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.   

Georgia v. YSL Day 3: Was the Jury Pool Tainted?

On Wednesday, in the YSL RICO case, the jury were accidently shown by a broadcast camera. That stream was shared by multiple sources and the screengrabs and video quickly made it to social media. Judge Glanville ordered all the attorneys into his chambers after being informed of the error, later then instructing the camera men to only continue recording the audio of witness gang detective Mark Belkap. At one point the live channel of the case just sat focused on a single water bottle as witnesses were examined. Some of the net’s biggest blogs shared the video on their social media accounts, which is call for alarm of tainting the jury in some cases. Judge Glanville just confirmed that jurors were accidentally filmed. — Jewel Wicker (@jewelwickershow) November 29, 2023 Detective Belkap went through an extensive explanation of gang life and culture. Showing the jury the often used “gang triangle” to the jury. The Judge was once again angry with the prosecution as the slide show he used was not turned over to the defense days prior. His testimony consisted of trying to explain how he referred to YSL as “Young Slime Life” and not “Young Stoner Life” the clothing line. Belkap also tried to explain that this was a non-traditional gang and show the difference. He was the sole witness for the day. As far as the jury goes, the worry of revealing the jury to the public are many. One of the worries is that a jury member can be trained or targeted with information, or disinformation, that taints their view of the case one way or the other. Another major worry is that the said juror could be doxxed, and personal information and whereabouts could become targeted, therefore tainting them. As one court reporter pointed out, it could lead to alternate jurors being called to replace someone. We will know more in the coming days. Watch the full stream of today’s case below.  

Georgia v. Young Slime Life: Did Thug’s Lawyer Reveal the Darker Side of the Music Industry?

It’s been over a year since Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney indicted the rapper, Jeffery Williams and his YSL crew for RICO charges in May of 2022 and Monday set the stage for opening statements delivered by the State vs “YSL.” But on Tuesday, Thug’s Lawyer Brian Steel’s opening included strong statements about the music business. Namely how they music industry creates and maintains beefs and personas for marketing purposes.  “You will learn that this is part of being involved in hip hop and rap. There’s all these battles going across social media. It generates interest, much like the NFL has rivalries with the Saints and Falcons,” said Steel. The trial has started off to much controversy Monday as well with Chief Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love. Ironically, Love went the poetic route. She was quoting “The Jungle Book” and attempting to show a parallels of sorts using the “Wolfpack” mentality as fodder. Which ended up being a long soliloquy boasting confidence of the evidence. And there we’re objections. Aside from being accused of showing jurors evidence that was excluded by Judge Ural Glanville, the defense was given more ammo to contest. Love was objected by Steel mid-sentence, for attempting to ‘shift the burden of proof.’ Some have said this will be grounds for appeal should the State still convict the rapper in the long run, as the objection was sustained and further explained by Judge Glanville. Watch the clip below to see the full exchange. The defense also brought up the common distrust of the police and specifically to how “Jeffery” as Steel refers to him, witnessed multiple accounts of police misconduct. Specifically how his family had been mistreated by the police on several occasions. Stating his father was harassed by the police routinely, detailing how his older brother “Beanie” was shot in the chest and his mother handcuffed as they watched him lose his life. Watch more below. Prosecutors were able to get a motion for mistrial dismissed and we’re granted the right to use his lyrics as evidence in the trial. Attorney’s for the other three defendants also gave opening arguments in the hours long court spectacle. Here’s how FOX News Coverage from Atlanta covered the second day’s activities. This case holds an important place in hip-hop, as not only are his lyrics being used but the very culture is on full display, leaving the greater discussion at a crossroads. Do label’s and the industry as a whole generate rap beefs to sell records? Are there street consequences for the marketing approach of the music? This case should keep these topics on fans minds as we watch closely. Watch Meghann Cuniff aka Meghann the Reporter discuss the case live as a guest below.

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