Artist: Busta Rhymes
Label: J Records
Rating: 6.5 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
Whether you love him, or you hate him, Busta Bus is definitely one of the most entertaining and well known MC’s in the game today. Ever since his days as a member of LONS, Busta has had star written all over him, with his rapid fire flow, staccato delivery, and unique voice.
So much was expected of him.
In my opinion, he’s never really reached those expectations. Over the course of 4 solo albums, and his Flipmode Squad group effort, there’s been nuggets of goodness. In some cases, huge nuggets, but oftentimes, the act has seemed to grow old.
So what has Busta wrought with his first LP in two years? Well, initial impressions for me shows a more motivated and serious Busta, which is always a good thing. Busta to me, has always been like ODB – good as a crazy character in small doses, but much more palatable when he’s spitting real verbal fire.
After a short intro, with a fairly funny skit featuring label head Clive Davis, things start off with a bang, with ‘Everybody Rise Again’. As the title would suggest, party lyrics, just telling you to get the hell up and dance, and with a beat that’ll make you want to dance, all is good.
The next track, ‘As I Come Back’ features Neptunes production, although it’s a bit different from their usual. Sure, the blips and beeps are there, but the drums are just stanky on this piece, with heavy distortion, and a buzzing chorus portion. An interesting beat, and it fits perfectly with Busta’s flow here, which is basically all about him returning to the rap game.
Things get tasty with the next track, ‘Shut Em Down 2002’, which basically is a follow up to the classic Pete Rock produced Public Enemy track of the same name (minus the 2002 of course). As you’d expect, an old school sounding drum and bassline, and the classic horn loop from the Pete Rock mix. Some awesome stuff here, as Busta tears into those that wish to stand in his path. Just great stuff here, and a perfect example of what I was saying earlier – that Busta sounds better when he’s focused.
Things falter for the first time with the title track, ‘Genesis’, as the track slows things down a bunch. A nice enough vocal sample however, but the beat is just too slow, and I ain’t feeling it. Busta is alright here, but doesn’t shine in any particular facet with his rhyme, and this is just some of the same old same old braggadacio ish, about how Busta came into the rap game.
An old school break opens the next track ‘Betta Stay Up In Your House’, and a rubbery bassline interspersed with a nice electric loop makes up the production on the track. Rah Digga also appears for the first time, and I’m happy because in my opinion she’s the best female MC in the game right now. This track is another call and response type track, and it works beautifully, with an amped Busta and Rah just telling all challengers to stay home. An above average cut.
‘We Got What Ya Want’ is up next, and continues the trend of club ready bangers that Busta has become known for. This is more interesting than the usual club pablum though, with a crazy squeaking noise over the bassline, and a more relaxed Busta spitting over the beat. The lyrics? Just Busta explaining why Flipmode and himself got everything that you want. The chorus is a bit dry, but good enough for commercial radio I suppose.
Another dope beat is up next with ‘Truck Volume’, which uses a sample that sounds jacked from a video game, along the lines of what was done on the “Game Over” compilations. The sample is really dope actually, and takes my mind off of the very average beat riding in the background. Busta is razor sharp here too, with some great sounding lyrics, again in a battle mode. Once again, a subpar chorus however.
Ugh. Dammit. P-Diddy arrives for a guest spot on the next track, ‘Pass The Courvoisier.’ Just pass, says I. The beat is too glittery and repetitive. And P-Dids? Please.
Luckily, the lead single, ‘Break Ya Neck’ is up next to save us all, and it’s vintage Busta. A super hyper amped up Dr Dre beat, featuring sped up drums in portions, and a nice electric piano loop makes up the song, and Busta just basically drops some ill speed verses telling you to nod your head to this. Awesome.
The party vibe is continued, albeit at a slower pace, on the next track, ‘Bounce’, although it isn’t the southern sound that you would expect from the title. Instead, it’s a slower joint, with a nice bassline, and Busta once again doing the braggadacio thing. Nothing too special, and this is the 3rd track with a call and response chorus.
‘Holla’ is up next, and no it ain’t a Ja Rule remake. Instead, we get this incredible electro-flute sample that just weaves in and out of the beat for the duration of the song. It’s really quite nice. Busta switches up the lyrics here a bit, exhibiting a little more of a cryptic style, and it works nicely here. Again though, a booty chorus.
The obvious R&B crossover track is up next, with flavour of the month, Jaheim dropping by for a guest appearance on ‘Wife In Law’. I’m not a fan of tripe like this, so I decline a rating. Actually check that- I’ll rate it as garbage.
It’s gotta be Neptunes production again on ‘A** On Your Shoulders’, which features Kokane. This whole track reeks of bad West Coast music, so I’ll have to give a pass on this. It doesn’t help that I dislike Kokane quite a bit too. Hey, reviewers bias and all right?
Finally we get back on track somewhat with ‘Make It Hurt’, which features some spacy sounds, and a distorted bassline. Things speed up quite a bit on this track, and you gotta hear Busta’s flow on this, as it borders on ridiculous. Just bananas I tells ya. Not necessarily an amped track because of the beat, but amped because of the lyrics.
‘What It Is’ featuring Kelis, and formerly on the Violator 2 complilation is up next, and as it did when it first came out, it still sounds good. A simple bassline with some nice keys, and Busta just doing the bragging thing again. I personally feel Kelis is wasted here with her simple chorus bit, but whatever.
If I was a betting man, I’d say that the next track, ‘There’s Only One’ featuring Mary J. Blige would be the next single on the LP. It’s not an R&B jam though. Rather, it features some nice bouncy production, with hints of a gorgeous guitar lick, and Busta doing his usual, with a better than average chorus provided by Mary J. Trust me on this- radioplay is a given for this track.
The production on the next track, ‘You Ain’t F**kin With Me’ is probably my favorite of the LP. Just a beautiful rubbery bassline, and a great sounding piano loop, which just sounds like it belongs on the Mr. Rogers show. Awesome stuff. Again, not much more than bragging ish, but Busta does it so well, so why stop?
Like you knew would happen, the entire Flipmode Squad appears for ‘Match The Name With The Voice’, which features a nice enough beat, which is just a bit boring for my tastes. Rah once again rips it hard, Rampage does a surprisingly good job, and the rest are pretty blah. Good enough for a posse cut I guess.
Snoring introduces you to the final cut of the album, ‘Bad Dreams’, which features a heavy bassline, and a great vocal sample, and sounds suspiciously like Nottz production. Nevertheless, the beat is bananas, and Busta does a great job of telling a story here, instead of the usual. The story? I’m pretty sure it’s about an encounter with the devil, but don’t quote me on that.
In conclusion, I think you could call this an improvement for Busta, but it’s almost like he’s on auto-pilot now. His last few albums have followed a trend- 3 club ready singles, a couple of R&B tracks, a posse cut, and the rest of the album switching between good and mediocre beats. Until he gets out of that mindset, I don’t see him ever reaching his true potential.