Neef Buck, born Hanif Muhammad, is an American rapper from Philly. Once a part of the Grammy-nominated duo rap group Young Gunz signed with Roc-A-Fella Records and Beanie Sigel’s State Property, Buck and partner Young Chris produced the chart-topping songs “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and “No Better Love” feat. Rell. Buck then decided to further his career by going solo.
Rolling out caught up with Neef Buck to get the details on his solo career.
Where did the name Neef Buck come from?
I have a lot of alter egos and Neef Buck is one of them. Coming up in Roc-A-Fella, I wasn’t really following suit when I got there. I was the black sheep of State Property when we first got together and I was standoffish to a lot of things and a lot of people. At the time, I carried protection all the time. Memphis Bleek started saying, “Neef Buck don’t speak much, but keep the heat tucked.” I just ran with it.
When did you professionally start your rap career?
Chris and I signed in 2001-2002. Our first album, Tough Luv was released in 2004.
What was life like in Young Gunz and Roc-A-Fella?
We were rock stars. It was family; Roc life familia. It was the life; what every young artist would want from the game. We were definitely spoiled over there. We had the biggest ceo/artist in the game. We had the biggest clothing line from an urban clothing line. The movies we had, State Property 1 & 2. I can’t even put it all in words. It’s a book of stories to tell, but it was definitely a roller coaster.
Why did that roller coaster come to an end?
As far as Roc-A-Fella, Jay and Dame went their separate ways and Jay pulled Young Chris, Memphis Bleek, Freeway, and myself backstage while we were on the Best of Both Worlds tour and told us that we would be making major changes and decisions and he wanted us to be a part of that decision. So we went with Jay and he became president of Def Jam and he had Roc-A-Fella to himself. Young Chris and I put out Brothers From Another album. As soon as Jay was president, it was like a whole different time. It was totally different from the Roc-A-Fella we got signed to. The second album wasn’t as successful as the first one. We did some other business with Jay, but after a while, we went our separate ways. It ain’t no love lost. We still do a lot of things to [this] day. We still do shows together and it’s all love, but as far as business, it really ain’t no business ties as we speak. There’s always opportunities to do stuff with him and he with us. It’s still a roller coaster, though. That work we put in is timeless; the music we put in is timeless. It’s a different time in the music game period. People ain’t even making that type of money that we were making at that time. The labels aren’t even giving out money to the artists. People aren’t getting signed like that. I don’t think any other artists were living how we were living.
How’s life as a solo artist?
It’s great. I can’t complain. Everything comes back to me. I have the music and my clothing line. I’m still a piece of State Property, still got my Young Gunz thing going on and I do my solo thing with the Forever Do Me brand. Forever Do Me 8 is a part of a series and it was just released a month and a half ago on Sept. 5. They can get that anywhere they buy music. I shot a bunch of visuals for it. I have Jadakiss on it, Raheem Devaughn, Dave East, Trae the Truth. I have the first record with the whole State Property ever on it. There’s never been a record with all 7 members on it in history and I have that record; it’s a Quincy Jones situation so I’m definitely proud of that. It’s called Game of Thrones.
What inspired you to call your album Forever Do Me 8?
It’s a series that started in 2009; that’s when the first Forever Do Me came out. Everything was organic and happened for a reason. I pray every day and the ducks fall in line. When I started the first Forever Do Me, I was doing them like street mixtapes rapping off of other people’s beats. I came across a beat that The Game used for one of his albums. It had a sample in the beat and it sounded like it was saying forever do me, so I named that song that. When I got to name the whole project, I thought I should name the whole album that. Everyone who follows me know I stand for that. I mean, I’m a team player, but at the end of the day, I do me. It wasn’t really thought about, it just happened. I branded myself without even trying to and it went over to clothing. People can pick that up at foreverdomeclothing.com.
What was it like performing at the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher?
That was dope. They reached out to someone from Roc Nation to reach out to us. I reached out to everybody else and we got it done. We went to a warehouse in Brooklyn and had all the guys except a couple come and it was dope. We knew about two days before we did it. It turned out great. When the actual awards show was happening, we flew down to Atlanta and got to watch it for the first time with the rest of the crowd. It bugged me out when people stood up giving us a standing ovation. It was good, positive energy. When it actually aired, it was mayhem on my social media and phone. That’s what motivates me and keeps me pushing.
Are you with a label or independent?
I’m independent and signed to my own label, Forever Music Records.
What’s the hardest thing about being in the industry?
It’s the business side; you have to learn the business. Sometimes you can be loyal to a fault, but the key is never changing up. You get your blessings from what you do, not from what others do for you. You remain the same, stay blessed, humble and go hard. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Whatever works for them may not work for you.
What’s next for Neef Buck?
I’ve been doing a lot of spot dates and big things with Sneaker Villa doing pop-up shops; they believed in my brand. I just came back from Vegas performing at Nelly’s surprise party at Drai’s, so we have a lot of shows coming up. Like I said, it’s a roller coaster; that Roc-A-Fella roller coaster. We [are] still moving. It’s going to be more Forever Do Me. [There will] be a Young Gunz project. A movie is coming and the clothing is going to be bigger and better. There are going to be more visuals from Forever Do Me 8. Make sure you check those out at neefbuckmusic.com. Follow me on social media at Neef_Buck and join the movement.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists?
You can’t have any pride. Take advantage of social media, the internet, and connect the dots. Just be yourself, stay determined, and keep fighting for what you want. Don’t put more pressure and responsibilities on yourself than you have to. Nowadays, there’s no structure, just go for it. Be everywhere that you know about involving music. Let those egos go and don’t be too cool for school. Be on top first, then trip.