Monday, October 26, 2015

The Imperial Busta Rhymes Project






From his beginning with the Leaders Of The New School (referred to as LONS from now on) to the imperial time of the Flipmode Squad, Busta Rhymes has my support since I first heard him on this classic:



Yes indeed, A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" (and you know the remix will be included too). And from there, when I continue to think about Busta prior to his solo debut in 96, these joints also come to mind:








And all of this was BEFORE his album dropped! One thing I always knew was that he had a strong knack for having dope guest appearances (especially on remixes, sometimes stealing the show in the process) and equally dope freestyles (you should've seen how crazy I went when I first heard the freestyle on Funk Flex's "Volume 1" mixtape, where he wrecks Raekwon's "Rainy Dayz" instrumental). It was clear since his LONS days that a solo career was all but in the making, it was only a matter of time.

Loyal reader, this starts the build towards my Busta Rhymes, in which I will cover all of his studio/solo albums from the aforementioned "Coming" debut up to "Back On My BS", the most defined look at his discography. In addition, I'll keep a running rating & ranking tally throughout this project to keep things interesting. And without further delay, let's get this project underway with "The Coming"!!!!!





Release date: March 26, 1996


Lol, before I get to the album, I have a rather funny story (what else is new right, lol). When I was in the 6th grade, a friend of mine named Larry let me borrow this cassette. My plan was to give it back to him immediately after I listened to it, but unfortunately that did not go as planned. Riding the bus on my way to school one day, I was listening to it on a walkman I had (remember those), which also wasn't mine, smh+lol, and out of nowhere, another friend of mine (who shall not be named, lol, but if he's reading this, he knows who I'm talking about) just randomly asks if he could listen to it. I don't know why I said yes, but that turned out to be a big mistake. When I got the stuff back, the walkman was somewhat destroyed, earphones completely taken apart and the Busta tape was missing, smh+facepalm. When we arrived at school, I went to the bus driver and told him what happened. He half-heartedly asked a couple of the kids that were exiting the bus if they had seen my belongings, and the ONLY one who responded was the guy who asked to listen to it (he said "nope" with a big smile on his face as he got off the bus and I knew it was him). And check this out, going home that day, do you know the bus driver presented me with the two destroyed pieces of the earphones, smh???? I was SO sad and distraught. Some story right, lol.

And FINALLY we can get to Busta's debut, lol! I remember "Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check" blazing radio and TV at the time, and if there was one single that got me (and others) hyped for this album, that was it and it worked like a charm.


1. "The Coming (Intro)"
Produced by Rick St. Hilaire and DJ Scratch

Across two dope, bass driven beats, Lord Have Mercy and Rampage The Last Boy Scout (referred to as simply Rampage from now on) formerly introduce Busta and the new album, in somewhat of a dramatic fashion. When Busta finally comes in, lol, he dedicates his portion of the intro "to all the niggas who keep fallin", lol, as well as mentioning "there's only 4 years left" (more on the later comment towards the end of the album) and other hip hop related jewels.


2. "Do My Thing"
Produced by DJ Scratch

Busta definitely comes through on this apply titled song, ruff, rugged & raw all the way through. Nostalgic wise, this song would be a "5 out of 5", as a song itself it's "4 out of 5", so we'll settle in with a respectable "4.5 out of 5".



3. "Everything Remains Raw"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

"Yo, one more time I come/Knucklehead flow that make you act real dumb/Yo, I burn your food like Florence/Run up in yo crib like my name was search warrants"


This, loyal reader, is my favorite Busta song of all time, yes indeed! I remember going crazy when I first heard it, couldn't stop bobbing my head and of course when I bump it today, man does it take me back to that moment in time. Lyrically Busta keeps it raw as ever over one of Mo Bee's dopest beats ever. Classic right here. (This also was the "B-side" to the "Woo-Hah" single.)
*5 out of 5*



4. "Abandon Ship"
Featuring Rampage
Produced by Busta Rhymes

8 bars a piece throughout (minus a "4 bar" session at the beginning of the second verse), Busta and Rampage display some very good chemistry here, tag team style. This may or may not have been the first song that Busta was actually behind the boards on, but he would get comfortable there going forward.
*4 out of 5*


5. "Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check"
Produced by Busta and Rashad Smith



"When I step up in the place, ay yo I step correct/WOO-HAH, cause I got you all in check!"

"Sorry homeboy but your flow sound used/Got to pay your dues baby, you know the rules"


Oh man, this is one of MANY classics that come to mind when I reminisce on the year that was 1996. Featuring a brilliant sample courtesy of Gait MacDermot's "Space", this first single from the album proved that not only could Busta hold his own solo style (as if he hadn't done so already), but he could make bangers that wouldn't be out of place on radio and TV, as well as something that even non hip hop fans could love. It also was the start of the wildly outrageous, yet dope videos that would always accompany a Busta single. This classic is the start of that and it holds up exceedingly well almost 20 years (wow) after its release. AND, it also was nominated for "Best Solo Performance" at the 1996 Grammy Awards, but lost to Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise".
*5 out of 5*



6. "It's A Party"
Featuring Zhane
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

See what I mean by making a song that everyone could love and it not be out of place on radio and TV? This one was SLIGHTLY below "Woo-Hah" in terms of radio and TV spins, but it's just as good and with the underrated Zhane on the hook, this was a winner then and now, especially in party setting obviously. ANOTHER classic.
*5 out of 5*



7. "Hot Fudge"
Produced by The Vibe Chemist Backspin

To this day, I'm honestly not sure what Busta was going for here. Is "hot fudge" akin to hip hop, a fine ass woman or am I just analyzing it too much, lol. Either way, this song was (and still is) very good.
*4 out of 5*


8. "Ill Vibe"
Featuring Q-Tip
Produced by The Ummah

1/3 of A Tribe Called Quest links up with 1/4 of the (former) LONS and what we get is about as dope as you would expect. And in a creative twist, go back and revisit Busta's opening verse, where each ending word ends with the "ez" sound (mad credit to genius.com for pointing that out as well).
*5 out of 5*



9. "Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad"
Featuring Jamal, Redman, Keith Murray, Rampage and Lord Have Mercy
Produced by The Vibe Chemist Backspin

 "Who the fuck I be I, you cannot see I/Flabbergasted, blasted, my Magnum P.I/Oops I lie, I got a cannon bout the size of Grand Canyon/I'm prime time, giving MC's Knots Landing/Duck, heavens to fuckin Mergatroid/I drop noise that employs the unbelievable" -Redman

This 8:11 BANGER remains one of the dopest posse cuts I've ever heard and again, when I first heard it, I went crazy. All involved bring different, yet tight verses over an EQUALLY tight beat. What more can I say about this one?! (And revisiting this one, I have to give the "best verse" nod to Redman.)
*5 out of 5*

  

10. "Still Shining"
Produced by The Ummah

This wasn't the only song titled "Still Shining" in 96 (Mobb Deep's classic of the same name comes to mind), however, Busta smoothly works Ummah's dope production, including a beat switch during the second verse in a nice touch. 
*5 out of 5*



11. "Keep It Movin"
Featuring Dinco, Milo and Charlie Brown of LONS
Produced by The Ummah

This reunion of LONS was bittersweet. On one end, it was good to hear them all on the same song again for the first time since 93, but this would be the last time they would all collaborate together, not sure specifically why. Oddly enough, they all kept it movin after this.
*4 out of 5*


12. "The Finish Line" 
Produced by DJ Scratch

"You can live true baby, you can live trife
Whatever way you chose you got to leave your life
Aiyyo you're running out of time, and you 'bout to cross
The finish line, the finish line"


With or without the following outro, this song would've been a damn good way to close things. The hook above defines the song in a nutshell, definitely the deepest song on the album. You may have to listen to it a few times for its meaning.
*5 out of 5*



13. "End Of The World (Outro)"
Produced by Rick St. Hilaire

Starting with this album, Busta was REALLY on the millennium and the arrival of the year 2000 and that was certainly clear during this uniquely dramatic closer.



Before I offer my final thoughts on Busta's debut, I just want to say that the ONLY thing that was missing was the Ol' Dirty Bastard assisted "Woo-Hah" remix (which you can check out below).Just thought I'd mention that. 



Continuing on, I've often said that "The Coming" was my favorite album from Busta (his best), and I still stand by that, although that may be challenged by the next album covered in this project. In my view, any doubts about Busta on the solo tip were proven wrong in 96. He came through with an excellent album, a monster single in the form of "Woo-Hah", all leading to a deserved Platinum certification. Job well done.


1. THE COMING (4.5 stars, up from my previous 4 star rating)





Release date: September 16, 1997


I could've sworn this album dropped on 9/23/97, but it's all good. I have another story leading into this album, albeit a small one, lol. My cousin Andre and myself had this friendly competition when it came to certain albums, to see who would buy the albums first (this album was one of them in 97). Dre won this "bet", as I would cop the album from Wherehouse Music the week after its release.

(I covered this album previously on the blog, so what I'll do is use the exact words from that revisit during this portion of the project. All new thoughts will be utilized with bold italics.)



1. Intro
Part 1 produced by Busta Rhymes
Part 2 produced by Omar Glover
Part 3 produced by DJ Scratch

We begin things with the standard intro to a Busta Rhymes album, with voiceovers from Lord Have Mercy, the late Rudy Ray Moore a/k/a Dolemite (Lol, trust me, Dolemite was vulgar and direct as ever), 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 (Lol, I haven't done this in years, but it's probably still as creepy as it sounds).

   
2.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 (and very successful) 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


(A "4 out of 5" is more like it for this one.)
 

3. Survival Hungry

Produced by DJ Scratch
 
"All my niggas dirty, hungry and thirsty
Hit ya like a 30 30, for 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*

"I complete then I defeat, destroy who ever complicate, how I eat, survival hungry nigga"


4. 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*
 

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*



6. Get High Tonight
Produced by DJ Scratch

Featuring a KC & The Sunshine Band inspired hook (courtesy of "Get Down Tonight"), 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*


7. Turn It Up 
Produced by Busta

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*

 Original

Remix


8. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See 
Produced by Shamello & Buddah, Co-Produced by 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. ("Hit you wit no delayin so what you sayin yo/Silly wit my 9 milli, what the dealy yo", two memorable opening bars right there. I'm surprised I didn't have more to say about this one during my previous review, lol. I still feel the same in terms of the words you just read, but man, this joint had me really looking forward to the album when I first heard it. Furthermore, Shamello, Buddah and Epitome did an EXCELLENT job with the use of Seals & Crafts' "Sweet Green Fields" and Busta owned it completely. The single was a major success, being nominated at the 40th Grammy Awards for "Best Rap Solo Performance", but losing to Will Smith's "Men In Black", and it also received four VMA nominations at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, including "Best Rap Video" and "Best Male Video" and you'll see why below. And speaking of the video, it was SO dope, then and now, inspired by Eddie Murphy's classic "Coming To America". This song remains a classic and is one of a few of his songs that receives radio play today.)
*5 out of 5*




9. "There's Not A Problem My Squad Can't Fix"
Featuring Jamal
Produced by Busta

This 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*


10. "We Could Take It Outside"
Busta, Rampage, Rah Digga, Spliff Star, Baby Sham and Lord Have Mercy as the Flipmode Squad
Produced by DJ Scratch

When Busta, Rampage, Digga, Spliff, 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 accomplished that on just about every posse cut they did together (Can't forget about Mercy's dope line, "you can't see me like vagina lips"). You wanna bring it, you got beef, you got something to say? Well, we could take it outside son!
*5 out of 5*



11. "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
(After this revisit, gotta go the full monty, "5 out of 5", for this one.)




12. "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 (That's really stating the obvious, but work with me here, lol). Mo Bee's track is nice too. *4.5 out of 5*
(I may be overrating this one, but this has always been one of my favorite songs on this album. From Mo Bee's fitting beat to the storytelling provided by Busta in a truly aggressive form, this is dope stuff right here. Another full monty with the "5 out of 5" rating.)




13. "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 two part series, as they trade rhymes back and forth in the form of a (supposed) phone conversation (The conclusion brings things full circle from part 1). 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 (and probably hungover, lol), shuts Busta down and threatens to "buss his shit" if he calls him that late again, lol. (And yes, the Anthony Hamilton on the hook is the man who sings "Comin From Where I'm From", lol.)
*4 out of 5*


14. "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 (who also had a successful 1997 due to her "Baduzim" debut) and Busta meshed completely well here. We do things, as one, yes indeed. 4.5 out of 5
("4 out of 5" for this one.)
 

15. "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
(History has judged this to be another Busta classic, necessitating a "5 out of 5* rating. This was also another successful single for Busta, earning another "Best Rap Solo Performance" nomination at the 41st Grammy Awards, but losing again to Will Smith, this time due to "Gettin Jiggy Wit It". Wow, lol. In addition, the accompanying video was dope, featuring Busta memorably playing his version of Sho'fuff from "The Last Dragon".)

 

16. "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 "Fuck That", which was a good track based on what was played, 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. (With hindsight being 20/20, I don't think Spliff was capable of doing a solo album, especially at this point in the late 90s. He was great as a hype man and usually did well on guest appearances, but I don't think anyone was checking for him in terms of a solo career, even with the backing and blessing of Busta.)


17. "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 (appropriately titled too).  
4 out of 5

18. "Outro (Preparation for the Final World Front)"
(I think you know what to expect from this outro, lol.)






This album still holds up exceptionally well today, and it does give "The Coming" (Busta's best album) a run for its money (It still gives it a run for its money, but overall "The Coming" remains my favorite from him). 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. (Oh yeah, the rating will be changing on this one. It also received a deserved Platinum certification.)


1. THE COMING (4.5 stars)
2. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 stars, up from my previous, long time 4 star rating)





Release date: December 15, 1998    



1. "Intro- There's Only One Year Left!!!"
This intro was a little over the top in some aspects, and I'm sure you know what the tone is so far into this project. And from here, we go right into.....

2. "Everybody Rise"
Produced by Nottz


"Survival of the most fit for real niggas, no doubt/Get whats yours from out this fucker before your time run out!" 


Man, I still remember my long time friend Shaun going crazy when he first heard this joint. Clocking in at an even 3 minutes, this is one of the most hype openings you'll ever hear, featuring Busta going in over the bangin, Controllers' sampled ("If Tomorrow Never Comes") Nottz production. If you can't rise up out your seat from this one, you're listening to the wrong song, lol!
*5 out of 5*



3. "Where We Are About To Take It"
Produced by Nottz

"So consistent, demand everybody's assistance/Let us reach for all things without any resistance"


The lines above describe Busta's motivation on this one, all over the course of one long, but very good, verse with no hook. Honestly, the song didn't need a hook so it was a good move on Busta's part to not incorporate one.
*4 out of 5*


4. "Extinction Level Event (The Song Of Salvation)"
Produced by Nottz

When you look up the definition of "salvation" and listen to this song, you may think that Busta is talking about something totally different. Without analyzing it too much, I'll just say that the song itself is good and if you enjoy it for what it is, it's decent.
*3 out of 5*


5. "Tear Da Roof Off"
Produced by Swizz Beatz

Swizz was one of the hottest producers in hip hop as 98 came to a close, so you know it didn't take long for him and Busta to link up for the first time. This was a banger at the time and it still is today. I also liked how every other line in both verses is emphasized to maximum effect, which is something Busta did exceptionally well.
*4 out of 5*



6. "Against All Odds"
Busta, Baby Sham, Rampage, Rah Digga, Spliff Star and Lord Have Mercy as the Flipmode Squad
Produced by Jamal

Yes, Jamal from the previous two albums came through with a very good beat here. Even though the song itself is good, compared to classics like "We Could Take It Outside" and "Flipmode Iz Da Squad" (the latter from Rampage's debut, "Scout's Honor: By Way Of Blood"), this one falls a little short and it almost sounds like something that was cut from the Flipmode Squad album, "The Imperial", which also came out in 98 and of course was revisited on the blog.
*3.5 out of 5*


7. "Just Give It To Me Raw"
Produced by Swizz Beatz

Lyrically this was dope, as Busta makes every bar rhyme towards the end. I mean, that's not a hard thing to do to be sure, especially when it's done creatively and effectively. Some may also say that in addition to this beat being one of Swizz's signature sounds, even at this point, some, if not all, of his beats were starting to sound the same (nevertheless it was decent, nothing more).
*3 out of 5*


8. "Do It To Death"
Produced by Rockwilder

Make the moves? Check. Keep it live? Check. Stack the paper and put it away safe? Check. Straight buckwild with the hands? Check. Yes, all of this is part of the hook, lol, but this apply titled song comes with a low key, party sound yet still pretty tight as Busta works things nicely over the Rockwilder production.
*4 out of 5*


9. "Keepin' It Tight"
Produced by Rashad Smith, Co-Produced by Armando Colon

Busta's creative rhyming is at the forefront (again), especially during the first verse (check out how every bar ends with the "o" sound). More good stuff here, keepin it tight indeed.
*4 out of 5*



10. "Gimme Some More"
Produced by DJ Scratch



Going back to my friend Shaun for a bit, we first seen this video together (which was dope) at his crib and man, did we go crazy? You know it! Over an equally dope DJ Scratch production, Busta's flow is so creatively marvelous, linked up PERFECTLY well with the beat (then again, he did say on "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" that he'll "hit his people off wit the flow that be marvelous"), and the breath control displayed throughout is pretty top notch. Hands down, the best song on this album.
*5 out of 5*



11. "Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin' Rowdy Wit Us"
Featuring Mystikal
Produced by Darrell Delite Allamby and Kenny (Kenny Flav) Dickerson

Interesting facts here. Busta and Mystikal dropped albums on the same day (12/15/98 and in Mystikal's case, "Ghetto Fabulous", his 2nd on No Limit Records) and both respective albums featured collaborations with both men. The following is the song from the "Ghetto Fabulous" album:



Now, as far as this "Wildin" song goes, it's more hype than the song above, which sees Busta and Mystikal (they had very good chemistry with each other), with MORE supreme breath control on display, essentially rip this beat to shreds. I remember the question at the time was who had the better verse and honestly I'll have to give the nod to Busta on this one, but Mystikal came off too. Highly dope song.
*5 out of 5*



12. "Party Is Goin' On Over Here"
Produced by DJ Scratch

I've always like this song, a lot. It's a clear definition of a song that could cold rock a party and songs like this were becoming a trademark, of sorts, for Busta. He pulled them off so well.
*5 out of 5*



13. "Do The Bus A Bus"
Produced by DJ Scratch

I don't think Busta meant this dance, if you will, to ever take off, but as a one time thing, it was very good, another good fit for the dancefloor. There also was a later remix to this, which will be posted below.
*4 out of 5*

Original

Remix


14. "Take It Off"
Produced by Hassan Big Haas The Fantom

Songs tailor made for the dancefloor continue with this one, nothing more or less, albeit another decent song.
*3 out of 5*


15. "What's It Gonna Be"
Featuring Janet Jackson
Produced by Darrell Delite Allamby



Brief, funny story. I can't recall which awards show it was in 1999, but Busta and Janet won an award for this song and when they both came onstage, they embraced for obvious reasons (more in a bit on this song's success). My aunt Denise swore up and down that there was something more to that hug, lol, and all I could do was laugh at her at the time. Continuing on, as a song, I think it's good, especially for the ladies, but that's about it (I was never that crazy about it). Overall it was very successful, check this out:

*Peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100
*#1 on both Hot R&B /Hip Hop Singles & Tracks and Hot Rap Tracks charts, respectively
*#5 on the Rhythmic Top 40 (as well as top 40 in most countries outside the U.S.)
*800,000 units sold to date, Certified Gold
*at a whopping $2 million, it was one of the most expensive videos ever made

*3 out of 5*



16. "Hot Shit Makin' Ya Bounce"
Produced by Deric Angellettie and Nasheim Myrick

A relatively decent song, nothing more. It comes off as filler more than anything else at this point in the album.
*3 out of 5*


17. "What The Fuck You Want!!"
Produced by Diamond D

Amazingly, this was the first time Busta and Diamond D had worked together. Very good song with a futuristic type sound, production wise.
*4 out of 5*


18. "This Means War!!"
Featuring Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath
Produced by Busta

The merging of Hip Hop and Rock, something that hadn't been done in quite some time at this point, is on full display here and it's certainly not out of place. Not only does Busta (and Ozzy) make it work, but this will not be the last time Busta comes with a Hip Hop/Rock track (wait till we get the "Anarchy" album, which is next).
*4 out of 5*


19. "Outro- The Burial Song"
Produced by DJ Scratch
Backed by a dramatic DJ Scratch production, Busta gives a spoken word outro to close the album, to bring in 1999 and prepare us for the eventual arrival of the year 2000.



While not on the level of "The Coming" and "When Disaster Strikes" before it, this was another very good and successful album from Busta. He brought the elements moreso from the WDS album to ELE than anything else and for the most part it worked. Speaking of things working and being a success, this was evident with album number three. In addition to the "What's It Gonna Be" single, it became Certified Platinum in the early part of 1999 (1 million copies sold to date) and three nominations at the 42nd Grammy Awards: Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group ("What's It Gonna Be") and Best Rap Solo Performance ("Gimme Some More"). As we head into album number four, "Anarchy", Busta was definitely on a successful roll with no signs of stopping.


1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)
2. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
3. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)





Release date: June 20, 2000
 


1. "Intro: The Current State Of Anarchy"
Busta,  surprisingly (or not depending on your view), decided to take 1999 off (in terms of releasing a solo album) and return with a vengeance in the year 2000, also his last album on Elektra Records before moving to J Records. This intro brings us "up to date" as to where we were in the world at the time, having "survived" and making it to the new millennium, in dramatic (and again somewhat over the top) fashion.


2. "Salute Da Gods!!"
Produced by DJ Scratch

"All praise due, we comin through real hard/Niggas raisin they right hand, salutin da God"


Busta felt SO good during this one, having made it to the year 2000, lol. This opener reminded me a bit of "Everybody Rise" from the previous album. It's not as dope as that song, but still good. I also liked Busta's take on The Stylistics' "Betcha By Golly Wow".
*3 out of 5*


3. "Enjoy Da Ride"
Produced by Jay Dee

This was a good song to enjoy, pun intended, even though I could've done without Busta changing his voice a bit during the two verses.
*3 out of 5*


4. "We Put It Down For Y'all"
Produced by Swizz/Swizz Beatz, Part II

Lyrically this is not bad at all, but it's the beat that brings it down slightly. Speaking of which, after making a name for himself since mid-late 98, Swizz was already turning heads off due to most of his beats beginning to sound the same and not updating his sound. He would make some changes moving forward, but man there was a point when the demand for Swizz was decreasing by the day.
*3 out of 5* 


5. "Bladow!!"
Produced by Scott Storch

Well, another decent song to be sure, nothing more and nothing we haven't heard before from Busta. 
*3 out of 5*


6. "Street Shit"
Produced by Just Blaze

I'll say this, whoever mastered this album seemingly wasted no time in getting from one song to the next that's for sure, making it fast paced but not for the reasons you may think. Lyrically Busta is not saying anything new here, but he reps over this Just Blaze production, also being one of the first to do so after the ROC.
*3.5 out of 5*


7. "Live It Up"
Produced by Jay Dee

Aside from Busta's ridiculous opening line of "watch a nigga tongue kiss the track like it was fried chicken" (um, what Busta, lol), this was the album's first truly dope song and it does make you wanna bounce throughout (and live it up of course).
*4 out of 5*


8. "Fire"
Produced by Busta

This is what I would call "vintage Busta" right here, coming with amped up lyrics, more futuristic type production and a creative video to match. I can't recall if this (or another song that will be talked about) was the album's first single or not, but it didn't make as much noise as some of his previous classics.
*4 out of 5*




9. "All Night"
Produced by Swizz/Swizz Beatz, Part II
 
You couldn't mistake this beat for anyone but Swizz, lol. Well it's definitely better than song 4 all around, but again, nothing we haven't heard before I'm afraid.
*3.5 out of 5*


10. "Show Me What You Got"
Produced by Jay Dee

Jay Dee's beat sounded like something Organized Konfusion would've rocked over, circa 94 or 96. That's not to say that Busta didn't flow over it properly. He did, creating a relatively decent song.
*3.5 out of 5*


11. "Get Out!!"
Produced by Nottz

Either this or the aforementioned "Fire" was the album's first single. This also was during a time when there were quite a few "kid friendly" hooks, for the lack of a better term (in this case, courtesy of The Richard Wolfe Children's Chorus' "The Ugly Duckling"). I get what Busta was going for, but looking back, this didn't work, which is why it made less noise than "Fire" did, plus Busta seemed a bit uninspired throughout.
*2 out of 5*


12. "The Heist"
Featuring Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Roc Marciano
Produced by Large Professor

Now this is what I'm talking about right here, no doubt! Flipmode and Wu-Tang are on a mission to "execute the world's greatest diamond heist" with grand plans in the end. Let's see: a dope Large Pro production, an inspired Busta (possibly moreson on this song than any others on this album), then newcomer Roc Marciano, Ghostface fresh off of the release of his classic "Supreme Clientele" and a seemingly rejuvenated Rae, this was a winner all around.
*5 out of 5*



13. "A Trip Out Of Town"
Produced by Nottz

For a long time I wanted to think that this was a continuation of the previous song, but after this revisit, that's not the case. Busta's storytelling skills, which are pretty underrated if you ask me, are on display here and without giving away too much, I'll just say that the "story" is easy to follow with a conclusion that'll either make you shake your head and laugh or shake your head with a facepalm, lol.
*4.5 out of 5*



14. "How Much We Grew"
Produced by DJ Shok

Busta was trying to get deep on this one. It's a good song, but conceptually, if you will, this was all over the place when it should've been more straight forward.
*3 out of 5*


15. "Here We Go Again"
Busta, Rampage, Roc Marciano, Spliff Star, Baby Sham and Rah Digga as the "new" Flipmode Squad
Produced by Just Blaze

The notable things about this song:


1) Lord Have Mercy was missing, having left the crew this same year.
2) This beat would be an example of the "Just Blaze sound" that would become so familiar over the next year or so.
3) "We Could Take It Outside" remains the best Flipmode collabo on a Busta solo, but this may be challenged on the next album.
4) Busta mentions towards the end that the next Flipmode Squad project, "The Rulership Album", would drop on Labor Day 2000, but it never saw the light and I honestly don't know if that album is sitting in a vault somewhere, 15 years after this album's release, or if they never made any tracks for it. Also, the way he cuts this off at the end would suggest he couldn't wait to be done with the session for some reason.

*3 out of 5*


16. "We Comin' Through"
Produced by DJ Scratch

Scratch coming with a Swizz-esque sounding beat and Busta coming with more of the same leads to a "2.5 out of 5" rating for this. Let's move on.

17. "C'mon All My Niggaz, C'mon All My Bitches"
Produced by DJ Scratch

Pretty good right here. The same way Busta's flow matches the beat is the same thing that made "Gimme Some More" a classic.
*4 out of 5*


18. "Make Noise"
Featuring Lenny Kravitz
Produced by Rockwilder

Busta merges Hip-Hop and Rock once again to some tight results, complete with Lenny Kravitz on the guitar, who did a great job. I may be overrating this one, but I (still) like it that much.
*5 out of 5*



19. "Ready For War"
Featuring M.O.P.
Produced by Busta

This isn't another "Ante Up" remix to be sure, but hot damn if the aggressive style of M.O.P. didn't rub off on a Busta in a major way. Dope stuff here. (Towards the end, apparently the song began to fade out earlier than planned, and when the engineer realized it, by then it was too late, heading RIGHT into the next song.)
*4.5 out of 5*



20. "Why We Die"
Featuring Jay-Z and DMX
Produced by P. Killer 

There was a time when I thought this song was dope as hell considering the lineup, but 15 years later, surprisingly this one hasn't aged too well. I understand the theme, but something was missing and I can't quite put my finger on it.
*3.5 out of 5*


21. "Anarchy"
Produced by Nottz

With or without the "outro", this title track was a damn good way to close this album. The hook itself would suggest a prediction of where the world was heading, and considering how things are in the world today, Busta may have been on to something here.
*4 out of 5*


22. "Outro"




Well, it's clear that "Anarchy" was a step down from Busta's first three albums. Even though it would hit the Certified Platinum mark, it received less hype and attention than the first three albums combined, plus the singles, "Fire" and "Get Out!!", made little to no noise on the radio and TV end, which was an unheard thing as far as Busta goes. This album is up and down throughout (very good in spots, filler elsewhere), and even with a couple of high ratings, dope guest appearances and a respectable list of top notch producers, I can't in all fairness go higher than a 3.5 for this one.



1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)
2. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
3. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)
 4. ANARCHY (3.5 STARS)






Release date: November 13, 2001



1. "Intro"
Produced by Nottz
The standard intro, including some "new" words from Dolemite (again), takes us into.....


2. "Everybody Rise Again"
Produced by Just Blaze

As a reprise of the original "Everybody Rise" from the "ELE" album, this was very good although it (clearly) holds no candle to its predecessor.
*4 out of 5*


3. "As I Come Back"
Produced by The Neptunes

This would mark the first collaboration between Busta and the Neptunes, who were continuing a hot streak at this point. The beat bangs and Busta rips it as only he can, but 0.5 points are deducted for the way Busta decided to end each of the lines in the verses. This may have worked in 2001, but with hindsight being 20/20, it's a distraction in an otherwise good song.
*3.5 out of 5*


4. "Shut 'Em Down 2002"
Produced by Pete Rock

Then and now, I appreciated what Busta was going for here, remaking Public Enemy's classic "Shut Em Down" as a tribute (after all, it was Chuck D who gave Busta his name), however, Busta tried a little too hard with the aggressiveness here and it affected the song as a result. Not too many artists can remake a PE song and succeed.
*3 out of 5*


5. "Genesis"
Additional Vocals by Tracy Leila
Produced by Dilla

Lol, I'm not sure why, but I used to play this a lot back in the day. It's a good song, nothing more, which sees Busta still continuing to look and move forward.
*3 out of 5*


6. "Betta Stay Up In Your House"
Featuring Rah Digga
Produced by Yogi

Finally, 6 tracks in and we get the album's first truly dope song. Busta and Rah always had great chemistry together when it was just them two rocking the mic, especially when they were going back and forth. Yogi also works Curtis Mayfield's classic "Eddie You Should Know Better" in a true Flipmode Squad fashion.
*4 out of 5*




7. "We Got What You Want"
Additional Vocals by Tracy Leila
Produced by Just Blaze

A decent song to be sure, but I REALLY could've done without the squeaking sounds that accompanies Just Blaze's beat.
*2.5 out of 5*


8. "Truck Volume"
Produced by Dr. Dre

Before we get to song 10, this would mark the first time Busta collaborated with Dre on a track. This one is good, definitely one to bump in any truck with its futuristic sound and a "video game" twist.
*3.5 out of 5*


9. "Pass The Courvoisier"
Featuring P. Diddy
Produced by Nottz

Ok, I have a real bone to pick with the inclusion of this song, lol. First off, while this version of the song was ok (nothing more), to this day I would like to know whose decision it was to include this as opposed to the much better, Neptunes produced version. Take a listen to both and you be the judge.
*2 out of 5*


Part I

 Part II


10. "Break Ya Neck"
Produced by Dr. Dre



This right here is the first officially recognized collabo between Busta and Dre. It was dope back in 2001 and it holds up well today. Not only does Busta do an impressive job keeping up with the beat, but you can also hear as Dre begins to go in a different direction with his sound.
*4 out of 5*



11. "Bounce (Let Me See Ya Throw It)"
Produced by Melman

This Melman production sounds more like a Dre beat than "Break Ya Neck" does, oddly enough. Either way, just look at the song title itself, definitely nothing we haven't heard before (and done better) by Busta.
*3 out of 5*


12. "Holla"
Background Vocals by Truth Hurts
Produced by Dr. Dre

Again, a good song to be sure, but this is nothing we haven't heard before, from Busta or otherwise, even down to the song title.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Wife In Law"
Featuring Jaheim
Produced by Diamond D

Very interesting song and I can't recall Busta being this raunchy previously. My personal feelings aside, the song is about what you would expect: Busta talking about all of his adventures and related things with his "wife in law" (aka "the chick on the side"), then coming to the realization at the end that his wife had a husband in law. Like I said, interesting.
*2 out of 5*


14. "Ass On Your Shoulders"
Featuring Kokane
Produced by Battlecat  

This was more or less a continuation of the previous song, plus it sounds like something you would hear on a Snoop Dogg album, complete with the West Coast vibe from the beat to the hook.
*2.5 out of 5*


15. "Make It Hurt"
Produced by Dilla

Another song with a futuristic type sound and it's pretty good all around, certainly wouldn't be out of place at a party either. It goes without saying at this point in the project that Busta knows how to work a beat when he speeds up his flow.
*4 out of 5*


16. "What It Is"
Featuring Kelis
Produced by The Neptunes

I remember this video being a "world premiere" on BET's "106 & Park" prior to the album's release. I've always liked this one a lot and it's a little better than "As I Come Back". Kelis was good on the hook and Busta did one of the things he did best: make a song that could rock a party and grace radio & TV. (There was also a remix to this as with the Flipmode Squad.)
*4 out of 5*

Original

Remix
 

17. "There's Only One"
Featuring Mary J. Blige
Produced by Michaelangelo

Another one for the ladies and the dancefloor, nothing more to be said, respectively.
*3 out of 5*


18. "You Ain't Fuckin' Wit Me"
Produced by Michaelangelo

I liked the West Coast vibe on this one. It's very good, but part of me still felt like something was missing.
*3.5 out of 5*


19. "Match The Name With The Voice"
Busta, Baby Sham, Rah Digga, Rampage and Spliff Star as the Flipmode Squad
Produced by Just Blaze

Flipmode Squad at its best right here, the best posse cut to hit a Busta solo album since "We Could Take It Outside" from the "When Disaster Strikes" album. Even Busta sounded more inspired here than most of the songs on this album.
*4 out of 5*




20. "Bad Dreams"
Produced by Nottz 

I'm not sure whether to say that this was an anti-climatic or strange way to close the album. A song like this, in which the artist in question is going back and forth with "the devil", can be good if done right, however, Busta's version misses the mark quite a bit, even with the backing of a dope Nottz beat.
*2.5 out of 5*



 Well, another album in the books here, a Certified Platinum one too. Overall it's a decent album, but it's more of the same from Busta, a slight step down from even the "Anarchy" album. Going forward, I don't see myself revisiting this one too often (even with my upcoming rating). The only song from this period that'll receive play from me is "Pass The Courvoisier Part II". And speaking of this song, would you believe that in later pressings of "Genesis", they would include it but remove "Ass On Your Shoulders", smh? Why not do this at first instead of waiting for the single to become big like it did? Either way, I don't have much more to say about "Genesis" as we head to 2002 and Busta's 5th album, "It Ain't Safe No More".



1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)
2. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
3. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)
 4. ANARCHY (3.5 STARS)
5. GENESIS (a very generous 3.5 STARS)





Release date: November 26, 2002


Before I begin to talk about this album, I want to mention a few things briefly. Although "Make It Clap" had hit the radio shortly before the album's release, I honestly cannot recall any hype and/or promotion leading up to it, and when I did buy it in December 2002 (during a Manhattan, NY shopping trip and PLEASE don't ask me the second CD I bought along with it, smh+facepalm+lol), I had this indifferent vibe at the time. I'm not sure why and it's a vibe I haven't had since when buying an album (and why I haven't played this album a lot over the years). Maybe this portion of the review will shed some proverbial light on that, lol. 


1. "Intro"
Smh+lol, the less about this intro the better. Let's get into the album shall we.


2. "It Ain't Safe No More"
Featuring Mekal
Produced by Dilla

On one hand I get what Busta was going for, on the other hand I don't/didn't, making this opener an "all over the place" one if you ask me. The first verse he was seemingly going in, then the second verse came off somewhat uninspired.
*3 out of 5*
 

3. "What Do You Do When You're Branded"
Produced by DJ Scratch

As opposed to the previous song, Busta was feeling it lyrically here, but man oh man what the hell was up with that hook, lol? The hook alone takes points away from an otherwise good song.
*3.5 out of 5*


4. "Call The Ambulance"
Featuring Rampage
Produced by The Neptunes

This, loyal reader, is my favorite song on the album.

1) I always liked the beat and I recall having this on repeat a few times when I first bumped it. 2) Rampage's line "I'm cream cheese wit the English muffin" still cracks me up, lol. 3) Speaking of cracking me up, Busta does that often during this song, especially with the sounds/noises he makes in the background when Rampage raps, lol. Comedy aside, this is one of the more hype songs on the album.
*4 out of 5*


 
5. "We Goin' To Do It To Ya"
Produced by Megahertz

This will not be the first time Busta gets a little lazy with the song titles here, and while this song covers familiar territory, it's still pretty dope (a sleeper hit).
*4 out of 5*




6. "What Up"
Produced by Dilla

The beat here was a little too futuristic, even if said beat came from the late Dilla. Ok, nothing more.
*2.5 out of 5*


7. "Turn Me Up Some"
Produced by Dilla

Speaking of Dilla productions, this one was a bit better than "What Up". It sounded like the verbal samples during the hook came from Redman (he certainly wouldn't have been out of place being a guest on this one).
*3 out of 5*


8. "Make It Clap"
Featuring Spliff Star
Produced by Rick Rock





As mentioned, this one hit the radio not too long before the album hit the shelves. Good song, about what you would expect from Busta when it's party time. In that sense it delivered, but it lacked the staying power of prior songs following the same style (plus Spliff's verses were uninspired and didn't anything to help this song).
*4 out of 5*



9. "Take It Off Part 2"
Featuring Meka
Produced by Mario "Yellow Man" Winans

Well, compared to the first one from the "ELE" album, this was not better than or close to its predecessor. Plus this is something that has been done before.
*2.5 out of 5*


10. "Taste It"
Produced by Tetamus

Another one for the dancefloor, specifically for the ladies too. I never cared for this song too much, neither did I care for them using lines from Ol' Dirty Bastard's "The Stomp", a MUCH better song, for the hook. Let's move on.
*2 out of 5*


11. "Hey Ladies"
Produced by Wildstyle

Look at the title and tell me you don't know what this song is about and who it's catering too, lol. I mean, it's more of the same here, nothing less.
*2.5 out of 5*


12. "I Know What You Want"
Featuring Mariah Carey and the Flipmode Squad
Produced by Rick Rock




This is going back to lazy song titles right here. I also remember this one gracing the radio for a bit, then leaving not too long after the fact. Again, this is ANOTHER song catering to the ladies. As I've said before, there's nothing wrong with that, but if done too much (and not good at the same time), it becomes tiring after a while, and that's what happens here. In addition, it seemed like everyone involved was trying a little too hard at being sensual and seductive.
*2 out of 5*


13. "Riot"
Produced by Deanun 

This was not apply titled that's for sure, more like a "controlled riot" than anything else.
*2.5 out of 5*


14. "Hop"
Produced by Mr. Fingaz

Busta flows well over the beat provided by Mr. Fingaz, however, I can't help but feel that this is nothing we haven't heard before. It's not wack or anything, just nothing special.
*3 out of 5*


15. "Together"
Featuring Rah Digga
Produced by Swizz Beatz

Now this is more like it, a VERY good song. This is not the standard song for the ladies, it's about "crew love" more than anything else. It's different from previous Busta/Digga collabos, but it works here.
*4 out of 5*




16. "Struttin' Like A G.O.D."
Produced by Rick St. Hilaire and Kent Huffnagle

This was more about Busta professing his superiority, in a sense, as opposed to anything biblical (respectively). Decent.
*3 out of 5*


17. "The Struggle Will Be Lost"
Featuring Carl Thomas
Produced by Rick Rock

Man, another song that's all over the place and hell if I know what "struggle" Busta and Carl were referring to (lol). The abrupt ending of the song doesn't help its cause either.
*2 out of 5*


18. "Till It's Gone"
Produced by Tru Master

Known mostly for his production work with the Wu, Tru Master came through with a pretty good beat for Busta. This song finds him talking about a familiar topic: not knowing what you got until its gone. This would've been a GOOD way to close this album, but instead we get.....
*4 out of 5*


19. "Make It Clap (Remix)"
Featuring Sean Paul and Spliff Star
Produced by Rick Rock

The remix was good, nothing more (and if you thought Spliff's verse on the original was uninspired enough, his verse on this one was even worse). Sean Paul, who was on quite the roll at this point, brings his dancehall/reggae style to this one. And if you listen to this one closely, it's somewhat reminiscent to Jay-Z's "What They Gonna Do" from his "Blueprint 2" album (released the month prior), which also featured Sean Paul.
*3 out of 5*




Oh man, honestly, aside from the three highlights ("Call The Ambulance", "Together" and "Till It's Gone"), this album was a slight chore to sit through, even after all these years, and I can see why I never really reached for it after playing it when I first bought it. Giving credit where it's due, Busta did his best here, but at this point, he was creatively spent (not bankrupt) and it showed in spades on this album. It was clear that a hiatus or something was needed, and not only would he step away from the solo album tip for a bit after this, but he would rebound in a TIGHT way with "The Big Bang" and I can't wait to cover that one. Overall, "It Ain't Safe No More", which went Gold, is nothing special and has not aged well at all.


 
1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)
2. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
3. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)
 4. ANARCHY (3.5 STARS)
5. GENESIS (a very generous 3.5 STARS)
6. IT AIN'T SAFE NO MORE (2.5 STARS)





Release date: June 13, 2006



1. "Get You Some"
Featuring Q-Tip and Marsha from Floetry
Produced by Dr. Dre and Mark Batson

THANKFULLY, this album didn't begin with an "intro", but instead we get this Dre & Batson produced banger and it's quite the dope opener. Right off the bat, we're introduced to the all so familiar claps and sick keyboards complete with a thumbing beat, and Busta sounds SO energized over it (he also addresses, albeit briefly, his departure from J Records in the second verse). Great way to start this album.
*4 out of 5*



2. "Touch It"
Produced by Swizz Beatz



This joint right here blazed radio (and TV) in 2006 and it was one of the hit songs that year. This is Busta in all of his hype glory, truly something custom made for the dancefloor, no question. It was so dope and successful that it spawned a remix that featured a GANG of artists, lol. A classic if you ask me and basically the last time Busta's presence graced the radio and TV like he did in years past. 
*5 out of 5*

Original

Remix


3. "How We Do It Over Here"
Featuring Missy Elliott
Produced by Dr. Dre

Whether this joint was trying to cater to the ladies and/or provide something for the dancefloor, it tried a little too hard in execution, plus Dre's beat was a little too furturistic, even in 2006. Nothing more to say about this.
*2.5 out of 5*


4. "New York Shit"
Featuring Swizz Beatz
Produced by DJ Scratch

You know, almost 10 years since this album's release, I guarantee you most people probably appreciate "NY hip hop anthems" moreso than they did previously, because we certainly don't get them now and honestly, the last time, before this Busta joint, we got an anthem for the Big Apple was Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State Of Mind". In this case, Busta gives mad props to his city in such a dope way that you really tend to ask yourself, "how come NY artists don't make these anthems for their city anymore?", and I can't forget about the ill sample of Douglas Lucas and Francois Weyer's "Faded Lady". Furthermore, Swizz was not out of place and as long as he was ONLY on the hook (with a few shoutouts) and didn't provide a forgettable verse, that was all the more good. I may be overrating it, but I'm going with the full monty on this one.
*5 out of 5*



5. "Been Through The Storm"
Featuring Stevie Wonder
Produced by Sha Money XL

Oh man, this is the most introspective song Busta had done in quite some time at this point. He talks about his parents moving to the U.S. as Jamaicans as well as his own upbringing (in Flatbush, Brooklyn). Must be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*

  

6. "In The Ghetto"
Featuring Rick James
Produced by DJ Green Lantern



Pretty good song right here. Again, Busta is covering a familiar topic, talking about what goes on in the ghetto, and while that can be tiresome at times, if it's done right, the results can be positive and that's what we get here. The Rick James led hook had to have been done prior to his untimely passing in 2004, likely marking one of his last appearances on record.
*4 out of 5*


7. "Cocaina"
Featuring Marsha from Floetry
Produced by Dr. Dre and Mark Batson

Don't let the title of this song fool you. It's not another one about "cocaine", however, as you listen to it, Busta is essentially saying he's "dope" (get the reference there).
*4 out of 5*


8. "You Can't Hold The Torch"
Featuring Q-Tip and Chauncey Black
Produced by J Dilla

Over a nice J Dilla production, Busta and Q-Tip all but talk about the decline in quality relating to hip hop and the things to make the genre better, circa 2006. Now, remembering that year oh so well, I'd say that period was a "golden era" compared to today's hip hop scene, making it all the more relevant right now.
*4 out of 5*


9. "Goldmine"
Featuring Raekwon
Produced by Erick Sermon

Check that line up right there. We have Flipmode, Wu-Tang and the Def Squad represented NICELY on this banger. A "goldmine" indeed.
*5 out of 5*



10. "I Love My Bitch"
Featuring Kelis and will.i.am
Produced by will.i.am

 
"I love my girl cause she know she the shit"


The line above accurately defines this one, which finds Busta showing all the love in the world to his chick, in true Busta fashion, complete with Kelis and will.i.am on the hook. 
*4 out of 5*


11. "Don't Get Carried Away"
Featuring Nas
Produced by Dr. Dre



"I'm the enigma, there is none harder, smarter/Martyr, godfather, my entrance, your departure/Pardon Dre, this beat is a monster, catchy/Like sleepin under open windows that's drafty/Then wakin up my throat scratchy, that's how I spit it nasty/They short, a few inches North of a dwarf" -Nas

"I love to fold up a knot, love totin the Glock/Helps me feel safer when niggas try to scheme on my plot" -Busta


Hot damn, what an apply titled, Dre produced banger this is, first time ever collabo between Busta and Nas. Don't get me wrong, with the first and closing verse, Busta did his thing to the fullest, but man Nas simply bodied this track, which was his first time on a Dre track since 1997. Awesome stuff here.
*5 out of 5*



12. "They're Out To Get Me"
Featuring and produced by Mr. Porter

"I seen it one too many times, they disbelieved and they speechless/Sometimes having certain friends can end up being a weakness/See now my dogs turn to wolves and try to front me and surround me/Come up out they sheepskin and act all different around me"   

"As I get more money, days get colder/I learned to realize that power only lies in the hands of the beholder/So then I start the heart-on-my-heart as I walk like a soldier/Moving so militant, you think I had a chip on my shoulder"


I could say that the bars above define this song in a nutshell. While that is true, respectively that's not doing it justice all the way. Now, the title would suggest (rightly) that it's something we heard before, but Busta's take on "keeping your friends close and your enemies closer" and all things related is pretty great. Instead of going the cliched route, Busta provides an interesting take from his perspective on this very subject and it amounts to a great song.
*5 out of 5*



13. "Get Down"
Produced by Timbaland

Timbaland was SICK with the drums and the jungle sounds in the background, incorporating bird and monkeys sounds, just to name a few, quite brilliant production, complete with Busta being on top of this beat and not missing one step (would not be out of place in an attempt to get you on the dancefloor either).
*4 out of 5*


14. "I'll Do It All"
Featuring LaToiya Williams
Produced by Jellyroll

Apparently song 10 wasn't enough for the ladies, lol, because towards the end of the album we get this one. Granted, this was quite different from "I Love My Bitch", however, it makes its points, truly for the ladies as mentioned.
*3 out of 5*


15. "Legend Of The Fall Offs"
Produced by Dr. Dre

As quoted by genius. com, "Busta Rhymes takes the form a metaphorical Grim Reaper, talking about a rapper who has fallen off and refused to accept that his fame has run out"


Not only is this possibly the best closer ever on a Busta Rhymes album, but the song itself is both dramatic and creepy at the same time. In addition, Dre's production really brings out the true audio dynamics here, utilizing the form of a heartbeat, accompanying piano ticks, shoveling sounds in place of the "claps" (pretty brilliant right there) as well as cricket sounds to signify the "burial" being done at night. In a word, wow. Loyal reader, I won't give any more details, but trust me when I say this MUST be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*





Well, the hiatus between solo albums (2002 - 2006), working with Dre (who also mixed & mastered this album) and other respected producers such as Erick Sermon, J Dilla, Timbaland, DJ Scratch, Swizz Beatz, just to name a few, more inspiration, etc, all made this Busta's BEST effort since 97's "When Disaster Strikes", and I'll be coming back to that album too. Even if Busta seemingly linked up with Aftermath Entertainment solely for this album, it's a fine look at what Busta was capable of when motivated and it's about as close to a 5 star album that we're ever going to get from him, even considering his first two albums, which is remarkable. You'll also notice that going into this album, he cut his trademark braids for a more traditional style, which seemed to mark a period of artistic transition (Ludacris would do the same thing going into his "Release Therapy" album, also released in '06, three months after "The Big Bang"). Overall, this Certified Gold album (moving a solid 823,000 units as of November 22, 2011), is essentially the peak of Busta Rhymes moving forward, in more ways than one, and with that said, if there's an album in his discography that worthy of a revisit (especially if you haven't bumped it in a long time), it's this one.




1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)

Oh man, I gotta stop right here for a moment. Previously, "When Disaster Strikes" was in the #2 spot, however, after revisiting "The Big Bang", that #2 spot has become up for grabs. Now, WDS is still a dope album and it's up there for me with "The Coming" in terms of nostalgia. Without trying to do too many comparisons because they are two different albums, when it comes to the quality, lyrics, production, guest appearances, consistency, and the overall package, that leads me to.....
 
2. THE BIG BANG  (4.5 STARS)
3. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
4. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)
 5. ANARCHY (3.5 STARS)
6. GENESIS (a very generous 3.5 STARS)
7. IT AIN'T SAFE NO MORE (2.5 STARS)





Allow me to talk about this album for a bit before I proceeded with the review. With this being Busta's 8th solo album, it was without a doubt the least anticipated one in his discography, even moreso than "It Ain't Safe No More". Between the release of "The Big Bang" and "Back On My BS" (the latter dropped on May 19, 2009), hip hop was STILL changing all the time, plus with Busta departing from Aftermath (and Interscope Records) and the delays, to say that this album wasn't on anyone's radar (including mine) would be an understatement. I only listened to it once a few years back and was simply not impressed, plus I've read and heard feedback ranging from "decidedly mixed" to "downright negative" across the board. So the next question is: has time in some way been kind to this album???? We shall find out now as we proceed to close this project.


[Oh, and a note to aspiring artists: although I'm sure Busta didn't intentionally set out to do this, be careful in naming your album and having the initials turn out to be something that signals failure, and in the case of Busta's album, "Back On My BS" was nicknamed "BOMB". If you drop an album in this fashion and it doesn't sell well, it'll be haunted by the titling of it for the remainder of its existence.]



1. "Back On My BS Intro"
Smh, if this, uh, intro, which consists of over the top, opera like singing and the constant repeating of "back on my bullshit", was designed to make you laugh, get you hyped for the album, or both, it failed in that regard.


2. "Wheel Of Fortune"
Produced by DJ Scratch

Two good things i can say about this song is that it's fast paced and it wasn't too bad of a song. Busta could certainly do much better though.
*3 out of 5*


3. "Give Em What They Askin For"
Produced by Ron Browz

Alright now, this is what I'm talking about! With a thumping beat mixed with an all too cool throwback vibe, this one works and Busta was feeling it here.
*4 out of 5*



4. "Respect My Conglomerate"
Featuring Jadakiss and Lil Wayne
Produced by Focus...

Well, an album at this point in 2009 wouldn't be complete without a Lil Wayne feature right? I mean, looking back, coming off the overrated "Carter III" album, Wayne was one of the hottest artists in hip hop (right or wrong) so you'd find him making a good number of guest appearances in 09. Jadakiss released his 3rd album, "The Last Kiss", a month before on April 7th. Needless to say, all three came with a boss mindstate over thumping beat infested with the claps. I do like this one.
*4 out of 5*



5. "Shoot For The Moon"
Produced by Danja

A fairly ok song, but nothing we haven't heard before (and done better).
*2.5 out of 5*


6. "Hustler's Anthem '09"
Featuring T-Pain
Produced by Ty Fyffe



Much like Lil Wayne earlier, most songs in '09 also had an appearance from T-Pain, "king" of the "autotune" and I'll have a bit more to say about that "style/trend" in an upcoming song. As another anthem dedicated to staying on the grind/getting your hustle on, this was very good.
*4 out of 5*



7. "Kill Dem"
Featuring and produced by Pharrell Williams (Tosh also featured)

You know, at one point Busta could effectively pull off a reggae inspired flow..... this was not one of those times. Adding in that this was one of the worst Pharrell produced beats I've ever heard, which is disappointing from someone who is usually more hit than miss. Didn't care for this one at all.
*1.5 out of 5*


8. "Arab Money"
Featuring and produced by Ron Browz



Funny story before I get into this song. My lady and I attended a small party, I want to say in mid 2013. The DJ throw on the original version of this song. My lady made it a point to tell me, lol, that they actually wanted to use a holy prayer of some kind on this song but were denied. Now, that was news to me, especially since my lady, who is not a big hip hop fan like I am, told me. Additional research on my end came about, and what I did find out was that the accompanying remix (you knew there would be one, lol) actually quoted lines from the Quran and the forbidden nature of that, in most Arab countries, sparked some controversy. Nevertheless, as a song, it sounds damn good in the club and it'll make you hit the dancefloor, so in a way it gets the job done, even with the FULL display of the Ron Brown led, autotuned/Arabic style hook.
*3.5 out of 5*

Original

Remix (Part 1)

Remix (Part 2)

9. "Im a Go and Get My..."
Featuring Mike Epps
Produced by DJ Scratch

Man, I couldn't tell you what the point of this song was, so I'll just rate it and move on completely.
*1.5 out of 5*


10. "We Want In"
Featuring Ron Browz, Spliff Star and Show Money
Produced by King Karnov

Once you've heard a song like this, you've heard them all, even down to the song title itself. It's decent, nothing more.
*2.5 out of 5*


11. "We Miss You"
Featuring DeMarco & Jelly Roll
Produced by Needlz

I could only assume that Busta was saying he missed how the streets used to be. I didn't get the sense that he was talking about a specific person (family member or friend). It's driven by a keyboard laden beat, but I feel something was missing that could've made it a much better song.
*2 out of 5*


12. "Sugar"
Featuring and produced by Jelly Roll

And here we have your standard song for the ladies. Well, not only did this album not need one, but the only notable thing about this one is the thumping beat provided by Jelly Roll, everything else (sigh) we have no doubt heard before.
*1.5 out of 5*


13. "Don't Believe Em"
Featuring Akon and T.I.
Produced by Cool & Dre

Again, we have another song that has been done before, however, this one works. In the face of adversity, as in ultimately defying those who say you can't achieve success and do great things, proceed to do your thing and then some. Guest T.I. was very good at songs like this so his verse was a welcomed addition here. Tell em you're number one indeed.
*4 out of 5*


14. "Decision"
Featuring Common, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige and John Legend 
Produced by Mr. Porter

Wow, this is an impressive array of talent on one song and quite frankly, it's the best song on this album. It deals with the trials and tribulations of friendship, coming to the overall conclusion of being there all the way through. I really like this one (played it twice during this review), mad props and respect to all involved here.
*5 out of 5*



15. "World Go Round"
Featuring Estelle
Produced by Jelly Roll

A Busta/Estelle collabo could've been magic in the making, much in the same tone as Busta did with Erykah Badu on "One", but this one tried a little too hard with its obvious attempt at a more mainstream sound, if that makes sense.
*2 out of 5*


*16. "If You Don't Know Now You Know"
Featuring Big Tigger
Produced by Focus...

(This was apparently an iTunes bonus track.) In an odd, yet very good pairing, Big Tigger, formerly of Rap City's The Basement, hooks up with Busta in an "interview setting", which also finds Busta addressing why he cut the dreads a few years previous ("Just for the record the reason a nigga cut off the dreads/I had to shed, tired of carryin weight on my head"). A very good song and as far as I'm concerned, this is the album's real closer.
*4 out of 5*





Wow, I'm surprised at this, but first, let's address the obvious: filler. After listening to this, I believe that most of the mixed to negative feedback this album has received since its release is due to the fact that it's so much filler involved. Songs like "Shoot For The Moon", "Kill Dem", "World Go Round", "I'm a Go and Get My..." and "Sugar" seriously affects things and brings down the (overall) quality as a result. Now, the positives. The Big Tigger assisted closer, "Decision", "Respect My Conglomerate", "Don't Believe Em", "Hustler's Anthem '09" and even "Arab Money" really save this album from a total disaster and in my view, each of those songs are MUCH better than anything on the "It Ain't Safe No More" album. Furthermore, why the following DOPE song was NOT included on this album still boggles my mind:



In the end, time has certainly been kind to the highlights of this album (never mind the accompanying filler tracks), and while "Arab Money", "Hustler's Anthem '09", and "Respect My Conglomerate" made some noise, they didn't sustain any momentum afterwards, leading to this being Busta's least selling album to date unfortunately, with only 59,000 units moved in its first week. I'd say check out the highlights, avoid the filler tracks at all costs.


THE FINAL BUSTA RHYMES ALBUM RANKING AND RATINGS
 1. THE COMING (4.5 STARS)
2. THE BIG BANG  (4.5 STARS)
3. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES (4.5 STARS)
4. EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT (4 STARS)
 5. ANARCHY (3.5 STARS)
6. GENESIS (a very generous 3.5 STARS)
7. BACK ON MY BS (3 STARS)
8.. IT AIN'T SAFE NO MORE (2.5 STARS)




So, after the "Back On My BS" album, not only did Busta continue to remain active in hip hop, he once again found himself without a record label to call home, and in a decision I still question today, he announced he signed with Cash Money Records on November 16, 2011. Why he would ever sign with them of all labels is beyond me, but when he referred to the signing as a "monumental moment in hip hop history", with all due respect I knew it was not going to work out immediately. Since that signing, he dropped the "free album", "Year of the Dragon" on August 21, 2012, and not only did I not check it out or include it as part of this project, but feedback was not positive (or even mixed) in any form. Even with a few name changes, he also announced he was working on the sequel to the "Extinction Level Event" album, which doesn't deserve a sequel in my opinion, but it still hasn't seen the light of day since he mentioned it and word has it we may see it in 2016. We shall see. In the place of any actual studio albums, he put out a few mixtapes, namely "Catastrophic" (with Reek Da Villian and J-Doe under his Conglomerate label), a joint project with Q-Tip, "The Abstract and the Dragon" (man, imagine a joint album with those two back in the 90s), and "Catastrophic 2" (this time with O.T. Genasis and J-Doe). And in news that was not surprising yet expected, much like Mystikal would do (who also signed to Cash Money), Busta announced on July 23, 2014 that he was leaving the label due to "creative differences", which confirmed that the signing did him NO favors.


When you look back on Busta's career dating back to the LONS days, you can certainly say he had something for everyone, became very successful in the process and was truly one multi-talented individual. He could be serious, introspective, humorous, creative, animated, cool, reserved, rowdy, energetic, charismatic and aggressive. He'll always be known for bringing those attributes to hip hop, as well as knowing how to deliver when making guest appearances. Busta, if you're reading this, I really want to say thank you for all of your contributions to hip hop since 1991 and may you have continued success as we approach 2016! Salute!!

No comments:

Post a Comment