About three years since his last release The Big Bang, Busta Rhymes is “back in the most immaculate way” as he would say. Back On My B.S. is Busta’s eighth official album release to date since The Coming back in 1996 and as the album title would suggest, this is Busta getting back to his old ways on the microphone that we’ve grown to love. Originally scheduled for release back in 2007 under the title Before Hell Freezes Over, lets see if it was worth the wait and anticipation.
1. Wheel Of Fortune (Intro)
Produced by DJ Scratch
After a humorous introduction to the album in opera fashion Busta wastes no time getting right into it. The mid-tempo, stutter step beat is produced by the legendary DJ Scratch who provides a backdrop for Busta to let listeners know who they should be putting their money on when it comes to the rhymes. Busta interpolates Slick Rick’s “Mona Lisa” and Grand Puba’s “I Like It” into the chorus for nice results. This introduction track or “sound check” as Busta puts it is a nice start that leaves room for more intense tracks to follow.
2. Give Em What They Askin’ For
Produced by Ron Browz
Picking up the pace of the album after the introduction track Busta enlists auto-tune producer/rapper Ron Browz for a beat to get things moving. Browz provides Busta with a beat that is banging but sounds average at best and too similar to other Browz beats. I’m not exactly sure if this is the song everybody was asking for as Busta implies in the chorus it won’t be getting much play from me listening to this album. This is an average track that could have been much better given what we have previously heard from the Busta/Browz pairing.
3. Respect My Conglomerate
Featuring Lil’ Wayne, Jadakiss, & Debbie Coda; Produced by Focus…
After a minor step back Busta gets back on track with this one, which is the album’s third single. Busta recruits Weezy and Jada as guests on this track over a pounding, menacing beat provided by Focus. All three emcees do their thing on the track and give you enough reasons as to why you should respect them and their organizations. I must say that I liked this version of the song with Wayne better than the bonus track version with Jeezy on Jada’s The Last Kiss. The Chris Robinson directed video for this song is a nice complement to the song, check that out too.
4. Shoot For The Moon
Produced by Danja
On this track produced by Danja, Busta gives us rhymes about shooting for the moon and stars. This track is a nice follow up to the previous single as it keeps things moving along. It’s not one of Busta’s best tracks, but it’s pretty good for what it is and might be motivation to some in its meaning.
5. Hustler’s Anthem ‘09
Featuring T-Pain; Produced by Ty Fyffe
Busta turns it up with this Ty Fyffe produced track featuring every artist’s go-to-guy for chorus and singles, T-Pain. This track, which was the album’s second single, is about hustling just as the title suggests and stands to be this year’s anthem for hustlers alike. Busta comes correct with his rhymes pertaining to the song’s topic and T-Pain delivers a trademark chorus as only he can. I’m not too sure if it’s good enough to be labeled an anthem for hustlers, but it’s a pretty damn good track I just don’t know if it will be as known with hustlers as songs like “Can’t Knock The Hustle” or Ross’ “Hustlin’”.
6. Kill Dem
Featuring Pharrell & Tosh; Produced by The Neptunes
This is an interesting track to hear from Busta as it definitely goes left from what we’re used to hearing from him. The Neptunes produced track hears Busta spittin’ with reggae accent (What have you started Em???) about what he does with the tools when in his grip. Tosh sounding like an exercise instructor and Pharrell assist Busta on the chorus that doesn’t sound all that great. In my opinion I could say that about the entire song in that it doesn’t sound that good and sounds like Busta is reaching. A Busta/Neptunes collaboration should have been much better than this. This sounds like a sound more suited for Pharrell with Busta guest featuring than a Busta Rhymes song.
7. Arab Money
Featuring Ron Browz; Produced by Ron Browz
This is a song that everybody should be well familiar with by now as it was released last November. This track served as the first single for the album and when it came out was the joint to play. From the term “arab money” to the song’s dance it saw the return of Busta Rhymes to the music scene and came at a time when Ron Browz was starting to take off after “Pop Champagne”. Now half a year later this song just sounds dated in listening to it and doesn’t have the same effect or flare that it once did. It’s a bangin’ joint, it’s just well past its time listening to it at this point. At this stage they could have replaced it or included one of the song’s remixes that was released. I’m surprised they had the original version on the album given all of the controversy that occurred from the song.
8. Imma Go & Get My…
Featuring Mike Epps; Produced by DJ Scratch
Wow, this track could have really been left on the cutting room floor instead of being included on the album. Mike Epps wasn’t the best feature on this track with the numbers being called out and that stupid part he does at the end of the chorus. It gets annoying that they left that part going throughout the song and the beat provided by DJ Scratch isn’t one of his best by far. Busta does his thing as usual with the rhymes and goes hard despite the weak production provided. This song could have been done a lot better but since it wasn’t it will be a track that will be skipped most of the time.
9. We Want In
Featuring Ron Browz, Spliff Starr, & Show Money; Produced by King Karnov
This track stands to be the posse cut of the album featuring the members of Busta’s Flipmode family. I understand what they were going for with this track as it talks about how it’s Flipmode’s turn to shine in the industry, but the results come out poorly. King Karnov provides a good beat for Busta to spit some good rhymes, but Spliff Starr and Show Money get outdone ultimately. This dude Show Money really needs to stop with the Wayne/Jeezy impressions he does on this track with his ad-libs, it’s really not a good look for him at all. This song could have also done without the auto-tune chorus provided by Ron Browz, didn’t even really fit good with the track. I know he’s trying to sound different with his auto-tune, but it’s the same damn thing and it just needs to die quickly.
10. We Miss You
Featuring DeMarco & Jelly Roll; Produced by Needlz
After an average track Busta doesn’t really provide anything much better on this next track. Needlz provides some average production as Busta spits about how he stays reppin’ the streets and the hood no matter where he is. Some more auto-tune chorus is featured on this track (enough already!!!) as it sounds like someone doing a Sean Kingston impression with failing results. Like I said this track is really average at best as the topic is cliché and has been done many times before and better than this.
Featuring Jelly Roll; Produced by Jelly Roll
Busta decides to slow things down on this track with one that aimed towards the ladies attention. Jelly Roll does a nice job in multitasking as he provides suitable production and a chorus to match the topic and feel of the track. Busta delivers some rhymes that fit comfortably on this track and have good results overall. This is a nice track that the album hopefully continues with for the rest.
12. Don’t Believe ‘Em
Featuring Akon & T.I.; Produced by Cool & Dre
Continuing with the current trend started by Just Blaze and T.I., this is one of those motivational songs in the likes of “Live Your Life” and “All The Above” (the beat even has similar elements/chord progressions to those songs). This is song is good especially with the feature of T.I. and Akon providing the chorus, but unfortunately this type of song has been before most recently and better in my opinion by T.I. and Maino respectively. It’s still a good song overall and recommended to take a listen to.
Featuring Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, & Common; Produced by Mr. Porter
I remember reading the album review for this album in last month’s issue of XXL where it says this was perhaps one of his best songs yet. After listening to this track I can agree that it is one of Busta’s best retrospective type tracks and he does it in a great way with this song. Mr. Porter provides some very mournful, somber production on the track as Busta talks about the past decisions that he’s made in his life whether they were for the better or not. The inclusion of Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, and John Legend on the chorus elevates this track even more. It sounds like they interpolated Musiq Soulchild’s “Just Friends (Sunny)” in the way that the chorus is sung. Plus Common dropping a memorable guest verse, it’s good to hear the classic Common that we all love on this track and not the more recent UMC Common. This stands as one of the best track on the album and is one that everybody can relate to not matter what he or she has been through in life.
14. World Go Round
Featuring Estelle; Produced by Jelly Roll
Speaking of Universal Mind Control, this track has the very same feel of a song that could have been featured on that album. From the up-tempo beat produced by Jelly Roll (not the West Coast flavor we’re used to from him) to the robot-sounding chorus provided by Estelle, Busta takes a page out of Common’s book for this song. In that essence this song doesn’t fit Busta at all and once again sound like he’s reaching. I don’t think this song should have ended the album, as “Decision” would have done that perfectly. This song really didn’t need to be included at all as it doesn’t sound like something we would expect to hear from Busta. I guess it might get play in some clubs by a DJ mixed with some Dance/Techno, but it won’t get much play from me. Nice interpolation of Eric B. & Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul” on the track opening.
After 14 tracks, which is plenty nowadays in terms of album lengths, Busta has returned to the music scene in a strong way. There are a good 5 really strong tracks on this album, but at the same time there were more weaker/throwaway tracks included that could have been done much better. It’s those weaker tracks that ultimately hold the album back from being a much better return album rather than a just slight above average album. Busta took some steps forward in his music with tracks like “Decisions” but more steps back with tracks like “Imma Go & Get My…” that make this album not better than his previous efforts. In my opinion I don’t think this album is better than his last album The Big Bang as that album had so many consecutive strong tracks like “New York Shit”, “Touch It”, “You Can’t Hold The Torch” and “Don’t Get Carried Away”. There were only about one or two tracks that kept that album from being labeled a classic as opposed to Back On My B.S. which has too many tracks that you have to skip over to get to the good ones. Overall this is a slightly above average album from Busta Rhymes with some good songs to enjoyed along with some bad songs to be skipped. But I think this album ultimately shows that Busta really doesn’t have much more to prove in the industry in showing why he’s one of the greatest of all-time behind the mic and why people should recognize that by now. Busta Rhymes is most likely one of your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper and his 10+ year career definitely displays why. Pick up this album and support Busta as he’s one of the few high caliber rappers left in the industry opposed to this new generation coming in.
nappyPicks: “Decision”, “Sugar”, “Arab Money”, “Hustler’s Anthem ‘09”, & “Respect My Conglomerate”
Download: Busta Rhymes feat. Big Tigger – “If You Don’t Know Now You Know”