Saturday, May 30, 2009

Album Review: Busta Rhymes - Back on My B.S. (4.5 / 5)


Busta Rhymes has always been an interesting figure in hip-hop. In comparison to today's biggest hip-hop acts, Rhymes' style is more comedic - His 1996 debut, The Coming was a indeed a colorful record, introducing an ominous structure of hip-hop, embedded with a malicious funk accompanied with his jocular rapping style. His follow up 1997s, When Disaster Strikes was a messy but brilliant piece of work - His greatest offering came in the form of 1999s E.L.E: Extinction Level Event, which featured the hit single, "What's It Gonna Be?!" with Janet Jackson, scoring Rhymes' first top 5 single in the U.S. His next two albums (Anarchy and Genesis) weren't anything that caught my attention.

His last 2 albums have definitely kept me a dominant fan of the rapper. 2003s It Ain't Safe No More was the start the slick contemporary feel, he would carry out further on. The album featured his second top 5 single, "I Know What You Want" with Mariah Carey. His last album, The Big Bang was a gritty but great offering, featuring potentially his best single ever, "Touch It (Remix)."

Swiftly catching us to, Back on My B.S. Upon my first listen, I was thoroughly impressed with the latter - although not distinctively different from its predecessor, it is a very productive listen, therefore securing another winner. Opening the album is the "Back On My B.S. - Intro," which essentially takes the piss out of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, replacing the violins with comedic vocal work and chanting of the albums extended title, "Back On My Bullshit". I'm generally not a fan of album introductions (despite the tons I have on my iPod) but I love this. Following up is "Wheel of Fortune," which brings in the wonderful producing skills of DJ Scratch, who manages to catch Rymes' traditional kinetic drum and horn sound -even incorporating his somewhat distorted vocal.

"Give Em What Their Askin' For," is a breezy cut - assimilating a kinetic venture, also bringing the horns. The next track, "Respect My Conglomerate," was originally featured on fellow rapper, Jadakiss' latest album, The Last Kiss and I remember not liking it at all, but it doesn't sound as bad now, I like the grittiness of the song - the vigorous handclaps and bleeps. "Shoot For The Moon," is a bit of downer, it lacks the kick most of the other tracks have, coming of a tad dry. "Hustler's Anthem '09," with T-Pain, is indeed the best of the album, featuring a tasteful lower-key piano bassline and also including is signature kinetic handclap element. This should've been a bigger hit --if anything, especially on the hip-hop charts.

"Kill Dem," seems to draw some Chinese and Indian influences in the vocal department --very hard to explain-- but his method or rap here is pretty hilarious. It's definitely one of my favorite cuts on here. "Arab Money," --another cut that seems to draw Indian influences, It was one of the original singles that failed to connect. I assume the song has a more deeper meaning than I'm willing to look into. "I'm a Go And Get My...", begins with an A'capella before breaking into its kinetic glory, it kinda reminds me of, "I Love My Bitch" from, The Big Bang. I assume what he wants to go and get is a gun.

I love the drums and vocoder in, "We Want It" --some very aggressive rapping-- maybe lacking some substance, but taking it for what is, a pretty decent track. "We Miss You," is a tad more melodic, but pretty much has the same structure as, "Want." Is it not funny that Flo Rida has a song called "Sugar," on his, R.O.O.T.S. album, and now so does Rhymes, whilst I prefer Flo Rida's better, this is a good 'Bump 'n' Grind' number, something you rarely here from the rapper.

Akon and T.I. both appear on, "Don't Believe Em," which is one of the best tracks on here, once again incorporating horns and Eight-O-Eight drums. Adding a soul edge to the album is the love ballad, "Decision," which spawns an angelic piano --kinda sounds like 50 Cent's, "Follow Me" with Robin Thicke. British sensation, Estelle makes an appearance on the electronic, "World Go Round", which closes the album. As much I like this cut, it does seem a tad out of place, when compared with everything else on the album, it's the only song on here that has a strong pop contemporary presence, backing itself with layers of syth.

Back on My B.S. shouldn't be a surprise that it's such a good album. Luckily not as many clunkers or fillers as I expected. Busta Rhymes' churns out yet another winner.

Best: Don't Believe Em, Hustler's Anthem '09, World Go Round, We Miss You, Follow Me, We Want It, Kill Dem

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