Buddha - BLESSED NOT LUCKY
BLESSED NOT LUCKY is an album that unapologetically reps East Atlanta. Buddha’s storytelling abilities use various similes and pop culture references in order to convey his narrative. Throughout the album Buddha references several Hip Hop veterans and/or legends in his lyrics. He is also very apt at mentioning historical sports moments and figures in accordance to thoughts, feelings or the innerG of Buddha’s life. I was initially drawn to the album because of the cover art. The imagine above shows: Buddha smoking, wearing a Michael Vick jersey standing in front of the Big Boi portion of the Outkast mural in L5P. Hella Atlanta.
The album begins with production by Rudeboii — slight sirens, a deep bass and Buddha in the background loosely singing the hook until the beat builds up and he comes on the track commanding:
“I’m on Runtz and D’usse, D’usse and Runtz/tell me what you say you want/ this ain’t no game, Jayceon/ I want that blunt and the bong/ passed a backwoods to my momma/ I’m getting high like Obama/ I don’t gotta hide like Osama/ my shit a new groove like dat llama”
Initially, I felt it was too simple and was like, “wow another one of these youngins rappin’ about runtz and D’usse.” Hype…but as I listened to the project a few more times through I found myself singing the hook and looking deeper into the lyrics and found multiple meanings within the lyrics I initially found simple. The Obama aspect of the line has 3 meanings I was able to identify: “getting high like Obama” — a simile referring to the infamous picture of Obama smoking weed, “getting high like Obama” — rising in social rank and importance to a particular community, and “getting high like Obama” — could be a direct correlation to smoking on Obama Runtz.
It also feels as though the alternating line, “I ain’t gotta hide like Osama” could refer to opps but seems connected to Buddha smoking with his momma; that the woman that gave birth to him knows the ins and outs of what he’s pursuing. There’s a certain pride one can carry themselves with knowing that one or both of their parents are somewhat fucking with the aspirations, dreams and means to get there. Familial support is important even if it’s represented as smoking a blunt with mom. The last section, “my shit the new groove like dat llama” — love this simply because The Emperor’s New Groove is a Top 10 movie from childhood but also because BLESSED NOT LUCKY does have a different groove to it.
The second track, “Vibe Check” is upheld with a smooth and clean production by Banbwoi. In the song Buddha questions various situations and people tryna understand where their innerG at,
“vibe check; where the fuck are the vibes at?
After a vibe check you’ll find Buddha using similes to express and harness his own vibe with likeness to the determination of Tom Brady and ruthlessness of Tom Chambers in his line,
“Do whatever to win, like Tom Brady/ Put my foot on they neck like Tom Chambers”
After “Vibe Check,” BirdieBands brings us into a more playful and fun production with “Slip N Slide.” This is one of my numerous favorite tracks on the album because Buddha was able to catch a balance of declaration and celebration.
“I saved the day and I paved a way/ I made a play but I can’t fade away”
In this line Buddha is taking credit for the path he is forging — a slight flex of personal capabilities and taking his dreams into his own hands (despite the path others may have wanted him to take.) This was a track that I could hear features from other Atlanta artists like KEY! or Young Nudy (although the track is great the way it is.)
BLESSED NOT LUCKY then slows down a little in the next song, “I Know a Girl” where Dylan Furai creates a smoother and daintier production that still has a consistent hitting bass. In this song Buddha speaks on the balance innerG he receives from women in his life. For every woman that loves and supports Buddha there’s a woman or two who may be waiting on his downfall.
The following song, “Check In My Name” has such a beautiful production by Crackgod that rides the line between R&B and Hip Hop/Rap. Definitely a production that you cruise to late at night looking at city lights. The song features Cluu (also from East Atlanta) and DAVESTATEOFMIND (who laces the track with gorgeous vocals.) I LOVE this song purely off of the vibe and the texture both of the features add to the song.
After a more sentimental song Buddha gets back to drawing a line in the sand between him and whoever believes they’re in his league with, “We Don’t Relate.” And if I’m being honest there’s not more I can say about this song besides Buddha’s lyrics:
“we ain’t run the same race/ we ain’t playin the same game/ we don’t wear the same thing/ we don’t think the same way — we don’t relate… goat shit call me LEBRON BRADY”
Yeah, bars and confidence. Besides that great production by Miles650.
We get back to another dope production by Dylan Furai (Dylan Furai hoe) on “POP.” I didn’t like this song too much (not because of content or sound but just how the song/content was laid out.) But what I do appreciate about the song is all the geographical references such as: Marta, Smyrna and Turner (which I probably wouldn’t have not recognized if I didn’t live in Atlanta for a couple years.)
Then we get to the track, “Dr. Dolittle” with production by Danny1of1 that sounds like a combination between drill and trap (which are kind of cousins.) The song features Jourden who just magnifies the track to the 1000th degree. Her entire verse has so many dope punch lines and references along with a laid back confident delivery. My favorite line is below but y’all just gotta really tap in with the project and hear this song and verse for yourself.
“I’m bumpin’ that Wu/ this how a Ghost talk”
Again, I just appreciate how many Hip Hop legends made it into conversation in this album in entirety.
The next two songs, “Stuck!” and “Misunderstood” are great tracks with production by OVRCZ and Devin Leavell. My only comment about these two tracks is that they are the two shortest tracks on the album and are lined up back to back. I’m not too fond of that layout. I do wish they were separated or even made into one song like how they did in the early 2000’s (having 2 different songs be one.) Although, I do understand that that’s just how things work out sometime maybe the sounded best by each other when creating BLESSED NOT LUCKY.
Dylan Furai may be one of my new favorite producers. Just off this album he’s already produced 3 of my favorites and the next song, “Gresham Road” is one of them as well. I always love when artists genuinely represent where they are from and don’t shy away from the realties of where they come from.
“I got a backend I ain’t tryna reverse it/ I am who I is/ I ain’t gotta rehearse”
On “Gresham Road” Buddha tells us a little more about what it means to be from Zone 6, East Atlanta. He also makes a reference to Sean Carter and aspirations to be on that level one day. After Buddha’s verse we get to the chorus that is signified by the bass picking up, dropping a little harder and Buddha coming more dominately,
“Say he got smoke on Gresham but nigga I post on Gresham/ I blow zaza, no regular and I’m smoking some pressure.”
This song reminded me of Zone 6 (Remix) by Young Nudy — not in the sense that Buddha was copying or that the songs sound similar (because they don’t,) but both artists in both songs are representing and celebrating where they are from at the same time.
“GO BIG” produced by Diitii was one of my least memorable tracks but when I asked my girl (who is from Atlanta) to spin the album this was one of her favorite songs so I paid it more attention. The chorus stood out to me the most,
“Shawty want tits, I’m with it/ shawty want ass, I dig it/ shawty want lips, I get it/ shawty want dick, she get it”
This was dope. Buddha ain’t policing his woman and the way she wants to present or enhance her body. There seems to be a double meaning here; that his girl(s) want all these aesthetic/body type enhancements and Buddha acknowledges it because he got it (or will in near future) to provide her with the resources/money to get it done. It also sounds like he’s simply just supporting and acknowledging what his girl(s) wants/envisions/how she wants to claim her body — there’s a pattern of Buddha supporting his girl and friends in this song… he states what his girl or friends want or talking bout then he follows up the rhyme/bar/line by giving his response to it (in support of.)
The final track , “Defrost (outro)” is a genuine outro track. Wakai’s production slows down and makes it feel like a wind down/end of album/but we’ll be back. This was the song that had me spinning the album over and over and it was specifically for this line:
“They ain’t just killin these sons they killin these daughters/ I know we lambs of God — is that why we slaughtered?”
Not very often do rappers talk about that reality for women too and this was my first time feeling like an artist genuinely cared about us in that way. Shoutout Buddha for thinking about us women beyond attraction or family. Besides this line I really fucked with the chorus too,
“Back and forth road trips, Atlanta — B.R./ I bring my strap for protection not tryna be hard/ I do this shit cuz I’m chosen it don’t be hard/ they say once your heart frozen it won’t defrost.”
There’s a theme here of our reality as Black people and what’s threatening our lives but also how we can protect ourselves (the best we can.)
BLESSED NOT LUCKY is an impressive debut album from Atlanta artist Buddha. He has impeccable beat selection and is able to tie in many references and similes that tells us about him, the world he’s living in and where he is going. If you enjoy hearing what’s bubbling in the undercurrents of Hip Hop in the South (specifically Atlanta) this is a great one to tap into!
Available on all streaming sites: https://album.link/BNL