Talking about Lord Have Mercy made me hungry for some vintage Busta Rhymes. No one will ever say it, so I’m just going to go ahead and speed up my excommunication from the religion of Hip Hop: Busta Rhymes is a name that criminally never gets brought up in the discussion of best rappers, alive or dead.
He never delivered deep content, he never was much of a story teller, and he has devolved as his career has gone on.
But on the strength of his first three albums, you can’t tell me there’s a more entertaining rapper than Busta Rhymes. You can tell me, but I won’t listen.
So maybe that’s the distinction that must be made: Busta was not one of the best rappers, but rather one of the most entertaining. His elastic, hyperexaggerated flow bounced all over tracks, delivering threats and boasts with urgency and very real fire. He always delivered on singles, but his albums housed some equally exciting material.
Also, one thing that never gets mentioned was Busta’s strong belief in the Y2K Apocalypse. Credit Busta for being bold enough to deliver end of the world prophesies, using his first three albums (which means he was warning us about the end as early as 1996) to party and shoot and explode all over beats like the world was about to end. And even if it didn’t end, the idea of the Apocalypse as a motivating factor in pop music has worked before. It’s always dope in my book.
Despite a string of hits, this is perhaps the reason none of Busta’s albums since the turn of the millennium have been good. Starting with 2000’s Anarchy, Busta has delivered a series of hit or miss (mostly miss) records that replace his once genuine enthusiasm with empty thug posturing and the sort of commonplace boasting that most rappers get overlooked for taking part in.
Just remember that, for a time, Busta Rhymes wasn’t good, he was great.
Also, Busta made the best videos. This is the best of the best videos. AND the beat sampled Psycho’s theme song. I miss the world in which this could be Busta Rhymes’ first single and it not only made sense but was expected. Okay, rant over.