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Busta Rhymes, The Jump Off


Busta Rhymes
The Jump Off
Back on My B.S.
(Motown/Universal)

Sometimes you have to go backwards to get ahead. That’s the approach hip-hop veteran Busta Rhymes is taking after once again signing with Sylvia Rhone over at Universal Motown (Rhone was the head of the now-defunct Elektra Records when the Leaders of the New School standout went solo in 1996). Despite bouncing from Elektra to J Records, the Brooklyn MC managed to release six albums since his solo debut The Coming (1996). But after the ink dried on his much ballyhooed deal with Dr. Dre’s Interscope-distributed Aftermath in 2004, label politics slowed the Flipmode general’s roll. So with the commercial disappointment of 2006’s The Big Bang, Busta decided to go back to the drawing board, which is why his eighth studio album, Back on My B.S., is such a fitting title.

Bussa-Bus stays true to form, meshing the same witty concepts and dope production he has been known for his entire career. Tracks like the DJ Scratch–produced “I’ma Go and Get Mine,” the superanimated “How You Really Want It” and the lyrically rich “Shoot for the Moon” could easily pass as lost recordings from 1997’s When Disaster Strikes. He also draws upon his Jamaican roots with the reggae-influenced “Kill Dem,” a barn burner where Busta rhymes in patois over Pharrell’s rollicking Wu-Tang–inspired production.

While high-energy anthems remain Busta’s calling card, he has been known to smooth it out on the R&B tip on a number of occasions. Check his catalog to find pairings with Janet Jackson, Rick James and Stevie Wonder, for example. “Decisions”—a heartfelt offering, with Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Common in tow—is perhaps his best yet. On it, the Dungeon Dragon finds himself showing gratitude to a special friend (“Something I realized that I don’t even have to mention/Is whether or not you got me, that’s something I never question”) over Mr. Porter’s mournful piano-laced track.

The album’s guest spots range from Red Cafe and Uncle Murda, on “Please Gimme Me More Ammo,” to Young Jeezy and Jadakiss, on the sinister-sounding “Respect My Conglomerate,” to T.I., on the inspirational “Don’t Believe ’Em.” For the most part, the aforementioned collaborations yield positive results, but the T-Pain–helmed “Hustler’s Anthem 09” seems to miss the mark. Over Ty Fyffe’s bouncy track, Busta predictably brags, “We celebrating like we throwing money around/Bring a lot of ’Tron, I’m about to order a couple of rounds,” while Pain delivers a predictable hook.

Still, listeners and Stans alike will overlook such transgressions, as B.O.M.B.S.’s gems greatly outshine its rough spots. Say, for instance, the final track, “If You Don’t Know, Now You Know,” where the embattled rapper provides answers to the questions Big Tigger provides. Nothing is held back, as Busta addresses everything, including why he cut off his signature locks (“Just for the record, the reason I cut off the dreads/Is ’cause I got tired of carrying weight on my head”) and why his last album failed to go platinum (“The nature of the business is unstable/Especially when you album isn’t promoted by your label”). With such an illustrious career, many write off the MC’s accolades simply because they’ve become desensitized to his exploits. But if there was ever any doubt, with this album, Busta Rhymes proves that, when it comes to that Brooklyn bullshit, he’s still on it. —SEAN A. MALCOLM

  • latino heat

    Busta’s last joint was highly slept on. it’s his only album i can actually listen to all the way through. but like everything else on Aftermath it was doomed from the start. does anybody know where i can download the 2nd Aftermath album that wasn’t released?

    • jburg

      I feel you with that. The Big Bang was the best album to come out that summer. I still bump shit off that album. I can’t believe it was slept on like it was. It was a classic to me.

  • http://www.resurrectedmuzik.com LUBY562

    All hail the King… No seriously though. Busta is a Living Legend like the homie Spice.
    I hope Busta and Splif Star keep giving the game what it needs.

    Although the Bang album didn’t selling a million/Bust’ got that true spit so real niggas feel him/And I don’t buy albums I make em/Every now and then I regress/I bought your last album and like half the rest.

  • mike

    I said this before, he needs to get off that sexually explict crap and back to his vintage style. Forgive me BUT there’s a reason his success has been very limited. He should be way ahead of where he is right now in the game. He’s IS one of my favs but after his first three classics. It’s been up and mostly down. Is he really back to his bull****? Let’s hope its the good, classic ****. Comments?

  • latino heat

    yeah i got a comment. since when does Busta have 3 classics? Busta’s albums have always been stuffed with way too much filler and only a few actual hot joints. the closest he’s come to a classic is Big Bang. he finally cut back the exrta 10 cuts of filler he usually has and just put out 14 bangers. i hope this album has that same format.

  • Detroit Draper

    The big bang is the only Busta cd I have or would ever buy in my life and there’s a reason lol. Its the only quality serious album he’s ever made…Im sorry all that whoo ha shit is’nt for me. But on a positive note the big bang was a great cd as close as he has ever came to classic/good material. I dont know why it has been so slept on.

  • Dane

    Well, I wouldn’t give him 3 classic albums. However I definitely rank The Coming as his best album period. Just about every track on there was a banger and it was his most focused (13 tracks). It was much better than Big Bang IMO.

  • Perosky10s

    I still haven’t heard this album, and my hopes are really not elevated. The only thing i can imagine is Busta, with the same club music as the last album, nothing that worth lirically talking, nothing compared to his first three classic albums. It’s not something that I like when a talented and skilled rapper goes commercial, and at least if it happens, better make it to top the charts, ‘coz it’s nothing more disgusting than seeing a rapper that goes commercial without having one song that gets known, like it happended with Goodie Mob and other artists / groups.
    Sorry for my english, I talk spanish.

  • TE

    I don’t think this album will ever be as good as big bang, lengend of the fall off’s is an absolute timeless song. i hated arab money, i also think ron brownz is wack producer, if i was busta i wouldv’e stayed on aftermath and just waited and extra year or something to get the album out. but it is what it is.

  • Simmy

    Hiphopdx said this album sux(2 stars), XXL says that its crack..who do you actually believe…can u actually even take these reviews seriously then? Just a thought

  • TeeDee

    This album is str8 GARBAGE! The only Busta album I haven’t bought cos it sucks, too much pop music in it e.g. Akon, Estelle & T-Pain. Hopefully The Chemo puts Busta back on point!