking for what I had to say about a mixtape he had recently released. PREMOnition is an 18-track release that sees SawBuck deliver rhymes over a selection of beats from renowned American producer DJ Premier (one of his many nicknames is “premo”, like the title implies). While the beats may not be his own, PREMOnition is all the proof I need to say that SawBuck is one of Ottawa’s most talented, hard-working rap artists.
As I mentioned above, none of the beats used on this mixtape are SawBuck’s, and they all come from the collection of DJ Premiere. However, the reason this effort should be celebrated is the way he uses them. The man is capable of laying down just over 41 minutes of rap skill over all 18 tracks, and it doesn’t take long for us to figure out that he means business.
“I Told Y’all” sets the tone right from the get-go, with SawBuck taking control with wonderful wordplay and effortless flow. Its dark, menacing feel reminds me of something Jedi Mind Tricks could create, with Buck having the relentless lyrical attack reminiscent of someone like Eminem, while sporting a certain intelligence and sensibility you could equate with other ‘wordier’ rappers such as Aesop Rock or Kendrick Lamar. As he says in the song’s hook, “the time for lookin’ back is done”, and he certainly means it – blazing a wondrous trail through the rest of the mixtape, and making sure you know he’s capable of adapting easily to any sort of musical situation.
With most of the mixtape’s tracks being under three minutes in length, “You Ain’t Touchin’ Me” was another one that caught my ear upon first listen, with its incredibly catchy hook (You ain’t touchin’ me with respect to the game/So don’t be foolish disrespectin’ my name) overtop of a stomping, old-time soul beat. The title track (which is also the mixtape’s closer) is also a very strong one that caught my ear, which features fellow Ottawa rapper Dysiple spitting a few bars. Other features include area talent Artiztik, KB Westwood, Aldean Alliston, Neeco, and Atherton.
Simply put, SawBuck has talent, and PREMOnition is only a small taste of what we’re going to get from this guy in the near future. Currently working with Ottawa’s DJ SoNice, the two will be dropping an album (and potentially a free EP) under the moniker ‘Buck ‘N’ Nice’ this summer. Keep your ears to the ground, Ottawa, because my own premonition is that SawBuck’s best is yet to come.