DAR Classic Hip Hop: Busta Rhymes' The Coming

By @CherchezLaPorsh

1. The Coming (Intro)
2. Do My Thing
3. Everything Remains Raw
4. Abandon Ship 
5. Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check
6. It's A Party
7. Hot Fudge
8. Ill Vibe 
9. Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad
10. Still Shining
11. Keep It Movin'
12. The Finish Line
13. The End of The World (Outro)

So far, 2016 has been nothing but sadness and disappointment, as it seems like almost every week we are sending condolences, remembering legends who have passed away or trying to filter out the garbage politicians are feeding us, but I’m a firm believer in silver linings. This year, hip hop gave me that. Amidst all the negativity and constant disappointment, however, we have had the opportunity to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of classic albums by  our favorite legends. There will be so many anniversaries to celebrate, and so many classics to remember. Today, that classic is “The Coming” and the legend is none other than Busta Rhymes.

His success was almost guaranteed from the jump, with his humble beginnings of battle rapping Jay-Z to his membership in Leaders of the New School, Busta developed a very unique rap style. It came with his intense speed of delivery and near perfect intricate rhyming. It would become his signature on the music side, but when you add in his crazy fashion sense and over-the-top ad-libs, Busta Rhymes kept the 90’s packed with hits, creativity and fun! As I’ve said before, Busta was everywhere all the time in the 90’s, every award show, featured on other albums and was constantly dropping videos that would leave fans wide eyed and amazed. He truly was one of the best MC’s at the time and it all started with this album. Let's get to what made his debut album “The Coming” so great.

Before I dive into the tracklist, let's talk about the title for a second. As many of us know, Leaders Of The New School dissolved in 1993, so it was very appropriately titled for a debut. I also like that there is an air of suspense in calling this “The Coming”, as fans knew what to expect from early Busta in a group, but a solo debut?? We didn’t know what he cooked up and his face on the album art helped to pique our curiosity.

Intro tracks are always pretty cool, for a couple reasons, and to me it’s indicative of the overall feel of the album. It is our first exposure to production and beat selection so again it’s an “amuse bouche” but for the ears. Some artists kill it on intros and some don’t, but here, Busta kills it as expected. The beat we hear on this is taken from Ol Dirty Bastard’s track “Goin Down” and that only helps to enhance the crazy in Busta. Every time I hear him yell “The COOMMMMIIIINNNNNGGGGG” with the echoes, I always get startled. We won’t get much lyrical depth with Busta, so the dark undertone this album carries with it adds depth to it and that works.

The first actual track on the album “Do My Thing” is also our first real introduction to the ad-libs, which are such a signature now for Busta. I love how this starts off...high energy from the jump. We hear the stretched out, exaggerated “haaaaahhahaha aahhh” and then he gets right into it with the fast paced, choppy rapping style. What lacks in lyrical depth is compensated with humorous lyrics reminiscent of battle raps, which we know Busta did in his early years. Take a look at what I mean:

“All think fast/
Before I get, all in your ass/
Bend your frame like plexiglass/
You motherfuckers, be acting like you, don't know the half/
You and your whole staff/
Make me laugh/”

Woven into the humor is the rhyming he is so well known for, it almost sounds like it’s never-ending. Check this out:

“Hit you with magic like my name was Pocahontas, the dread/ 
Gon' make you party til you dead/
Niggas quick to talk shit.. OOPS! Upside your head/
Put your head to bed -- let me do my thing -- nuff said/
Shit so hot make your chickenhead do the spread/”

Each verse, each bar, each word is cleverly placed to make the whole song flow in true poetic fashion.

Before I get into the second track, I do want to point out production for a second. There is a handful of producers on this project and each brought enough variation to keep things interesting and at the same time still made a coherent album. On the second track “Everything Remains Raw”, we get Easy Mo Bee on production. Knowing the track of Easy Mo, we could expect greatness and he definitely delivered. He uses a Miles Davis sample, but just enough that it you can hear glimpses of it. I cannot say enough about the beat choice, the sample and how he put it all together! The repetitive choppiness we hear matches absolutely perfectly with Busta’s delivery, its comparable to being in a car and continuously pressing on the brakes... the same exact feeling. If you had any doubt that Busta stands alone in his delivery technique, this track will solidify that. Before I get to the next song though, let me leave you with Busta’s cleverness and humor:

“I be the mostest with rhyme overdoses/
Hot stepping over shit like Ini Kamoze's/
Sick lyrics like multiple sclerosis/”

I’m going to skip over “Abandon Ship”, although this is the first self-produced track and features Rampage, who is Busta’s cousin. Rampage had some visibility during the Golden Era as he was part of Flipmode Squad, which was founded by Rhymes himself and has a few appearances on this album so we’ll see more of Rampage soon.

At about the halfway point in the album, we get “Woo Hah! Got You All In Check” featuring Rampage (once again). This is one of my favorites on this entire album for one simple reason. Busta flexes his rhyming abilities so perfectly. Three different verses and each verse rhymes with a different sound the whole way through. The first verse he has words rhyming with “indeed”, the second verse with “shoes” and the third with “flow”. There's a comfort in the intricacies here as Busta manages to put the rhyme at the end of each bar. I don’t know many rappers who have done this for an entire song. Busta is such a genius. Look at these lyrics and tell me you don’t agree:

“Peace to Baby Phife, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed/
Watch me knock you out like Apollo Creed/
Body blow bustin' your shit making you bleed/”

Referencing Tribe will always get points in my book and is a perfect foreshadowing to what we’ll hear in about 3 tracks, so stay tuned!

As much negativity and criticism as the next track gets, I think the collaboration with Zhane is dope. If there is anyone who can tame the craziness, it’s Zhane’s vocals and that’s exactly what happened on “It’s A Party”. I’ve heard people say this song is boring, and I don’t understand that nor do I agree with it. On the production side, Easy Mo Bee comes through yet again, and it has a noticeably slower tempo than any other track on this album, but I appreciate the variation and especially how Busta tones down his antics to suit the R&B twist. I also love this specific part in the chorus:

“It's a party, let's get it on tonight/
Word up, let's get it on tonight/
Gonna rock your body, Zhane and Busta Rhymes”

I love when artists incorporate names in their lyrics so this stood out to me, and of course Busta’s lyrics are light hearted and fun as well, as he drops some references as well, here take a look:

“Yo, well anyway I'm back around my way/
Keepin it live you know how we do each and every day/
Rollin through thick with my girls Zhane/
With the exclusive debut Hey Mr. DJ/”

Even with the lack of lyrical depth, Busta manages some very clever lyrics. I’m going to skip over “Hot Fudge” and bring the focus to “Ill Vibe”, for those of us who were anticipating it. This features Q-Tip. Anytime there is a piece of ATCQ infused in a song or an album, it’s guaranteed to be dope and this one is exactly that. With Busta back to his craziness and exaggerated ad-libs, combined with Q-Tip's laid back jazzy-funk infused flow, these two deliver a masterpiece. They both have very distinct voices so it’s incredible to hear them side by side, not to mention how they feed off each other almost in conversation to magnify their dynamic. The chorus is truly the best example of that with the back and forth “I caught that ill vibe Tip (word Bus?) .... That ill vibe Tip (word Bus?) yo yo word” and the lyrics are not in short supply of their cleverness.

“Pretty palmolive-soaped skin, AloeVeralese/
She looked like the type of chick you only see in fantasies/”

“I put my best foot forward, when I play in life/
Cause this world as I live it, chill's like a double edged knife/”

I can’t explain how much I love the creation of the word “AloeVeralese”, Busta is brilliant.  These two are incredibly entertaining and this is inline with the overall feel of the album. Truly a phenomenal track and such a great collabo.

This next one is another one of my favorites. “Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad” has basically everyone from both squads on this, so this should be a favorite of any 90’s hip hop fan. With 6 different guys, different styles, flows and delivery, they set this up to be very battle rap-like and of course the announcer part in the middle reaffirms that. There’s a ton of references and so much to follow and appreciate. I wish there was a clear best here, but there isn’t, as each rapper's verse is equally good and each added a piece of their character which I love. I can't say enough great things about this song. I absolutely love it.

I'm going to skip over the next track and talk about "Keep It Movin', which features Busta's previous group mates Leaders of the New School. So yes, we get the familiar dynamic of Dinco, Milo and Charlie Brown that we loved so much just a few years before. I love that these guys joined Busta on his debut, as I think the support is awesome and it's dope for the fans. Although this track is unlike any other, it's still good and necessary. The very last lines make up the "outro" and is what gets me: Busta gives the group and his fallen homies one last shoutout of love, which I think is always commendable, especially on a debut. I love Busta for this and I appreciate this entire song, but specifically because of this:

"This one goes out/
To the three brothers that I love the most, in memory of this song/
My man Ratto, my man Big Joe, my nigga Love/
Them niggas rest, most comfortable/
Peace, L-O-N-S, forever"

After that, we are left with one track and an official album outro and that concludes one of the greatest debuts out of the '90's.

Like I said, there is no profound lyrical depth or underlying street message, that's never been what Busta was about or known for. What he was known for was bringing a unique rap style and method of delivery while mastering rhyming track after track and he did that perfectly. The creativity is unmatched, the lyrical flow is unlike anything we heard before him (although ODB was close) and he did so with a smoothness that truly made Busta Rhymes a highly sought after MC. From his involvement with LONS to his creation of Flipmode Squad and everything in between, Busta Rhymes gifted hip hop with a piece of himself. As fans of the genre, we are better having this gem to call a classic.



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