UnderSong Underground – Buddy Peace

Sadie Walton profiles Buddy Peace in the first of a series of articles putting the spotlight on the biggest and best underground hip hop artists of the moment

Genre: DJ/ Mixer/ Producer / Scratch Maker - making the non-hip hop, hop.
Label: Strange Famous Records
Upcoming Projects: Second solo album, 2econd Class Citizen plus various guest mixes

Describing Buddy Peace in a few sentences is pretty tricky. If I was being unpretentious, I would call him a DJ. But DJ implies a he is merely a deck spinner, and grossly underestimates his talents. If I was being pretentious, I would describe him as the super producer who uses scratches to bring the tracks of others to life. But this implies his job is to make the terrible, brilliant.

In fact, Buddy Peace has been the resident remix DJ of Strange Famous Records since approximately 2004. His job is certainly not to make terrible tracks great. His job is to make already brilliant tracks EVEN BETTER. And this he does with aplomb.

Buddy has worked with some pretty well-known names in hip hop in the past few years. Buck 65, Sage Francis and B Dolan have all taken advantage of Buddy’s unique approach to mixing, and the fact such luminaries put their tracks in the hands of BP cannot be ignored. However, it is Buddy’s own work that we are considering today, not his guest appearances (no matter how impressive). His approach to music is surgical. He finds tracks he loves, deconstructs them, lays out all the pieces and them rebuilds them on his trusty MPC. The result is that his tracks or 'mixtapes', have insinuations of the familiar, whilst presenting a result that is totally fresh, unique and resolutely addictive.

Buddy’s art (as that is what it is), cannot be pigeonholed. Trust me, I’ve tried to label it, and lump it under one genre. And not being able to pigeonhole artists can make the listener nervous. The best way to start with Buddy is by plunging right in. Pick a track, any track, and go for it (loudly, of course). His early work, like A Crew Called Self has more of a hip hop bent to it, but with mashed up vocal pieces, rap edits and trademark scratches. His later work, Go To Hell, Bastards! has more of an electronica and psychedelic funk vibe, but is no less edgy.

Overall however, Buddy’s work has one overriding theme – to expect the unexpected. His work is full of juxtapositions; its dark and unsettling, but makes you want to dance. Its serious and dramatic, yet makes you laugh. Buddy himself is a juxtaposition – one of the most talented DJ’s of his time, utterly boisterous at the helm of his decks, yet humble, down to earth and gentle, a guy who just wants to make awesome mixes out of awesome tracks.
And that is what makes him so great.

Recommendations:

Download the SFR Winter Podcast. It’s a great introduction to the type of mixing you can expect from BP, plus he narrates throughout, so by the end, you feel like you’ve made a friend (No, I don’t get out much).
Sudden Death Blues. Strange Famous Winter Podcast (Strange Famous Records, 2009)

Stand Out Tracks:

A Crew Called Self Part 003. A Crew Called Self (Boomkat, 2004)
Needle. Sage Francis, scratches and production by Buddy Peace, Sick Of Wasting. (Strange Famous Records, 2009)
Like You. Felt, produced and remixed by Buddy Peace

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