It’s a 1derful Life (Hosted By DJ Rhettmatic)

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In the spirit of such previous expatriate successes as J Dilla and HouseShoes, Ann Arbor's Buff1 has kept one foot at home, despite moving to California a year ago to advance his career. Thankfully, he doesn't seem to have let the sunny weather and attractive women distract him. With a new album, Crown Royale — with DJ Rhettmatic — in the works, Buff uses this new mixtape, It's a 1derful Life, to show fans that he hasn't lost his touch.

Given the purposeful approach of his last album Pure, Buff1 thankfully uses 1derful Life to showcase his brawny, witty rhymes and his robust flow. He holds his own alongside Detroit staples MarvWon and Stretch Money, while outshining new West Coast neighbors Shawn Jackson and Diz Gibran. Bars like "My eight's is Troy Aikman, my 12's is Joe Namath, 16's Joe Montana, Hall of Flow famous" pack their punch months after they hit the net, while new quips such as "I was focused on green, rockin' spinach and artichokes" reveal he's still got it.

But despite Buff1's return to punchline-ready verses, he hasn't lost his penchant for relatable rhymes and candid storytelling. "Momma Song" recounts and appreciates his mother's sacrifices, while Buff uses "Photographs" to make an audible time capsule/scrapbook to help future listeners contextualize their past.

It's a 1derful Life's flaws are few. Some may dislike the abundance of previously released material and Buff's style over substance approach. Plus, the talented Rhettmatic disappoints with his lack of scratching, mixes and mash-ups as the mixtape's host. But Buff is still spitting solid rhymes and he's got capable wordsmiths alongside him to keep things interesting. As a result, this is a worthy appetizer to the impending Crown Royale.

Download the mixtape free at: tinyurl.com/michiganhiphop

William E. Ketchem writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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