With The Solution, Black Moon/Boot Camp Clik powerhouse Buckshot has made 9th Wonder his second-most frequent production partner after Da Beatminerz: This is their third effort together, after The Chemistry and The Formula. Buckshot sounds characteristically rugged over a rotation of beats that range from guitar-inflected triumph (“The Big Bang”) to ruminative, haunted soul (“The Feeling”). By now, they’ve settled comfortably into a groove, veterans presenting themselves with unaffected authority.
Not that they don’t acknowledge the harsh reality of the game as it stands for vets these days: The gripping “Shorty Left” features Buckshot as the frustrated artist trying to maintain his underground integrity and Rapsody as the wife who’s wondering how that’ll help the family eat. And the premise of “Stop Rapping” is a pragmatic take on the classic step-up-your-rap-game challenge to pretenders: If someone years deep has to bust his ass for every ounce of hard-found success (“I’ve been at it for five joints/ And I still ain’t make a profit or pocket one point”), what hope is there for second-rate entry-level MCs who expect instant success? But a grind like that leaves no room for middle-age complacency, and The Solution knocks down everybody’s reps but their own.