Album Review: Blockbusta – Is Busta Rhyme’s Latest Effort a Classic?

When Busta Rhymes dropped Extinction Level Event 2 in 2020, he hadn’t dropped an album in 11 years. He doesn’t make fans wait long as he drops Blockbusta just three years later. The Long Island legend really mastered the ceremony with this release, as he delivers a thoughtfully laid out project with all the best aspects of his style. This project really embodies that title, as Busta brings us perhaps his most cohesive project if not the most refined version of him.  One of the most debated topics in hip-hop, particularly about rappers is, do they have a classic album? Busta is one of those golden-age artists this is debated about. Now his last project E.L.E.2 certainly satisfied the hip-hop enthusiasts with boom-bap heavy tracks and vintage feel but, it left some area to be gained with mainstream stay. This latest release feels like it could be the answer to all those questions and possibly his most solid project ever.  The show starts fast, no long skit or drawn out intro Busta gets straight to it 15 seconds into “The Statement,” and it feels like he hears the chatter too. Rapping double-time like he’s late to a meeting, Busta reminds those hating who he is. The track is a great intro and sets the bar for the project. “Remind ‘Em” featuring Quavo keeps the pace high, and fits well as a second track. Of course Busta switches cadences and has some signature ad-lib breakdowns, while the track feels big and regal, definitely a bop for the ride.  You know Busta always is going to hold down New York, as BIA stops through on “Beach Ball,” but the project really turns up with Young Thug’s appearance on “OK.” Cool and Dre heavy synth-trappy production slides hard with the two MCs on the forth track.  The vibes continue on with the unique voice of  LA’s Blxst over a western feeling guitar-riff on “Could It Be You.” The stripped production of the track highlights the best of the calculated rhymes of Busta as he spits, “Give you the semi, question if you gonna keep it tucked?/When I’m in my struggle/ I question if you gonna keep me up.” The track feels like a Tarintino flick with Young Bleu playing the twist, adding a smooth flavor to the second verse.  Still no skits. No skips. “Luxury Life” is a playful song and memorable hook as Busta Does his best Four Tops delivery of an interpolation of “Ain’t No Woman.” It serves two useful purposes, reaching a younger audience with the assistance of Coi Leray, and satisfies the Hip-hop purest monster with the production at this point of the album, a win-win. T-pain and DaBaby assist on “Big Everything” relying on a resampled version of UGK’s “So Throwed.” If you can get past the first 30 seconds of DaBaby or enjoy him, this song really slaps, especially in the low bass category.  This is where the project really turns up, Burna Boy really brings the vibes up with “Roboshotta” as Busta embodies one of the best versions of himself in his rudeboy flow. “Tings” really gives DJs a afro-beat infused club joint that works so well. “The Return of Mansa Musa” showcases Busta on a golden throne of percussion, Swizz Beats cooks up with MJ interpolation that falls into a rhythmic genre blending treat. Still No Skips. JNR CHOI stops by to assist “Stand Up” with the unique use of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” chopped into a Soca-esch dance blend, which is pleasantly received. The most experimental song so far. Busta is like a gracious host showing us his house, as he welcomes Shenseea and Chris Brown next for a smooth ride on “Open Wide.” Then goes into braggadocios classic Busta with “Hold Up.” The beat is playful and memorable. “Hive”‘s melodic piano hypnotizes as Busta drops back into rudeboy mode with Giggs, switching the energy and “Homage” featuring Kodak Black brings us back to the streets amping up the energy. Still no skips! Morray soothes and croones with the auto-tune assisted “Legend,” while Slide goes into a Mystikal sample before a piano driven instrumental send off. A strange but cool juxtaposition of tracks.  “Legacy” delivers so well as a segway into a smoother vibe and the guest deliver memorable spots, as Busta drops into his cool low baritone voice.  The final track features Big Tigger, bringing everyone back to “The Basement,” as he interviews Busta Bus about the state of the game, but does at time come off as campy during his parts. The choir backed track, is a nostalgic flashback at the legacy of the MC and his answer to all the questions about his place in hip-hop. It’s hard to place the classic label on things as they drop, but purely on first listen, there are no skips on this project. Hip-hop purists might have a more critical view of this project, as the project sounds very commercially strong, but again, you want boom bap Busta, go listen to E.L.E.2. Rating 9/10 Favorite Song: Roboshotta – This thing just go. Least Liked Song – Big Everything – DaBaby just kind of sounds like he does … on everything.   

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