Everyone out there just has to admit it. It’s more fun to read a scathingly critical review than a “best episode ever” one. OK, maybe not, but my friends, you’ll have to cut me some slack for sitting through the latest from Busta Rhymes.
Busta is one of the most colorful and charismatic rappers in the game and has just begun to scratch the surface of his crossover appeal. He’s done the MTV Music awards with Martha Stewart. He has his own fashion line. He’s had bit parts in a few TV sitcoms. He cut a promo with The Rock on an episode of Smackdown! He even received top billing in Halloween 37 last summer.
Perhaps Mr. Rhymes should focus more on the music. It Ain’t Safe No More follows hot on the heels of his last album Genesis. While Genesis felt like full-length block party and spawned the smash hit single Pass The Courvoisier, this time around, Busta slows down the pace of the beats and regresses about 10 years in his lyrical evolution.
Your call, y’all. Do you want to start with the bad or the really bad? What Do You Do When You’re Branded violates Rule #11 of basic hip hop: Song titles can’t be longer than six words. It also swipes some sort of wagon train rallying cry for it’s awful hook. The next track Call The Ambulance teases with it’s Neptunes-produced beat, but the song isn’t about anything. It does contain one of those laughably embarrassing lyrics that you’ll want to listen to a few times (“I’m cream cheese/with the English muffin!”). In Busta’s defense, it was someone from his Flipmode Squad who spit that gem. Even the CD liner notes don’t (won’t?) identify who the culprit was, though.
Busta manages to ruin another solid beat on the succinctly titled We Goin’ To Do It To Ya. The Megahertz lay down a funky, start-and-stop drum, which Busta lyrically slows down on. Inexplicably, he decides to scream out the hook, which completely kills the track’s vibe. Even the album’s first single, Make It Clap, which features a Rick Rock beat, falls flat as Busta mails in his effort to reach out to the clubs (however, the remix is included as a hidden track and succeeds because of the inclusion of Sean Paul).
In all fairness, Hop is a very good track that is helped by Swizz Beats production, a solid hook and some Busta lyrics that don’t deal with sex or braggadocio. While Struttin’ Like a G.O.D. leans heavy on the narcissism, it has a tongue-in-cheek appeal to it that makes it work.
Still, even when Busta finds some more serious subject matter like on The Struggle Will Be Lost he compromises it with a hook that is apparently on loan from Gilligan’s Island. Let’s not even mention the handful of unfunny skits. One of which riffs on the “Trojan Man” condom commercials and another one covers the old theme from first Ghostbusters movie.