Friday, November 16, 2012

Revisiting Busta Rhymes' "When Disaster Strikes"

Note: Initially, Method Man's "Tical" was going to be the first post for this new series idea, but since I'm bumping this Busta album as of this posting, I had to get this out first!

Prior to this post, I couldn't tell the last time I played Busta Rhymes' sophomore album. It wasn't a complete random choice, as I recently played Camp Lo's "Uptown Saturday Night", which was also released in 1997, and since that year had my best summer ever, I decided to go back in time, like always! After his successful 1996 debut "The Coming", I really anticipated Busta's second album, especially after hearing "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" for the first time. A brief story on this album: In September of 1997, the month this album was released, my cousin Andre and I had a small, indirect contest to see who would get this album first. Needless to say, he won, lol, as I bought the album about a week after he bought his! Yes, I remember everything, lol! Busta's fascination with the millennium at the time continued into this album, as it was now "2 1/2 years left until the year 2000". Let's hope on the Flipmode Squad train as I dissect "When Disaster Strikes".

We begin things with the standard intro to a Busta Rhymes album, with voiceovers from Lord Have Mercy (remember him), the late Rudy Ray Moore (aka Dolemite), and Spliff Star. Faithful reader, this may sound strange as hell, lol, but try to listen to this intro (and outro) in a room with ALL the lights out, and I guarantee it would make for a somewhat creepy atmosphere, lol.

The Whole World Lookin at Me (Produced By: DJ Scratch)
Indeed, the whole world was looking at Busta at this point, especially after a nice 1996. Although this track has a somewhat slow beat, it does set things off well. Trust me, things would crank up as we continue on. 3 out of 5

Survival Hungry (Produced By: DJ Scratch)
"All my n***** dirty, hungry and thirsty
Hit ya like a 30 30, f*** what ya worth see
You know we gotta get this money, survival hungry"

That hook says it all. Hunger, gotta have it, survival,  gotta maintain it, and Busta's song makes those things clear, by any means necessary. 4 out of 5

When Disaster Strikes (Produced By: DJ Scratch)
A fairly decent song. As mentioned, Busta was really into the millennium concept, and this song is one of the reasons why. 3 out of 5

So Hardcore (Produced By: The Ummah)
Busta just rides this bangin Ummah track so smoothly. One thing you could count on back in the day was a few hardcore style tracks from Busta, usually to positive results. 4 out of 5

Get High Tonight (Produced By: DJ Scratch)
Featuring a KC & The Sunshine Band inspired hook, this is your typical "ode to gettin high", and Busta pulls it off, and I say that because you rarely heard Busta say anything about sparkin one up, lol. 4 out of 5

Turn It Up (Produced By: Busta Rhymes)
Most may still remember the remix to this song, but this version is just as good, as Busta takes Al Green's classic "Love & Happiness", slows down the beat a little, and turns it up, pun intended. 4 out of 5

Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See (Produced By: Shamello & Buddah Epitome)
One of the many classics from Busta. This track is memorable for all the right reasons. Throw it on today and I bet it'll get the crowd moving. 5 out of 5

There's Not A Problem My Squad Can't Fix (featuring Jamal, Produced By Busta Rhymes)
Remember Jamal, one half of short lived duo Illegal? He collaborated with Busta a few times. T his song could be looked at as filler, but in my view it's decent, as it allows you to catch a breather after the previous two songs. 3 out of 5

We Could Take It Outside (w/ the Flipmode Squad, Produced By DJ Scratch)
When Busta, Rampage, Rah Digga, Spliff Star, Baby Sham, and Lord Have Mercy got on a track together, they always had great chemistry with each other and brought a sense of adrenaline, and they did that on just about every posse cut they did together. You wanna bring it, you got beef, you got something to say? Well, we could take it outside son! 5 out of 5

Rhymes Galore (Produced By: Rashad Smith)
Rashad was always underrated as a producer, and this was another one of his very good tracks. Busta does deliver rhymes galore on this standout. 4 out of 5

Things We Be Doin For Money, Part 1 (Produced By: Easy Mo Bee)
In one of the best forms of storytelling from Busta, we get the first part, as he describes the things he would do for the money, according to the story. Mo Bee's track is nice too. 4.5 out of 5

Things We Be Doin For Money, Part 2 (featuring Rampage, Anthony Hamilton, & The Chosen Generation, Produced By 8-Off and Clarence Dorsey)
Rampage joins Busta for the conclusion of this series, as they trade rhymes back and forth in the form of a supposed phone conversation. The song ends on a hilarious note, as Busta "wakes up" (revealing he was dreaming all along) and calls Rampage to tell him about the dream. Rampage, literally in the middle of sleeping, shuts Busta down and threatens to "buss his s***" if he calls him that late again, lol. 4 out of 5

One (featuring Erykah Badu, Produced By Rockwilder)
Rockwilder, who would go on to a decent level of fame as a producer in the late 90s - early 2000s, was behind this laid back track, as Ms. Badu and Busta meshed completely well on this song. We do things, as one, yes indeed. 4.5 out of 5

Dangerous (Produced By: Rashad Smith)
Busta knew how to make hits, especially for the radio, and this was one of them. It lit up the airwaves (and TV) in 1998. Very good stuff here. 4 out of 5

The Body Rock (featuring Puff Daddy, Mase, and Rampage, Produced By Sean "Puffy" Combs and Chucky Thompson)
A mainstream album wouldn't be complete in 1997 without a Bad Boy presence, and over a nice track, everyone delivers a good verse, leading up to Busta's great closing. 4 out of 5

Shortly after this song ends, we get a brief snippet of a Spliff Star song, titled "F*** That", which was a good track, and just as you're getting into it, Busta immediately cuts it off in the middle, lol, questioning Spliff as to what his song is doing on his album, lol. Although Busta stated that Spliff's debut solo album would drop in 98, that debut never came.

Get Off My Block (featuring Lord Have Mercy, Produced By DJ Scratch)
Lord Have Mercy almost steals the show from Busta on the final song of this album.Good closer. 4 out of 5

Outro (Preparation for the Final World Front)
Standard closer.

This album still holds up exceptionally well today, and it does give "The Coming" (Busta's best album) a run for its money. He took what worked on his first album, and while things were a little more commercial the second time around, Busta made it work, largely thanks to his energy and charisma on the mic, which always shined bright when he was inspired and motivated. I like it a little more today than I did back it 97 (and I liked it a lot back then too), and now when I think about it, I feel my strong 4 star rating for this album still stands. I was close to raising it to a 4.5, but respectively, no.

Update: Man, this album sounds like I'm rediscovering it all over again. It certainly runs neck and neck with "The Coming". I'm *close* to raising it up to a 4.5, but that'll make it better than "The Coming" wouldn't it, lol??

Album highlight- Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See 

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