BioBorn in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Richard Terfry (aka Buck 65, Stinkin' Rich) spent the majority of his adolescence as a self-described b-boy. He eventually moved to Halifax in 1989, where he founded a seminal hip-hop show on local college radio. The program (dubbed "The Bassment") helped Terfry cement his status as Halifax's premier hip-hop head; inch by inch, artist collaborations, production duties, and club residencies soon followed. During this time, Terfry dabbled with mic duty, often to acclaimed results. While 1992's Chin Music helped him win a deal with local label Murderecords, 1996's Psoriasis (recorded with friend Sixtoo under the moniker Sebutones) garnered underground plaudits and 1997's 12" trilogy The Wild Life raised eyebrows overseas.
Later in 1997, Buck 65's first well-circulated full-length followed; Language Arts was hailed by everyone who heard it as a hip-hop triumph. Fusing Terfry's hard-luck grumble with a decidedly lo-fi (but immaculately produced) instrumentation, it trumpeted his (and Halifax's) entry into the hip-hop circuit. In spite of -- or perhaps, as a result of -- his tendency to veer towards more opaque territories (Terfry's albums rarely come with any tangible track listing), the big guns soon came calling. Revered turntablist Mr. Dibbs was so enamored with Terfry's records that he inducted Buck 65 into seminal underground collective 1200 Hobos. Fraternizing with the likes of heroes such as Biz Markie, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Cut Chemist, Terfry's follow-up was even more inspired. 1999's Vertex was hailed by critics as a progressive, brilliantly conceived concept album, a regulated mix of measured neuroses and marble-mouthed charm. The follow-up, 2001's Man Overboard, released on the respected underground Anticon, followed on that note, pitting Terfry's numerous personalities against each other, often to brilliant effect. WEA Canada picked up the record and released its follow-up, Talkin' Honky Blues, an excellent collection of introspective stories. An international contract materialized with V2, which released the career-spanning compilation This Here Is Buck 65. [AMG Mark Pytlik]