There’s Only One

In interviews, Buff1 has said that his album titles have multi-dimensional meanings. The Athletic Mic League member's critically acclaimed solo debut, Pure, was a reference to undiluted hip hop, God, and raw, natural emotion. Likewise, the Ann Arbor rapper's new effort, There's Only One, isn't only an allusion to his musical individuality, but also an appeal for listeners to treasure their own lives. With a well-rounded combination of passion and entertainment, Buff1 gives ample evidence for both here.

Much of the album finds Buff making music with a purpose, employing relevant subject matter and a crystal clear flow to maximize effectiveness. He uses "Man Up" to urge a friend to not let his woman unreasonably confine him, while "Dream Streets" vividly depicts the harsh consequences of street life before giving hope to those already caught up. On "Rain Dance," he attempts to spread the responsibility by mocking trendy dance hits and encouraging the influential to create and support music with substance. "It ain't a movement if you ain't movin'," he prods.

Elsewhere, Buff rhymes about music itself: from braggadocio about his talent to insight into his creative process, and everything in between. On the trunk-rattling single, "Beat The Speakers Up," he assuredly quips: "In a market flooded with garbage, I'm like Noah's ark." Meanwhile, "Numbers Can't Measure" shrugs off critics oblivious to his struggle, while "Love The Love" sees him and AML brethren Tres Styles showing their appreciation to fans. The Lab Techs production team handles all but one of the disc's songs, giving Buff a steady mixture of robust bangers, celebratory tunes and subdued melodies appropriate to the lyrics they support

There's Only One chance for Buff1 to make his mark. And with an LP that's equally pertinent, reflective and enjoyable, it's good to see him make the most of it.