First The Big Bang, Then The Meltdown…
There isn’t anyone as established in Hip-Hop that has had a more tumultuous stretch over the last twelve month period (other than maybe Foxy Brown) as your boy Busta Rhymes? What’s been remarkable has been the fact that Busta remains in the news spotlight for everything other than his recordings and performances. If dude isn’t inside the studio he is being arrested. It’s like Busta is somehow channeling the essence of rapper DMX. Let’s just hope he isn’t developing a fondness for any of DMX narcotic tastes. The bigger issue is how does one of Hip-Hop’s greatest showmen descend into the downward spiral of petty criminal arrests and legal troubles?
I look for watershed moments that change people’s lives from the standpoint of asking what’s right or wrong with someone and for Busta Rhymes I think that watershed moment was when he decided to cut off his trademark dredlocked hair. Soon afterwards he was in a custody battle for his children. The release of his first Aftermath album ‘The Big Bang’ brought it’s own set of problems. Everyone here knows about the tragic and unfortunate murder of Busta’s weed carrier slash jewelry polisher Israel Ramirez. Busta has refused to cooperate with the New York City Police Department regarding the investigation of this shooting. I do think the NYPD is giving Busta a hard time because of this also, but at the same time Busta is feeding the flames by rampaging on his employees.
Shit was so much simpler when Busta had dreds. If you have ever seen him and Spliff Star perform then you already know Busta is one of the greatest to ever get on stage. I watched them at a summer jam concert a few years back and it was like he was still a teenager. His energy was out of control. He and Spliff were flawless with their spit and unlike almost all rappers Busta actually said his own lyrics instead of pointing the microphone into the crowd. With all of his legal troubles of late I wonder if we will ever get to see that performer back on stage again anytime soon? Those cases take away your motivation to perform in public. I was at a Roots concert that was a tribute to the great producer James ‘Jay Dilla’ Yancey who was a close friend of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip. Neither of them appeared to do their song ‘Scenario’ which would have blown the roof off the building. That sounds like some serious depression to me when you don’t want to honor the memory of a friend that helped you succeed in the music industry. We all know industry rule #4,080… Record company people are shady.
Could Busta Rhymes be fighting bi-polar depression? That’s possible too. Mental illness in the African American community is an even more taboo topic than homosexuality. It speaks to the frailty of the mind and it presents a challenge for which you have to seek outside counseling and possibly medication. Busta’s rhyme style was always slightly schizoid, but still in control. He needed that intensity and physical fitness to perform his high energy sets. Busta might be one of the fittest rappers in the music industry. In a relatively short time his framework has grown similar to that of baseball legend Barry Bonds. Could Busta Rhymes be on steroids?!? That’s seems unlikely since they don’t make you rhyme better, but if they did I would give some to Lil’ Wayne to help him get his lyrical weight up.