Young Buck is from the projects of Nashville, Tennessee, better known in Buck’s circles as Cashville, the 615. When Buck started getting money in his G-Unit hay day, he bought his mom a crib and moved her out of the projects, as any good man would. While Buck’s street sensibilities served him well as a hustler and emcee, he and his handlers failed in crossing over when it came to complying with all that comes with legitimate income. Not just the IRS, but the eyes and ears of Government agencies focused on you and your every move.
In a matter of days, Young Buck will begin an 18-month prison sentence on weapons charges. It’s been a long run of unfortunate events that can be traced back at least to the 2004 Vibe Awards, when Buck took the fall for the stabbing of a man who sucker-punched Dr. Dre after Dre refused to sign an autograph. Buck being from the streets, he took the heat, and one thing lead to another which has brought us to today, Buck going to jail after the IRS raided his house and found a gun (broken and supposedly not even his.) To get details of this timeline, XXL posted a more comprehensive breakdown back in May, as well as this interview with Buck from just a few days ago.
The footage from the music video “Put Me In The Projects” (above) has gone unseen, until now. This pivotal moment when Buck’s name has been dragged through the mud without any celebration of his artistry, Jason Goldwatch steps up telling the story of tapping the greatness of Young Buck.
Photos and Words by Jason Goldwatch:
With the “Put Me In The Projects” video, one small piece to our Billion Bucks film, it was about the frame, the light, the imagery, and of course the aesthetic. But it was also equal parts context. This is conceptual motion picture making, and the subject is just as important in the context. The location, the story of why we were there, how we got there, how I was allowed to shoot, and why no one got hurt. It was in the summer of 2008. By this point Young Buck and I had been shooting for months. He had just returned from Cuba, and it was time to start making “music videos.”
Part of what I really love about Buck is his sense of self. He was always so comfortable in who he was, no matter where he was. As am I, usually. And there lies our connection. He would school me on cleaning hollow point shells of finger prints, and I would school him on drinking orange juice and tripping on mushrooms. Both of us mutually enthralled in our opposites, but somehow sharing similar perspectives on the “living of one’s life.” One night on his jet, he played me a song called “Put Me In The Projects.” To me this song spoke of this very comfort level. Weather in a private jet with 50, or on the corner in the hood, he was always the same rad ass human being.
He told me he wanted to shoot in his hood, in the housing projects in Tennessee. I told him it sounded like a night time video. He agreed, we smoked a grape blunt and went to work.
I started looking into night vision, initially to eliminate lighting, and crew, and allow myself to embed fully, and roll to the PJs with him. To be completely free of corny uncomfortable “local crew” (white boys) that might fuck up our wave, and roll solo.
So I rented a military grade night vision rig, the same exact one being used overseas by Troops. In fact I rented it from a military rentals place upstate (NY). So I packed my shit and boarded one of those metal birds and went to work with Buck in Ten-a-Key to go shoot “Put Me In The Projects.”
That afternoon we waited for the sun to set, and drove in. I remember for “public safety” there was only one street in and one street out of the housing projects. “How stupid are the city planners?” As we pulled up, Buck stopped the car and gave daps to a group of young braided up teenagers chilling at the entrance with a walkie-talkie, and by the time we arrived to the courtyards, everyone new was coming up, lighting up and stacking to my camera.
The night went pretty much with out a hitch. Minus a fight, an unreasonable gun shot, and an attempted kidnapping of myself; foiled by Buck, I got what I needed by 4 or 5AM.
We slammed a beer and I left the night vision rig in its military green case, complete with white stenciled words and numbers with Bucks crew. We smoked one in his ride on the way to the airport. And I remember he asked if I’d bring some of “them trippy white boy drugs” down with me next trip, as we were planning on going fishing with his “white uncle Bill.”
I returned to New York and began the edit.
A week went by, and the night vision shit still hadn’t been returned upstate. We got charged for another rental week. 4K out the budget, what a waste.
I continued to cut.
A second week went by, I called Sha $ to explain how lame wasting eight thousand dollars was, as we were charged a second week of overages.
And then, as all great stories do, it didn’t get crazy ’til the last minute. I was sitting at Decon, stoned in the dark editing when Home Land Security called my extension. The dickhead agent was far from polite explaining he was informed we had rented a “Military Grade Weapon” and weren’t returning it. Adding that “unless we wanted to make the TERRORISM WATCH LIST we should ship the equipment back before the end of the day…” insisting we send him the air bill to prove it.
So.. I called Buck. “Yo, my dude. Unless you want the government meddling in your business, I suggest we return that “weapon” ASAP.
“Dick heads,” was all he said. And the large green case was sent home that day. But that never stopped the government from meddling in Buck’s business anyway.