Skip to main content
Select Source:

Rhymes, Busta 1972–

Busta Rhymes 1972

Rapper, actor

Found Mentor in Chuck D.

Released Solo Album

Headed Own Record Label

Launched Clothing Line

Selected discography

Sources

Elektra executive Sylvia Rhone said of Busta Rhymes in Billboard, You can never underestimate Busta; just when you think youve figured him out, he will surprise you even more. The unpredictable rapper first achieved success as a teenager in the group Leaders of the New School. But it was his 1996 solo debut, The Coming, and its lead single, Woo hah!! Got You All in Check that catapulted him to stardom. Rhymes has since released three more albums, commenced an acting career, and launched his own record and fashion companies.

Rhymesborn Trevor Smith to a Jamaican mother and U.S.-born father in Brooklyn, New Yorkmoved with his family to the suburbs of Long Island during his adolescence. While his deep, booming voice came from his father, the rapper reported to the Los Angeles Times, when it came down to discipline in my family, the true barker was Moms. Thats where my real energetic side comes from. Only after he arrived in Strong Island, as fellow natives and rap revolutionaries Public Enemy called the borough, did Rhymes began to dream of rhyming. I was mad small, he recollected in Elektra Records press materials, but I would start entering rap contests, lip synch contests, anything to show my skills. Fortunately, he claimed, hailing from Brooklyn stood him in good stead, since Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens was where all the good hip hop was coming from at that time.

Found Mentor in Chuck D.

Rhymes was still in junior high school when he hooked up with another rapper, Charlie Brown. The pair eventually caught the attention of Public Enemy leader Chuck D. as well as the groups producers, Eric Sadler and Hank Shocklee. Sadler and Shockleeknown in the rap world as The Bomb Squadhelped the young Rhymes and his friends to refine their approach. As Rhymes noted in his Elektra Records biography, Eric used to repeat this phrase to remind us what to concentrate on: C.L.A.M.P., which stood for Concept-Lyrics-Attitude-Music and Performance. He used to say when you get that down to a science, then youll be there.

Refining this blend took some time, but Rhymes, Charlie, and their friend Dinco D. worked hard on their unison raps and choreography. After adding Rhymess cousin, Custmaster Milo, as a DJ, they found their identity as Leaders of the New School. With the assistance of Chuck D., the quartet landed a deal with Elektra in 1989. The groups debut album, A Future Without a Past, appeared in 1991 and was hailed by Spin as high-energy hip hop that recaptures some of the giddy joys of rap. Their 1993 follow-up, T.I.M.E., also enjoyed critical raves. The Source deemed it a rarity in hip-hop: a sophomore album thats better than the debut, and singled out Rhymess work for special praise. Busta get[s] buttnaked and wild, the magazine proclaimed; he growls, grunts, chants and basically continues to break all musical rules. According to Los Angeles Times writer Cheo Hodari Coker, the group brought a lively energy to its shows and recordings by performing singsong routines in unison rather than the normal rap

At a Glance

Born Trevor Smith, Jr. on May 20,1972 in Brooklyn, NY; son of Trevor Sr. and Geraldine Smith; children: Tahiem (deceased) and Tziah.

Career: Co-founded rap group Leaders of the New School and released Elektra Records debut, A Future Without a Past , 1991; made guest appearances on recordings by A Tribe Called Quest, Boyz II Men, Craig Mack, Bounty Killer, and others, 1993-96; appeared on Smokin Grooves concert tour, 1996; solo albums: The Coming, Elektra, 1996; When Disaster Strikes, Elektra, 1997; Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), Elektra, 1998; Anarchy, Elektra, 2000; signed with J Records, 2001; film roles: Whos the Man, 1993; Higher Learning, 1995; The Rugrats Movie, 1998; Shaft, 2000; Finding Forrester, 2000; Narc, 2001; Halloween: The Homecoming, 2002.

Addresses: Agent William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

pattern of just one or two main voices. The music was accompanied by lively choreographed stomps. The group also appeared as guests on an album by Godfather of Soul James Brown.

Rhymes has cited as influences not only old-school funk master George Clinton and rock guitar icon Jimi Hen-drix, but some other figures that are, if anything, even more animated. Secret Squirrel, Tom and Jerry, Courageous Cat, he enumerated in Spin, adding some other cartoon favorites: A lot of the old st, tooPopeye, Mighty Mouse. That st just stays on at my crib 24 hours [a day]. He was able to demonstrate the range of his own cartoonish funkateer persona after Leaders took a hiatus in 1993. He put in guest appearances with R&B hitmakers Boyz II Men, hip hop explorers A Tribe Called Quest, and many others. The rapper has proved virtual nitroglycerin as a guest star, noted Spin writer Chris Norris.

Rhymes also lent his presence to several films, including the 1993 rap comedy Whos the Man and John Singletons university drama Higher Learning (1995). He was such a scene stealer, Singleton told Newsweek of Rhymess Higher Learning performance. Busta could be standing there, doing nothing, and when he turns around its pure energy.

Released Solo Album

Shortly after Leaders of the New School took a break, Rhymesa member of the Five Percent sect of Islam saw the birth of his son, Tziah. He dedicated his album to the memory of another, now deceased, son, Tahiem, but has not discussed this loss in the press. He spent the next few years in Brooklyn experiencing what he described to Spin as normal, middle-class, standard-living st like how I came up. By the time hed completed his solo album, The Coming, Tziah was three years old andaccording to his proud papaa delight. Thats the coolest age to be around kids, he told Spin. They dont bicker, theyre not looking for their moms, they just want to chill. It was the arrival of Tziah, he insisted in the Los Angeles Times, that made the solo effort a necessity I would never have done a solo record voluntarily, he claimed. I love the group, and were still gonna record albums. But now that Ive had the chance to flourish and to blossom, Im gonna capitalize on the best of both worlds.

Working with a variety of producers, Rhymes was able to expand his range on The Coming. Usually when Im rhyming, reads a quote from his Elektra biography, I only get to rhyme 16 bars. Here I get to show other things. The record is energized on many different levels, including the Rhymes wild [st]. In addition to the massive Woo hah!!, which was complemented by a frenetic, stylized video that earned heavy rotation on MTV, the album also features Its a Party, a duet with female soul divas Zhane. Reviews of the album were mixed from a musical standpoint, but tended to celebrate Rhymess vocal skills. Rolling Stone complained that the mixes are simple, droopy and slow, but added that the rappers quavering rips and verbal acrobatics liven up the joint. He hurdles beats and measures in a single bound. Reviewer Eric Berman concluded, Despite his musical shortcomings, Rhymes is a master MC and one of hip-hops most jovial and vivid personalities, whose creativity on the mike may give rap a much needed shot in the arm. Coker, reviewing the disc for the Los Angeles Times, found it short on deep themes but long on dazzling displays of rhyme skill. He cited the recording as proof that there are still compelling hip-hop records to be made without dramatic narratives or weighty social politics.

Rhymes toured behind The Coming in an omnibus rap show that also boasted the Fugees, Cypress Hill, and A Tribe Called Quest. He promised a reunion with his LONS mates before long, but in the short time expressed nothing but gratitude. Every time my voice is recorded, he told the Los Angeles Times, Im extremely happy. Hip-hop is paying my bills and feeding my family. Rather than cop an arrogant attitude and mad face, he added, he wanted to emphasize his accessibility: I want the whole world to feel like they can approach and embrace me.

Rhymes released his second solo album, When Disaster Strikes, in 1997. People Weekly called his sophomore effort seriously great and praised the single, Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, for its tightly controlled and surprisingly subdued stream of unconsciousness. The album earned multi-platinum sales status.

Headed Own Record Label

Rhymes stated his won record label, FlipMode Entertainment, in May of 1998. The FlipMode Squad, a group of which Rhymes was a member, released the labels first album, Imperial. Rhymes told Billboard that, although being an artist is my first love, FlipMode Entertainment would allow him to do things with music that I dont do myself, from alternative to the hottest R&B.

When Rugrats the Movie hit the big screen in November of 1998, Rhymes not only contributed to the animated films soundtrack, but he also took on the role of Reptar Wagon. A month later, Rhymess third album, Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), was released. He told Billboard, I had a lot of intense emotional experiences during the recording process, so I recorded it with those emotions in detail. One of Rhymess chief concerns while making the record was the upcoming millennium. In every holy scripture, Rhymes told Entertainment Weekly, you find [references] to the significance of this time frame. In particular, Rhymes was worried about the Y2K computer bug. In preparation for possible disaster, Rhymes told Entertainment Weekly, Im gonna store up on some food, some land, some lootin particular, gold and silver, because its probably gonna go back to some trade [st]. Im gonna be ready.

However, Rhymess fascination with the possibility of armageddon in 2000 was nothing new to fans of his music. Ive always been thinking about time and the end of the century, Rhymes told Newsweek. The first album was called The Coming. The second album was called When Disaster Strikes. Now afer disaster strikes, its an extreme level. An extinction level.

Two of the albums highlightsfor both Rhymes and his listenersstemmed from collaborations with Janet Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne. Jackson joined Rhymes on Whats It Gonna Be, and the video for the song received heavy air play on MTV. Rhymes worked with Osbourne on a remake of Osbournes Iron Man, which Rhymes called This Means War. Rhymes had always admired the Osbournes powerful vocals on that song. The intensity, the effect, Rhymes told Imusic.com, its the same way I approach my [st].

Overall, the album received positive reviews. News-weeks Veronica Chambers noted, He heralds doomsday with a danceable beat. Entertainment Weekly called it a characteristically bombastic tour de force. Imusic.com noted that Rhymes commands the listeners attention. unleashing thought provoking verses one minute, and spitting out euphoric hailstones of hectic, teeth clenching rhymes the next. Also in December of 1998, Rhymes found himself embroiled in legal problems when police discovered a loaded and unregistered gun in his Mercedes. The rapper was charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Rhymess manager, Gerald Odom, who was also in the car at the time, was arrested for marijuana possession.

Launched Clothing Line

Joining the ranks of other hip-hop stars who have ventured into the fashion industry, Rhymes launched Bushi Designs in 1999. The companys name was derived from the Japanese for warriorbushido. Initially, the company produced a line of footwear, but this was soon followed by a line of mens clothes. A womens clothing line was added a year later. Rhymes, along with partner Rashib Boothe, designed all the clothing himself. Hip-hop is a culture like.any other, Rhymes told Billboard. Theres a dress code that goes with the spirit and cultural significance.

In the summer of 2000 Rhymes released Anarchy. This album feels a little more extreme from a personal standpoint, Rhymes told Billboard... because Im in a place now where Im comfortable enough to express that level of my creative ability. The personal nature of Anarchy was evident in How Much We Grew. This song chronicles Rhymess life. It looks back at the struggle that was so worth going through because of how rewarding it is today, Rhymes explained in Billboard. The album also featured a collaboration with Lenny Kravitz entitled Make Noise.

Rhymes also returned to movie theaters in the summer of 2000, appearing alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft. Rhymes played Rasaan, a character who helps Shaft. Im pretty much the guy Shaft cant be because hes a cop, he explained in Jet. Shaft has to follow the legal procedure to solve crimes and deal with thugs. Rasaan can assist him in a very unorthodox street way. Also in 2000, Rhymes was featured in Finding Forrester, starring Sean Connery. The following year, Rhymes was busy filming Narc, an action-packed thriller which starred Jason Patrick and Ray Liotta. Rhymes also signed on to play the Cowardly Lion in a remake of The Wizard of Oz for Fox television. In addition, he competed several television commercials for Mountain Dew.

When Rhymess contract with Elektra Records ended in 2001, he decided to sign with Clive Davis at J Records. In every area of your life, you grow to a certain level, Rhymes told Billboard. The bottom line is, I dont want to people to just be in Busta Rhymes business. I want people to be in business with Busta Rhymes. I think J Records will be the machine that can do that. Rhymess record label became an imprint of J Records.

A man of numerous talents, Busta Rhymes has set himself up to conquer the worlds of music, film, and fashion. Yet, despite his varied interests and abilities, one thing remained constant. Rhymes told Essence, As long as I can represent what I am, which is hip-hop, in whatever genre of entertainment Im doing, then thats as real as its going to get with Busta Rhymes. Fake isnt even an option.

Selected discography

(With Leaders of the New School)

A Future Without a Past, Elektra, 1991.

James Brown, Universal James (appears on Cant Get Any Harder), Scotti Brothers, 1992.

T.I.M.E., Elektra, 1993.

(Solo)

The Coming, Elektra, 1996.

When Disaster Strikes, Elektra, 1997.

Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), Elektra, 1998.

Anarchy, Elektra, 2000.

Selected filmography

Whos the Man, 1993.

Higher Learning, 1995.

The Rugrats Movie, 1998.

Shaft, 2000.

Finding Forrester, 2000.

Narc, 2001.

Halloween: The Homecoming, 2002.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 18, Gale, 1997.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Vol. 29, Gale, 2000.

Periodicals

Billboard, November 7, 1998; October 2, 1999; May 27, 2000; July 8, 2000; February 24, 2001.

Business Wire, September 7, 2001.

Entertainment Weekly, December 18, 1998.

Essence, November 2000.

Hollywood Reporter, January 29, 2001.

Jet, June 12, 2000.

Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1996; May 26, 1996; July 25, 1996.

Newsweek, November 23, 1998; December 14, 1998.

People Weekly, November 10, 1997; January 18,1999.

Rolling Stone, May 2, 1996.

Source, November 1993.

Spin, July 1991; August 1996.

Vibe, September 1996.

Online

All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com.

IMusic, http://imusic.artistdirect.com/showcase/urban/busta.htm (September 20, 2001).

Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com.

Other

Additional information was provided by Elektra Records publicity materials, 1996.

Simon Glickman and Jennifer M. York

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rhymes-busta-1972

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rhymes-busta-1972

Rhymes, Busta 1972–

RHYMES, Busta 1972–

(Busta Remo, Busta Rhymez, T. Smith, Trevor Smith)

PERSONAL

Original name, Trevor Smith, Jr.; born May 20, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York, NY; son of Trevor, Sr. and Geraldine Smith; children: T'ziah Jones (son), Tahiem Jones (son; deceased). Religion: Five Percent Nation.

Addresses:

Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career:

Actor, singer, songwriter, song producer, and music video director. Leaders of the New School (music group), founding member; affiliated with the musical group Flipmode Squad; Flipmode Entertainment, principal, beginning 1998; Appeared in commercials. Bushi Designs (fashion label), creator, 1999. Also known as T. Smith, Trevor Smith, and Busta Rhymez.

Awards, Honors:

Video of the Year Award (with P. Diddy), Black Entertainment Television, 2002, for "Pass the Courvoisier, Part II."

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Jawaan, Who's the Man?, New Line Cinema, 1993.

Dreads, Higher Learning, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1995.

Participating artist, Rhyme & Reason, Miramax, 1997.

Voice of Reptar Wagon, The Rugrats Movie (animated), Paramount, 1998.

Rasaan, Shaft (also known as Shaft—Noch Fragen?), Paramount, 2000.

Terrell Wallace, Finding Forrester, Columbia, 2000.

Backstage, Dimension Films, 2000.

Darnell "Big D Love" Beery, Narc (also known as Narco), Paramount, 2002.

Freddie Harris, Halloween: Resurrection, Dimension Films, 2002.

Freddie Harris, Halloween 9 (also known as Hall9ween and Halloween: Blood of Michael Myers), Dimension Films, 2004.

Joshua Pope, Full Clip, Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Death of a Dynasty, TLA Releasing, 2004.

Performer of songs that have been featured in films, television broadcasts, and video collections.

Film Executive Producer:

Full Clip, Lions Gate Films, 2004.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip–Hop, VH1, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Buster, Strapped, HBO, 1993.

Television Appearances; Specials:

It Just Takes One, USA Network, 1997.

Performer, MTV New Year's Eve (also known as MTV New Year's Eve 1998), MTV, 1998.

A Very Busta Xmas, MTV, 1998.

NetAid, VH1, 1999.

One Love: The Bob Marley All–Star Tribute, TNT, 1999.

Himself, It's Black Entertainment, Showtime, 2000.

The BET 20th Anniversary Celebration, Black Entertainment Television, 2000.

MTV Icon: Janet Jackson, MTV, 2001.

MTV20: Live and Almost Legal, MTV, 2001.

Rockin New Year's Eve 2002 (also known as Dick Clark's "Rockin New Year's Eve 2002"), ABC, 2001.

New Year's Eve Pajama Party, MTV, 2002.

World's Sexiest Athletes, ESPN, 2002.

Himself, Fromage 2003, MuchMusic, 2003.

Himself, MTV Soundtrack: Tupac; Resurrection, MTV, 2003.

Host, Party with Spike World Premiere Special, Spike TV, 2003.

Protestor, The Shady National Convention, MTV, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 1997 Billboard Music Awards, Fox, 1997.

The 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, MTV, 1997.

Soul Train Music Awards: 11th Anniversary, The WB, 1997.

The 28th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1997.

The Fifth Annual MTV Europe Music Video Awards (also known as The 1998 MTV Europe Music Video Awards), MTV, 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) The 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, MTV, 1998.

The 12th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 1998.

Cohost, The Fifth Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, syndicated, 1999.

The 18th Annual American Fashion Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 1999.

(With Flipmode Squad) The Source Hip–Hop Music Awards, UPN, 1999.

The 13th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 1999.

Host, The Source Hip–Hop Music Awards 2000, UPN, 2000.

Presenter, The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, MTV Video Music Awards 2000, MTV, 2000.

Presenter, The 27th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2000.

The 14th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 2000.

Host, Source Awards 2001 (also known as The Source Hip–Hop Music Awards 2001), UPN, 2001.

Presenter, MTV Video Music Awards 2001, MTV, 2001.

The 15th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 2001.

MTV Video Music Awards 2002, MTV, 2002.

The 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 2002.

The 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Fox, 2002.

Presenter, The 45th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2003.

Presenter, The 30th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2003.

MTV Europe Music Awards 2003, MTV, 2003.

The 2003 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2003.

Video Game Awards 2004, Spike TV, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

(With Leaders of the New School) Musical guest, In Living Color, Fox, 1991.

Himself, "Kill the Noise," New York Undercover, Fox, 1996.

Guest, Soul Train, syndicated, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003.

Philip, "Dating Games," Cosby, CBS, 1997.

Guest, The Chris Rock Show, HBO, 1997.

Guest, Howard Stern, E! Entertainment Television, 1997, 2001.

Himself, "Busta Saves the Day," The Wayans Bros., The WB, 1998.

Zack, "Everybody Loves Regina," The Steve Harvey Show, The WB, 1998.

Guest, TFI Friday, 1998.

Himself, "All That Live," All That, Nickelodeon, 1999.

Guest, Mad TV, Fox, 1999.

Musical guest, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's "Saturday Night," Saturday Night, and SNL), NBC, 1999.

Guest, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1999, 2000.

Himself, "Fire," Making the Video, MTV, 2000.

Guest, Cribs (also known as MTV's "Clubs"), MTV, 2000, 2003.

Himself, "Flipmode," Space Ghost Coast to Coast (live action and animated), Cartoon Network, 2001.

Guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2002, 2003.

"Minority Report," Movie House (also known as MTV's "Movie House"), MTV, 2002.

Guest, Behind the Music (also known as VH1's "Behind the Music"), VH1, 2002.

Guest, Last Call with Carson Daly, NBC, 2002.

Guest, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2002.

Guest, Top of the Pops (also known as All New Top of the Pops and TOTP), BBC, 2002.

Guest, Total Request Live (also known as TRL), MTV, 2002.

Himself, "Daredevilin'," Player$, 2003.

Himself, "Detroit," Interscope Presents "The Next Episode," Showtime, 2003.

Himself, "Party & Floetry," 106 & Park (also known as 106 & Park Top 10 Live), Black Entertainment Television, 2003.

Himself, Punk'd, MTV, 2003.

Musical guest, Chappelle's Show, Comedy Central, 2003.

Contestant, "Search for a New Host," 601 & Drive, 2004.

"What's Happenin'," Behind the Music Video, 2004.

Guest, "We're Gonna Make Some Celine Dion Money," The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott, UPN, 2005.

Appeared as a guest host, The Source Sound Lab, UPN; also appeared in ABC in Concert, ABC; Direct Effect, MTV; MTV20: Grab the Mic—A Hip–Hop History (documentary; also known as Grab the Mic: 20 Years of Hip–Hop on MTV), MTV; On Tour, PBS; Ride with Funkmaster Flex, Spike TV; and Source All Access TV, syndicated.

Stage Appearances:

(With Leaders of the New School) The Boys Choir of Harlem and Friends Celebrate Harlem (concert), Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York City, 1993.

Radio Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, The Howard Stern Radio Show, 1997, 2001.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

(With Leaders of the New School) Future without a Past …, 1990.

(With Leaders of the New School) T.I.M.E., Elektra, 1993.

The Coming, Elektra, 1996.

When Disaster Strikes, Elektra, 1997.

Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), Elektra, 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) The Imperial Album, Elektra, 1998.

Anarchy, Elektra, 2000.

The Best of Busta Rhymes, Rhino, 2001.

Genesis, Elektra, 2001.

It Ain't Safe No More …, 2003.

Also contributor to albums by other recording artists. Producer of music.

Singles:

(With Leaders of the New School) "The Case of the PTA," 1991.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Sobb Story," 1991.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Classic Material," 1993.

(With Leaders of the New School) "What's Next?," 1993.

"It's a Party," 1996.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (first version), 1996.

"Dangerous," 1997.

"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," 1997.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (second version: world wide remix), featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, 1997.

"Gimme Some Mo'," 1998.

"Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up," 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Cha Cha Cha," 1998.

"Tear the Roof Off/Party Goin' on over Here," 1999.

(With Janet Jackson) "What's It Gonna Be?," 1999.

"Fire," 2000.

"Get Out," 2000.

"As I Come Back/Break Yer Neck," 2001.

"Break Ya Neck," 2001.

"What It Is," featuring Kelis, 2001.

"Make It Clap," featuring Spliff Star, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur," featuring Jamie Foxx, Mo'nique, and Kym Whitley, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur, Part II," featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell, 2002.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Everybody on the Line Outside," c. 2002.

"Light Your Ass on Fire," 2003.

"Shorty (Put It on the Floor)," featuring Chingy, Fat Joe, and Nick Cannon, 2004.

Videos:

Shaft: Still the Man, Paramount, 2000.

Break Ya Neck with Busta Rhymes (documentary), Music Video Distributors, 2002.

Halloween: Resurrected, 2002.

Pimpin' 101, Fatt Entertainment, 2002.

(With others) The Best of the Source Awards Vol 1: Hip–Hop History, DreamWorks, 2003.

The Neptunes Present: Dude … We're Going to Rio! (also known as Dude … We're Going to Rio!), Twentieth Century–Fox, 2003.

Busta Rhymes: Everything Remains Raw, EagleVision, 2004.

The Making of "Love Don't Cost a Thing," Warner Bros., 2004.

Strong Arm Steady, Image Entertainment, 2004.

Music Videos:

(With Leaders of the New School) "The Case of the PTA," 1991.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Sobb Story," 1991.

A Tribe Called Quest, "Scenario," 1992.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Classic Material," 1993.

(With Leaders of the New School) "What's Next?," 1993.

Boyz II Men, "Vibin'" (second version remix), 1995.

Notorious B.I.G., "Big Poppa," 1995.

"It's a Party," 1996.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (first version), 1996.

B Real, "Hit 'Em High," 1996.

"Dangerous," 1997.

"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," 1997.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (second version: world wide remix), featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, 1997.

The Fugees, "Rumble in the Jungle," 1997.

Rampage, "Wild 4 da Night," 1997.

Tracey Lee, "The Theme (It's Party Time)," 1997.

"Gimme Some Mo'," 1998.

"Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up," 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Cha Cha Cha," 1998.

LSG, "Curious," 1998.

Puff Daddy (now P. Diddy), "Victory," 1998.

"Tear the Roof Off/Party Goin' on over Here," 1999.

(With Janet Jackson) "What's It Gonna Be?," 1999.

(As Busta Remo) Rah Digga, "Tight," 1999.

"Fire," 2000.

"Get Out," 2000.

Big Punisher with Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy, Lil' Kim, and Missy Elliott, "It's So Hard," 2000.

Rah Digga, "Imperial," 2000.

"As I Come Back/Break Yer Neck," 2001.

"Break Ya Neck," 2001.

"What It Is," featuring Kelis, 2001.

Missy Elliott, "Get Ur Freak On," 2001.

M.O.P., "Ante Up" (version 2: remix), 2001.

Violator, "What It Is," 2001.

"Make It Clap" (version 1), featuring Spliff Star, 2002.

"Make It Clap" (version 2), 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur," featuring Jamie Foxx, Mo'nique, and Kym Whitley, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur, Part II," featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell, 2002.

Xzibit featuring Nate Dogg, "Multiply," 2002.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Everybody on the Line Outside," c. 2002.

"Light Your Ass on Fire," 2003.

"Shorty (Put It on the Floor)," featuring Chingy, Fat Joe, and Nick Cannon, 2004.

Music Video Director:

(With Hype Williams) "Dangerous," 1997.

(As Busta Remo) "Gimme Some Mo'," 1998.

(With Paul Hunter) "Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up," 1998.

(With Hype Williams) "What's It Gonna Be?," 1999.

Pharoahe Monch, "Simon Says," 1999.

"Fire," 2000.

"Get Out," 2000.

(With Hype Williams) "As I Come Back/Break Yer Neck," 2001.

(With Hype Williams) "Break Ya Neck," 2001.

(With Chris Robinson) "Make It Clap" (version 1), 2002.

(With Chris Robinson) "Pass the Courvoiseur, Part II," 2002.

(With Erik White) "Make It Clap" (version 2), 2002.

Video Games:

Voice of Magic, Def Jam Fight for NY, Electronic Arts, 2004.

WRITINGS

Albums:

(With Leaders of the New School) Future without a Past …, 1990.

(With Leaders of the New School) T.I.M.E., Elektra, 1993.

The Coming, Elektra, 1996.

When Disaster Strikes, Elektra, 1997.

Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), Elektra, 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) The Imperial Album, Elektra, 1998.

Anarchy, Elektra, 2000.

The Best of Busta Rhymes, Rhino, 2001.

Genesis, Elektra, 2001.

It Ain't Safe No More …, 2003.

Contributor to albums by other recording artists. Rhymes's songs have been featured in films, television broadcasts, and video collections.

Singles:

(With Leaders of the New School) "The Case of the PTA," 1991.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Sobb Story," 1991.

(With Leaders of the New School) "Classic Material," 1993.

(With Leaders of the New School) "What's Next?," 1993.

"It's a Party," 1996.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (first version), 1996.

"Dangerous," 1997.

"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," 1997.

"Woo–hah! Got You All in Check" (second version: world wide remix), featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, 1997.

"Gimme Some Mo'," 1998.

"Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up," 1998.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Cha Cha Cha," 1998.

"Tear the Roof Off/Party Goin' on over Here," 1999.

(With Janet Jackson) "What's It Gonna Be?," 1999.

"Fire," 2000.

"Get Out," 2000.

"As I Come Back/Break Yer Neck," 2001.

"Break Ya Neck," 2001.

"What It Is," featuring Kelis, 2001.

"Make It Clap," featuring Spliff Star, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur," featuring Jamie Foxx, Mo'nique, and Kym Whitley, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoiseur, Part II," featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell, 2002.

(With Flipmode Squad) "Everybody on the Line Outside," c. 2002.

"Light Your Ass on Fire," 2003.

"Shorty (Put It on the Floor)," featuring Chingy, Fat Joe, and Nick Cannon, 2004.

Composer; Videos:

Pimpin' 101, Fatt Entertainment, 2002.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 31, Gale, 2001.

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 18, Gale, 1997.

Periodicals:

Entertainment Weekly, December 18, 1998, pp. 40–43.

Essence, November, 2000, p. 67.

Jet, June 12, 2000.

NME, December 13, 1997, pp. 20–21.

People Weekly, July 10, 2000, p. 164.

Source, April, 1996, pp. 54–56; November, 1997, pp. 140–50.

Time, March 2, 1998, p. 87.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rhymes-busta-1972-0

"Rhymes, Busta 1972–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/rhymes-busta-1972-0

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

Rap musician

Without undue humility, Busta Rhymes told the Los Angeles Times, "There's no bounds to rap music, and there's no limits to what Busta Rhymes can express." The unpredictable rapper—who first achieved fame as a teenager in the group Leaders of the New School—leapt into the first rank of hip-hop with his 1996 solo debut, The Coming, and its lead single "Woo hah!! Got You All in Check." Busta's frantic delivery, explosive energy and outrageous attire cut through hip-hop's cool demeanor like a hot knife through butter. And unlike the gangsta-leaning MCs who dominated the first half of the 1990s, he expressed impatience with street credibility. "I don't want to hear about this issue of keeping it real no more," he asserted in a record company biography. "It's all hype. It's time we all saw through it." He later commented to Los Angeles Times writer Cheo Hodari Coker, "I don't just represent a 20-block radius known as my 'hood. I represent the universe."

Busta was born Trevor Smith to a Jamaican mother and U.S.-born father in Brooklyn, New York. He moved with his family to the suburbs of Long Island during his adolescence. While his deep, booming voice comes from his father, the rapper reported to Coker, "When it came down to discipline in my family, the true barker was Moms. That's where my real energetic side comes from." Only after he arrived in "Strong Island," as fellow natives and rappers Public Enemy called the borough, did Busta began to dream of rhyming. "I was mad small," he recollected in Elektra Records press materials, "but I would start entering rap contests, lip synch contests, anything to show my skills." Fortunately, he claimed, hailing from Brooklyn stood him in good stead, since "Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens was where all the good hip-hop was coming from at that time."

Busta was still in junior high school when he hooked up with another rapper, Charlie Brown. The pair eventually caught the attention of Public Enemy leader Chuck D., as well as the group's producers, Eric Sadler and Hank Shocklee. Sadler and Shocklee, known in the rap world as The Bomb Squad, helped the young Busta and his friends to refine their approach. As Busta noted in his bio, "Eric used to repeat this phrase to remind us what to concentrate on: C.L.A.M.P., which stood for Concept-Lyrics-Attitude-Music and Performance. He used to say when you get that down to a science, then you'll be there."

Refining this blend took some time, but Busta, Charlie, and their friend Dinco D. worked hard on their unison raps and choreography. After adding Busta's cousin Custmaster Milo as a DJ, they found their identity as Leaders of the New School (LONS). With the assistance of Chuck D., the quartet landed a deal with Elektra in 1989. The group's debut album, A Future Without a Past…, appeared in 1991 and was hailed by Spin magazine as "high-energy hip hop" that "recap- tures some of the giddy joys of rap." Their 1993 follow-up, T.I.M.E., also enjoyed critical raves. The hip-hop magazine The Source deemed it "a rarity in hip-hop: a sophomore album that's better than the debut," and singled out Busta's work for special praise. "Busta get[s] buttnaked and wild," the magazine proclaimed. "He growls, grunts, chants and basically continues to break all musical rules." According to Coker, "The group brought a lively energy to its shows and recordings by performing singsong routines in unison rather than the normal rap pattern of just one or two main voices. The music was accompanied by lively choreographed stomps." The group also appeared as guests on an album by "Godfather of Soul" James Brown.

Busta has cited as his influences not only old-school funk master George Clinton and rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, but some other figures that are, if anything, even more animated. "Secret Squirrel, Tom and Jerry, Courageous Cat," he enumerated in Spin, also adding other cartoon favorites such as Popeye and Mighty Mouse. He was able to demonstrate the range of his own cartoonish funkateer persona after Leaders took a hiatus in 1993. He put in guest appearances with R&B hitmakers Boyz II Men, hip-hop explorers A Tribe Called Quest, and many others. "The rapper has proved virtual nitroglycerin as a guest star," noted Spin writer Chris Norris. Busta also lent his presence to several films, including John Singleton's university drama Higher Learning and the rap comedy Who's the Man.

Shortly after LONS took a break, Busta—a member of the Five Percent sect of Islam—saw the birth of his son, T'ziah. He dedicated his album to the memory of another, now deceased, son, Tahiem Jr., but has not discussed this loss in the press. He spent the next few years in Brooklyn, experiencing what he described to Norris as "normal, middle-class, standard-living s-t like how I came up." By the time he'd completed his solo album, The Coming, T'ziah was three years old and, according to his proud papa, a delight. "That's the coolest age to be around kids," he told Norris. "They don't bicker, they're not looking for their moms, they just want to chill." It was the arrival of T'ziah, he insisted to Coker, that made his solo project possible. "I would never have done a solo record voluntarily," he claimed. "I love the group, and we're still gonna record albums. But now that I've had the chance to flourish and to blossom, I'm gonna capitalize on the best of both worlds."

Vocal Skills Recognized

Working with a variety of producers, Busta was able to expand his range on The Coming. In addition to the massive hit "Woo hah!!," which was complemented by a frenetic, stylized video that earned heavy rotation on MTV, the album featured "It's a Party," a duet with female soul diva Zhane. Reviews of the album were mixed from a musical standpoint, but tended to celebrate Busta's vocal skills. Rolling Stone magazine complained that "the mixes are simple, droopy and slow," but added that the rapper's "quavering rips and verbal acrobatics liven up the joint." The article concluded, "Despite his musical shortcomings, Busta Rhymes is a master MC and one of hip-hop's most jovial and vivid personalities, whose creativity on the mike may give rap a much needed shot in the arm." Coker found the album "short on deep themes but long on dazzling displays of rhyme skill." He cited the recording as proof "that there are still compelling hip-hop records to be made without dramatic narratives or weighty social politics."

Busta toured behind The Coming in an omnibus rap show that also boasted the Fugees, Cypress Hill, and A Tribe Called Quest. He promised a reunion with his LONS mates before long, but in the short term expressed nothing but gratitude. "Every time my voice is recorded," he told Coker, "I'm extremely happy. Hip-hop is paying my bills and feeding my family."

For the Record …

Born Trevor Smith c. 1972 in Brooklyn, NY; children: T'ziah.

Cofounded rap group Leaders of the New School and released Elektra Records debut, A Future Without a Past…, 1991; appeared in films Higher Learning, Who's the Man, and Strapped, 1992-94; made guest appearances on recordings by A Tribe Called Quest, Boyz II Men, Craig Mack, Bounty Killer and others, 1993-96; released solo debut, The Coming, 1996; appeared on Smokin' Grooves concert tour, 1996.

Addresses: Record company—Elektra Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019; 345 N. Maple Dr., Ste. 123, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

In 1998 Busta Rhymes issued his solo debut follow-up, When Disaster Strikes. The album fared well, reaching number three on the pop charts and number one on the rhythm and blues charts. A concept loosely "framed as a pre-millennium party spinning out of control, sort of like the dark side of Prince's ‘1999,’" according to All Music Guide critic Steve Huey, the album yielded several hit singles, including "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" and "Dangerous." Guest artists on the album included Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and Erykah Badu. Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front) was released in 1998, and featured a guest appearance by Ozzy Osbourne on a remake of the Black Sabbath heavy metal chestnut "Iron Man." In 2000 Busta released Anarchy, which appeared to some critics as a sequel or second disc of material from Extinction Level Event. Whether this assessment was fair or not, such criticism must have stung, leading Busta to veer widely from his previous sound to the uncharted territory of 2001's Genesis. For this album he enlisted the resources of Kelis, Mary J. Blidge, and P. Diddy (nee Puff Daddy), as well as production assistance from Dr. Dre and Pete Rock.

It Ain't Safe No More, released in 2002, was another solid effort, featuring such critically acclaimed songs as "Call the Ambulance" and "What Up." Despite the positive feedback, the album failed to reach the Top 40 of the Billboard album charts, prompting Busta to switch labels for his next effort, The Big Bang, which mostly displayed the artist marking time until his next creative inspiration.

Selected discography

(With Leaders of the New School) A Future Without a Past…, Elektra, 1991.

James Brown, Universal James (appears on "Can't Get Any Harder"), Scotti Brothers, 1992.

T.I.M.E., Elektra, 1993.

The Coming, Elektra, 1996.

When Disaster Strikes, Elektra, 1997.

E.L.E.: Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front), 1998.

Anarchy, 2000.

Genesis, 2001.

It Ain't Safe No More, 2002.

The Big Bang, Aftermath, 2006.

Has also made guest appearances on recordings by Boyz II Men, A Tribe Called Quest, Craig Mack, Bounty Killer, and others.

Sources

Periodicals

Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1996; May 26, 1996; July 25, 1996.

Rolling Stone, May 2, 1996.

Source, November 1993.

Spin, July 1991; August 1996.

Vice, September 1996.

Online

All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com, (November 8, 2007).

Additional information for this profile was provided by Elektra Records publicity materials, 1996.

—Simon Glickman and Bruce Edward Walker

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busta-rhymes-0

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busta-rhymes-0

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

Rap singer

C.L.A.M.P.

Cartoonish Persona

Blew Up with The Coming

Selected discography

Sources

Without undue humility, said Busta Rhymes in the Los Angeles Times, Theres no bounds to rap music, and theres no limits to what Busta Rhymes can express The unpredictable rapperwho first achieved fame as a teenager in the group Leaders of the New Schoolleapt into the first rank of hip-hop with his 1996 solo debut, The Coming, and its lead single, Woohah!! Got You All in Check. Bustas frantic delivery, explosive energy and outrageous attire cut through hip-hops cool demeanor like a hot knife through butter. And unlike the gangsta-leaning MCs who dominated the first half of the 90s, he expressed impatience with street credibility. I dont want to hear about this issue of keeping it real no more, he asserted in a record company biography. Its all hype. Its time we all saw through it. He later commented, I dont just represent a 20-block radius known as my hood, to Los Angeles Times writer Cheo Hodari Coker. I represent the universe.

Bustaborn Trevor Smith to a Jamaican mother and U.S.-born father in Brooklyn, New Yorkmoved with his family to the suburbs of Long Island during his adolescence. While his deep, booming voice comes from his father, the rapper reported to Coker, when it came down to discipline in my family, the true barker was Moms. Thats where my real energetic side comes from. Only after he arrived in Strong Island, as fellow natives and rap revolutionaries Public Enemy called the borough, did Busta began to dream of rhyming. I was mad small, he recollected in Elektra Records press materials, but I would start entering rap contests, lip synch contests, anything to show my skills. Fortunately, he claimed, hailing from Brooklyn stood him in good stead, since Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens was where all the good hip hop was coming from at that time.

C.L.A.M.P.

Busta was still in junior high school when he hooked up with another rapper, Charlie Brown. The pair eventually caught the attention of Public Enemy leader Chuck D. as well as the groups producers, Eric Sadler and Hank Shocklee. Sadler and Shockleeknown in the rap world as The Bomb Squadhelped the young Busta and his friends to refine their approach. As Busta noted in his bio, Eric used to repeat this phrase to remind us what to concentrateon:C.L.A.M.P., which stood for Concept-Lyrics-Attitude-Music and Performance. He used to say when you get that down to a science, then youll be there.

Refining this blend took some time, but Busta, Charlie, and their friend Dinco D. worked hard on their unison raps and choreography. After adding Bustas cousin

For the Record

Born Trevor Smith c. 1972 in Brooklyn, NY; raised in Long Island, NY. Children: Tziah.

Cofounded rap group Leaders of the New School and released Elektra Records debut, A Future Without a Past, 1991; appeared in films Higher Learning, Whos the Man, and Strapped, 1992-94; made guest appearances on recordings by A Tribe Called Quest, Boyz II Men, Craig Mack, Bounty Killer, and others, 1993-96; released solo debut, The Coming, 1996; appeared on Smokin Grooves concert tour, 1996.

Addresses: Record company Elektra Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019; 345 N. Maple Drive, Suite 123, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Custmaster Milo as a DJ, they found their identity as Leaders of the New School. With the assistance of Chuck D., the quartet landed a deal with Elektra in 1989. The groups debut album, A Future Without a Past, appeared in 1991 and was hailed by Spin as high-energy hip hop that recaptures some of the giddy joys of rap. Their 1993 follow-up, T.I.M.E., also enjoyed critical raves. The Source deemed it a rarity in hip-hop: a sophomore album thats better than the debut, and singled out Bustas work for special praise. Busta get[s] buttnaked and wild, the magazine proclaimed; he growls, grunts, chants and basically continues to break all musical rules. According to Los Angeles Times writer Coker, the group brought a lively energy to its shows and recordings by performing singsong routines in unison rather than the normal rap pattern of just one or two main voices. The music was accompanied by lively choreographed stomps. The group also appeared as guests on an album by Godfather of Soul James Brown.

Cartoonish Persona

Busta has cited as influences not only old-school funk master George Clinton and rock guitar icon Jimi Hendrix but some other figures that are, if anything, even more animated. Secret Squirrel, Tom and Jerry, Courageous Cat, he enumerated in Spin, adding some other cartoon favorites: A lot of the old st, tooPopeye, Mighty Mouse. That st just stays on at my crib 24 hours [a day]. He was able to demonstrate the range of his own cartoonish funkateer persona after Leaders took a hiatus in 1993. He put in guest appearances with R&B hitmakers Boyz 11 Men, hip hop explorers A Tribe Called Quest, and many others. The rapper has proved virtual nitroglycerin as a guest star, noted Spin writer Chris Norris. Busta also lent his presence to several films, including John Singletons university drama Higher Learning and the rap comedy Whos the Man.

Shortly after LONS took a break, Bustaa member of the Five Percent sect of Islamsaw the birth of his son, Tziah. He dedicated his album to the memory of another, now deceased, son, Tahiem Jr., but has not discussed this loss in the press. He spent the next few years in Brooklyn experiencing what he described to Spins Norris as normal, middle-class, standard-living st like how I came up. By the time hed completed his solo album, The Coming, Tziah was three years old andaccording to his proud papaa delight. Thats the coolest age to be around kids, he told Norris. They dont bicker, theyre not looking for their moms, they just want to chill. It was the arrival of Tziah, he insisted to Coker, that made the solo effort a necessity. I would never have done a solo record voluntarily, he claimed. I love the group, and were still gonna record albums. But now that Ive had the chance to flourish and to blossom, Im gonna capitalize on the best of both worlds.

Blew Up with The Coming

Working with a variety of producers, Busta was able to expand his range on The Coming. Usually when Im rhyming, reads a quote from his Elektra biography, I only get to rhyme 16 bars. Here I get to show other things. The record is energized on many different levels, including the Busta wild shit. In addition to the masssive Woo hah!!, which was complemented by a frenetic, stylized video that earned heavy rotation on MTV, the album also features Its a Party, a duet with female soul divas Zhané. Reviews of the album were mixed from a musical standpoint, but tended to celebrate Bustas vocal skills. Rolling Stone complained that the mixes are simple, droopy and slow, but added that the rappers quavering rips and verbal acrobatics liven up the joint. He hurdles beats and measures in a single bound. Reviewer Eric Berman concluded, Despite his musical shortcomings, Busta Rhymes is a master MC and one of hip-hops most jovial and vivid personalities, whose creativity on the mike may give rap a much needed shot in the arm. Coker, reviewing the disc for the Los Angeles Times, found it short on deep themes but long on dazzling displays of rhyme skill. He cited the recording as proof that there are still compelling hip-hop records to be made without dramatic narratives or weighty social politics.

Busta toured behind The Coming in an omnibus rap show that also boasted the Fugees, Cypress Hill, and A Tribe Called Quest. He promised a reunion with his LONS mates before long, but in the short time expressed nothing but gratitude. Every time my voice is recorded, he told Coker, Im extremely happy. Hip-hop is paying my bills and feeding my family. Rather than cop an arrogant attitude and mad face, he added, he wanted to emphasize his accessibility: I want the whole world to feel like they can approach and embrace me.

Selected discography

With Leaders of the New School

A Future Without a Past, Elektra, 1991.

James Brown, Universal James (appears on Cant Get Any Harder), Scotti Brothers, 1992.

T.I.M.E., Elektra, 1993.

Solo albums

The Coming (includes Woo hah!! Got You All in Check and Its a Party), Elektra, 1996.

Has also made guest appearances on recordings by Boyz II Men, A Tribe Called Quest, Craig Mack, Bounty Killer, and others.

Sources

Los Angeles Times, April 21, 1996; May 26, 1996; July 25, 1996.

Rolling Stone, May 2, 1996.

Source, November 1993.

Spin, July 1991; August 1996.

Vice, September 1996.

Additional information was provided by Elektra Records publicity materials, 1996.

Simon Glickman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busta-rhymes

"Busta Rhymes." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/busta-rhymes

Busta Rhymes

BUSTA RHYMES

Born: Trevor Smith Junior; Brooklyn, New York, 20 May 1972

Genre: Rap

Best-selling album since 1990: Extinction Level Event (Elektra, 1998)

Hit songs since 1990: "Woo Hah!," "What's It Gonna Be?" (featuring Janet Jackson), "Pass the Courvosier" (with P. Diddy)


Busta Rhymes is notable for his energy and his quirky, superanimated rapping. He is one of hip-hop's most dependable artists, with each of his albums receiving considerable commercial attention.

Trevor Smith Jr. was born to a family of Jamaican roots in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York, a multicultural community. The Smiths moved to Long Island, New York, where young Busta Rhymes met a fellow lyricist, Charlie Brown. They formed a group called Leaders of the New School. The ensemble was considered part of hip-hop's Native Tongues subgenre, an earthy bohemian movement popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band was discovered by the rap supergroup Public Enemy, who agreed to nurture the act after seeing them perform at a talent show. Leaders of the New School expanded to include the rap artists Dinco D. and Cut Monitor Milo, and recorded songs at Public Enemy's studio. They secured a deal with Elektra Records and released their debut album, A Future without a Past . . . . (1991). The album spawned the bouncy hits "Case of the P.T.A." and "Sobb Story," and critics and a cult following of fans hailed them as a refreshing, vital force within the Native Tongues scene. Nevertheless, that album failed to make a dent with consumers.

Although his group's commercial viability was in question, Busta Rhymes was emerging as a superstar. His wild, upward-combed hair and tall, lanky frame created a memorable image. Busta Rhymes's breakout moment occurred
on the song "Scenario" (1991), by A Tribe Called Quest. The song also features Charlie Brown and Dinco D., but it is Busta's closing verse that attracted the fans. Here he debuts his sound-effect style of rapping, somewhere between rhyming and beat boxing, which became his signature. His frenetic flow, coupled with vigorously enacted lyrics like "rroaw rroaw like a dungeon dragon," have made him a unique voice in hip-hop.

Busta Rhymes's rising star did little to save his group's follow-up effort, T.I.M.E. (1993), from obscurity. The group disbanded, and Busta Rhymes embarked on a solo career marked by a flamboyant image. His hair was a fountain of dreadlocks and he dressed in loud, cartoonish costumes. Thanks to another magnetic cameo appearance, this time on the 1995 remix of Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear," Busta Rhymes experienced a resurgence with diehard rap fans. He collaborated with the video director Hype Williams, whose bold treatments emphasized Busta Rhymes's colorful, attention-grabbing style. Busta Rhymes's first solo single, "Woo-Hah," and first solo album, The Coming (1996), were platinum smashes.

Busta Rhymes developed his partnership with Hype Williams, making videos as fast-paced and frenzied as his delivery and beats. Their clips were hip-hop's most inventive. The video "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" received three MTV Video Music Award nominations. The song, from the album When Disaster Strikes (1997), is built on a tribal beat and a clever rhyme sequence, in which the first lines all end with the slang term "yo."

Each of Busta Rhymes's solo albums went platinum, and he recorded a dizzying array of songs with other artists. His biggest collaboration, "What's It Gonna Be?!," with Janet Jackson, is another highlight. The song sold more than 1 million copies, and the high-tech video cost more than $2 million to produce. The album behind it, Extinction Level Event (Elektra, 1998) also includes a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, endearing Busta Rhymes to new rock audiences. His slot on Puff Daddy's 1998 No Way Out arena tour showcased his expressive performing style.

Along with selling records, Busta Rhymes found steady work as a film actor. His first significant role was in the John Singleton movie Higher Learning (1995). He also appeared in Shaft 2000, Finding Forrester (2002) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002). Busta Rhymes started another group, Flipmode Squad, of which he is the lead member, and a record label of the same name.

In 2001 Busta Rhymes severed his long relationship with Elektra and signed to the newly formed J-Records, headed by the music industry legend Clive Davis. His first J-Records release, Genesis (2001), seemed to lag in sales in its first months of release, but thanks to a club remix of the marketing mantra "Pass the Courvosier," featuring P. Diddy, it joined his other albums in the platinum club. His second J-Records album, It Ain't Safe No More (2002), boasts a dancehall-tinged single "Make It Clap" and the smooth "I Know What You Want" with Mariah Carey and the Flipmode Squad.

Unlike artists who need to reinvent themselves over time, Busta Rhymes maintains a formula that remains constant and relevant to his fans. Futuristic and frenetic, his dynamic rapping style pulses with a vitality seldom matched by his peers.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

The Coming (Elektra, 1996); When Disaster Strikes (Elektra, 1997); Extinction Level Event (Elektra, 1998); Anarchy (Elektra, 2000); Genesis (J-Records, 2001); It Ain't Safe No More (J-Records, 2002). With Leaders of the New School: A Future without a Past . . . . (Elektra, 1991); T.I.M.E. (Elektra, 1993).

dara cook

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Busta Rhymes." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Busta Rhymes." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/busta-rhymes

"Busta Rhymes." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/busta-rhymes