The Underrated: Busta Rhymes In The 1990s

One of the most enigmatic figures of 90s hip hop was without a doubt Busta Rhymes. Starting from his Leaders of the New School days, Busta would bring high energy and outlandish style to his rhymes and had a deadly flow. He rose to stardom as a solo artist because of this and today, we wanted to reflect on his run in the mid to late 90s. Let's get it started. WOO-HAH!!!

Busta Rhymes is known for his outrageous rhyme scheme, his distinctive voice, and his often wild hair style. He was a member of Leaders of the New School and a founding member of the record label we know as Flipmode Entertainment (currently called Conglomerate).

In the early 90s, Busta began making his mark in the Hip Hop world. He collaborated with artists such as Big Daddy Kane, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One and more. One of my favorite features includes Busta, Puff Daddy, LL Cool J, Rampage and the Notorious B.I.G. on Craig Mack’s remix to “Flava In Ya Ear.”

1996 saw Busta’s debut album with the single “Woo Hah! Got You All In Check” and it got the attention of an audience who may not have been familiar with his previous work. Almost two years later, Busta’s second album When Disaster Strikes really put him over the top. His video for “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” is a forever classic in my eyes because of its Coming to America theme. At that time, Hype Williams was directing EVERYTHING and it was hot!

Busta’s run through the 90s was nothing less than consistent. He teamed up with the one and only Janet Jackson on “What’s It Gonna Be?” and it did very well. Hype Williams once again did his magic on one of the most expensive videos ever made. It reeked of sexuality, but it was just enough to get air time. Busta’s fast rapping skills have him set aside as a staple in the Hip Hop community. My generation is blessed to have experienced him in his prime.

Busta Rhymes to me was one of the dopest rappers in the 90's. The Coming and When Disaster Strikes are two of my favorite Busta albums and really are the best represntation of him at his height. Busta was one of the best lyricists out in the mid-90's when he was using that frantic, high energy style. It made tracks like ''Woo Hah'' and ''Rhymes Galore'' stand out. Now he's known for some of those ''ANDIMGONNA THENIMGONNA'' verses he's been spitting lately, but for anyone that wants to know why Busta was that dude? I'm pointing them to Busta's first two albums and letting that shit hit them.

As a 90's Hiphop fan, you can't know and like Busta Rhymes without mentioning his involvement with Leaders of the New School. Although his time with the group was short lived, the groups "A Future Without A Past" album was one to be noted. Lyrically it was sound, the beats were great and the group's varying rap styles meshed well together. In my opinion Busta Rhymes carried the group and his talent would land him a successful solo career a few years later and allow him to form a new rap group with Flipmode Squad.

I think what set Busta Rhymes apart from most rappers back then was definitely his unique style and delivery. His songs have always been club hits and he was the first rapper I knew of to have Hype Williams as a director of his videos. Busta was everywhere, all the time in the 90's, and with good reason. His spastic raps and crazy facial expressions and movements have always been his trademark.

Although I appreciate and love all of Busta's albums, the "When Disaster Strikes" album is my favorite of his catalog and filled with an amazing tracklist. "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" and "Dangerous" incorporated African tribal beats that accentuated his uniqueness and provided a fantastic theme to work with in the videos. I remember hearing on Rap City of upcoming video releases and when it came time for Busta's videos, we waited to see what Hype had cooked up each time. His videos and songs were definitely highly anticipated. Although Busta is one of the only rappers I love without ever really connecting to his lyrics, he managed to keep me interested.  I think what I like best about his sporadic style is even though you're listening to whatever album, the songs didn't seem to build on each other, somehow Busta manages to create "order out of chaos" with his varying tracklist.

I think the only aspect that leaves Busta open for critique is the inconsistency from album to album and when he strays from his original craziness, he sounds somewhat mundane and boring. He definitely started off the 90's with something Hip Hop fans hadn't heard before and that became his trademark.

Busta was the man in the 90s. Hands down. It got no better than Busta when it came to being entertained in music. Leaders of The New School was dope without a doubt, but it was on his first album The Coming where we got to see Busta in his true glory. Outlandish, aggressive yet hilarious and full of character, Busta went above and beyond with his first album to create something that reigns as timeless in many ways. Is his solo debut a classic? Depends on who you talk to, but it's very close to one if you ask me.

His second album, When Disaster Strikes is my personal favorite and I liked the direction he took for it. His third Extinction Level Event was dope as well, and featured a rack of hits, but couldn't compare to his first two. Still Busta in the 90's, was a force force to be reckoned with and one of the most viable MCs in the decade. When speaking of the 90's, sure the Mobb Deeps, the Wu Tangs, Nas, Jay, Big and others were important and legends, but Busta in the 90's wasn't too far off in the Hip Hop category. If you aren't too familiar, go back and listen to Busta and his first three albums and you'll understand exactly what I mean here.

Any opinions on Busta Rhymes in the 90's? Post them in the comments below.



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