BY ELI KABERON
One of the many things I love about rap game are the personalities that participate in it. I have no clue if they’re authentic or just show business gimmicks, but things like Rick Ross acting like a mafia don, Waka Flocka Flame seeming batshit crazy, Redman being the most hilarious stoner ever and Lupe Fiasco’s constant awareness for how the government – and his record label – have wronged him are just awesome to me. The old joke is that all country singers do is write songs about the lady who left them, their truck and their dog. Nobody could generalize rappers like that because there are countless different verities of what an MC looks, sounds and acts like.
One MC who is definitely out there is Busta Rhymes. He hasn’t had a hit song in a while, but his late-90’s catalog is pretty impressive. With long braids, a super-fast delivery and an off-the-wall personality, Busta always put on good shows during his music videos, usually dressing up in wacky outfits that complimented his up-tempo songs perfectly. He’s also one of the few rappers in the game who destroys every remix and guest spot he’s on, putting out several A+ verses in that category. Like an Andre Iguodala or Morgan Freeman, Busta Rhymes isn’t the best main attraction, but he’s really good as a supporting player.
(Editor’s note: Busta kills in concert as well.)
Of all the great verses he’s dropped, I think his first breakout song contains his best 16 bars. As the last verse on the last song of the amazing 1991 album The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes steals the show with his insane lyrics and rapid fire flow. Considering how good both Q-Tip and Phife Dawg are on the song, for Busta to steal “Scenario” based mainly on his personality shows how talented he really is.
Album: The Low End Theory
Artist: A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School
Verse: Fifth (Busta Rhymes)
Watch, as I combine all the juice from the mind
Heel up, wheel up, bring it back, come rewind
Powerful impact BOOM! from the cannon
Not braggin, try to read my mind just imagine
When diggin into my library
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!
Eating ITAL stew like the one Peter Tosh-a
UH uh UH, all over the track, man
UH, pardon me, UH, as I come back
As I did it yo I had to beg your pardon
When I travel to the sun I roll with the squadron
RRRRRROAW RRRRRRROAW like a dungeon dragon
Change your little drawers cause your pants are saggin
Try to step to this, I will twist you in a turban
And have u smelling rank, like some old stale urine
Chickity-choco, the chocolate chicken
The rear cock-diesel but chicks they were kicking
Yo, bustin out before the Busta bust a nut the rhyme
the rhythm is in sync (UHH!) the rhymes are on time (TIME!)
Rippin up the sound just like a radio
Observe the rhyme and check out the scenario!!
*chorus starts* Yeah, my man motherfucker!
You can’t help but pause, rewind and laugh as this verse plays over and over. You also can’t help but try to mock the sound effects and echoes Busta uses during this verse. With an amazing ability to go from subject to subject as he goes line from line, the versatility on display here is outstanding. The verse is really just saying that you need pay attention to what he’s saying, but in the most hilarious and awesome way possible.
But my favorite part of this verse is just how little break there is from start to finish. A lot of times when a rapper is getting a guest spot on a big-time album, they’ll play it safe, not trying to show up the main attractions. Not here. Busta starts the verse at 500 miles per hour and finishes at the same speed, shredding through syllables and words like they are construction paper. He emphasizes his powerful impact with the BOOM, repeats words or phrases when needed and just turns the entire song on its head with so much energy.
The personality Busta Rhymes created made him seem like a kind of weird dude who didn’t really understand all the bizarre music he was creating. However, I think it all started with “Scenario” and that Busta knew exactly what he was doing. He may never have had a hit album or anything like that. But verses like this show exactly why rap music is so damn great.