Ugly Duckling – Bang For The Buck

Ugly Duckling - Bang for the Buck Artist: Ugly Duckling
Album: Bang For The Buck
Label: Fat Beats
Rating: 3.5/5

If you been listenin to these cats since
the Fresh Mode EP, then go ahead and tell ’em who you came to see: “Yudee!”,
would likely be the answer to the call, just as the ducklins put it
on their call-and-response banger of the same name. Bang for the
Buck
is the latest offering from Andy C., Dizzy Dustin and Young
Einstein. They are the same crew who put together the mock-concept album
Taste the Secret
, so I doubt anyone is expecting (or even desiring)
something too heavy or meditative from the crew behind the meat-shake.

Their
mission statement is succinctly delivered on “The Breakdown”
as Dustin spits: “Einstein, Andy and I started this group / to
get back to the roots and rock retarded loops.” And that’s pretty
much their brand of party music: infectious hooks, playful verse and
ample instrumental breakdowns delivered by deft crate-digger Einstein.

Lyrically, the M.O. has not exceptionally evolved, nor did it need to.
Andy and Dustin are silly-sharp shooters; the most important change
they’ve made to their delivery is becoming less reliant on reinvented
verses of old-school heavy-hitters. They have become noticeably quicker,
and they make better use of allotted air-time, but the bottom-line is
that they make incisive and playful similes (“I steal the show
like a klepto”); and they pen stick-in-your-head hooks (“Smack,
don’t make me laugh / talking that way. Get off the crack”). In
a prelude sketch to their battle, a fan queries: “Which one is
your favorite rapper from the group?” The ensuing battle demonstrates
that they are of the same school, with barely distinguishable styles.
Andy: “Andy Cooper, I don’t need an alias / Stun anyone in a hundred-mile
radius.” Dizzy: “I’m a vet when it comes to a mic-check /
With no interference I get clearance from the flight-deck.” Those
two couplets could run butt-to-butt without raising an eyebrow.

Young
Einstein holds his own: he keeps it silly, and his palate seems to contain
more choices to pull from than it used to. His production is also more
daring, more intricate, and features many more samples per track than
on their 1999 Fresh Mode EP. Latin influences are still evident on tracks
like the Apache-infused “Let it Out” as well as a few percussive
back-beats scattered about (the globetrotting anthem “Slow the
Flow” for one), but they are not as apparent as the samba-terrain
tread on their debut LP Journey to Anywhere.

A
sardonic high-note is achieved on “Shoot Your Shot” when a
mock-emcee performs his ‘laughable’ flow in a sort of oldies-fried fitty-cent
cadence: “You know I love Pac / That’s why I got shot” and
“Takes one to roll a blunt / takes two to get jumped.” The
goodvibe party anthems are what you look to Ugly Duckling for, and offerings
like “Bang for the Buck” and “Slow the Flow” deliver.
This outing from ugly Duckling is a matured effort that proves: they
can stick to their guns and still keep your attention.

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