The first song on this album isn't pulling any punches: "Ready for Busta Rhymes," they harmonize, "he's the one we've all, been waiting for, forever."
Really? That's news to me. Sure, I like the animated motherfucking maniac of rap as much as the next man. In fact, Trevor Smith (that's his real name y'all) was even pretty good as the shit-talking rasta Rasaan in John Singleton's 2000 update of the film "Shaft." Props are due; Busta has come a long way since the days he rocked it with Leaders of the New School.
Taking up acting as a hobby is no excuse for an inconsistant album though. Busta has always had crazy wild energy in his flow and delivery and this album is no exception - what is severly lacking is quality of beats. On a 12 track album this might not be problematic, but it's quite tedious over 22 cuts. Songs like the Jay Dee produced "Enjoy Da Ride" and "Live it Up" are musically functional but not at all exciting. Giving a charismatic rapper an uncharismatic track is a quick recipe for disaster - Dee should have saved these tracks for Slum Village.
Scott Storch (of The Roots fame) fares better with "Bladow!!" as do the (until now) unknowns Just Blaze and Nottz on "Street Shit" and "Get Out" respectively. These are the kind of tracks that compliment Busta Rhymes perfectly: pounding basslines that encourage Busta to up his venom and delivery to where he "won't even let you niggaz finish a fuckin sentence" when he's gripping the M-I-C. This is exemplified by Large Professor's dope RZA-esque "The Heist"; and while it's no surprise that Raekwon and Ghostface would rap on the track it is surprising that Busta would steal the show. Guest Flipmode newcomer Rocky Marciano can't hold a candle to ANY of these MC's and sounds very out of place.
Throughout the album continues to be plagued by one moment having clever songs with nice beats such as "A Trip Out of Town" and the M.O.P. energized "Ready for War" and then let down by such tinny and pitiful offerings as "How Much We Grew" and the surprisingly lethargic "Why We Die" which fully manages to waste the all-star talents of Jay-hovah and DMX; their cameo raps just can't save the wackness of P. Killer's Trackz (pun DEFINITELY intended).
This may be the album Busta Rhymes' true fans have been waiting for forever, but hip-hop heads will be more inclined to ask why Bust-a-Bus didn't offer a shorter album of higher quality instead of a longer one with too much filler.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: July 10, 2000