It’s been 10 years since Busta Rhymes cut his dreads, got in great shape and switched his style up and hip-hop hasn’t filled the void since.
I like most hip-hop lovers have been a fan of Busta Rhymes since Scenario dropped. I never bought a Leaders of The New School album, but I got my Busta fix through A Tribe Called Quest. When Busta officially went solo and dropped “The Coming” in 1996, I was an instant fan! Busta Rhymes officially was solid in my Top 10 rappers and possibly Top 5 depending on what day you catch me listening.
I was a fan of the color, the energy, the vibe, the lyricism and the pure, raw aggression that came with a Busta Rhymes track. You had other emcees that were able to achieve those things, but none did it like Busta. Busta felt and looked larger than life and stood out amongst any crowd. Busta would keep dropping and become an artist who’s albums I would cop even if I didn’t hear the singles. I expected a certain sound, look and feel from the music to the videos, but I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Then, Busta transformed and dropped “The Big Bang”, his first official album on Dr Dre’s Aftermath imprint.
I knew things changed when the reasons for listening to this album became “Because Busta cut his dreads” “It’s a Grown & Sexy Busta” and “It’s an Aftermath project”. Man, I don’t give a damn about no Grown and Sexy Busta! I want wild, crazy lyrical Busta! WTF is this!? I didn’t care about his haircut, his body and I wasn’t sure how Busta’s sound would fit with Dr Dre’s production.
Me not being a fan of Dr Dre collaborating with East Coast emcees largely because I don’t think a lot of “great product” gets produced consistently, I was anything but excited about this new Busta album and that honestly hurt me.
The Crown Mixtape was a great sign I was going to lose my mind and love the new album, but when “The Big Bang” dropped, I felt like I spent 10 years investing in a brand that literally got abandoned. I get it; At 34 years old, Busta Rhymes can’t be the same high spirited young man with the same young thoughts, but I think he could have made a better transition.
Are there some dope tracks on this album? Yeah! Reading the credits alone is a urban music orgasm. Is there any other album on the planet earth that has Dr Dre, Q-Tip, Missy Elliot, Stevie Wonder, Rick James, Swizz Beatz, Nas, Raekwon, Marsha Ambrosius, Will.I.Am, Timbaland, Erick Sermon and J Dilla all at one time in real time? However, that may be the real problem.
I think this album has too many Chefs in the Kitchen. Dilla and Q-Tip should have teamed up and produced this album. Why? Because outside of Nottz, Nobody has a better consistent track record with Busta Rhymes than Q-Tip and Dilla. It’s too many feelings on this album. There’s some old Busta feel and there is some “New Grown and Sexy Busta” and they don’t mesh well.
Does “I Love My Chick” really belong on the same album with “New York S**t”? How bout “You Can’t Hold The Torch” on the same album with “How We Do It Over Here” and “Cocaina”?
Stone Me Now; But even 10 years later, I’m not sold on the Busta Rhymes/Dr. Dre experiment. Their traditional vibes don’t match. Their tracks sound like they are trying to reach a compromise. These are two of the most uncompromising figures in hip-hop! Not even sure how 8 Dre songs made the album. 8 Dr Dre produced songs don’t make an Eminem album.
I felt like such an outcast because one of my favorite artist and emcees ever dropped an album and people kept hitting me like,
“I know you got that new Busta”
I’d give the most reluctant “Yeah…” and then say, I’m not really feeling it though.
People looked shocked and of course tell me the one thing they know.
“YOU DON’T LIKE TOUCH IT!?!?”
Actually, ni**a No, I don’t! It also doesn’t help that BET, MTV, every club DJ and radio station is playing the original or the remix every 30 minutes!
Many pleas were copped on this album. Especially in front of women. A dude at CHAMPPS said “I like how Busta on his grown man. I wasn’t really into all that rah-rah he was doing.” N***A HUH!? Why are you even alive!? In true oddball fashion, I speak my peace on Busta and the album and no one had a rebuttal, then I knew I was the only real Busta Rhymes fan at the table.
This album is heartbreaking for me. It’s the first time an artist attempted to show growth and I became one of those closed minded “trapped in the 90’s ni**as”. The reason why, is because song for song, I can’t say this album is better than “The Coming”, “When Disaster Strikes” and “Extinction Level Event”. “Anarchy”, “Genesis” and “It Aint Safe No More” have better moments on them. The saddest part of all this is Busta Rhymes hasn’t been the same since. We got another great moment with his “Look At Me Now” verse, but I can’t say that I’ve had the same excitement that I once had when I knew something from Busta Rhymes was coming.
A true fan of an artist will always find good in even the worst project. I did that. Now, I pray E.L.E 2 is the resurgence and proper “Swan Song” for one of the greatest emcees of my time.
Listen to “The Big Bang” album today. I did. Still hurts.