Ever since his days with The Leaders Of The New School, Busta Rhymes has always been larger than life. He posses a unique combination of raw energy, charisma and a flamboyant personality. Add all these together and you have one of the most dominant figures in the Hip-Hop world today. Busta has always had a savvy technique of being able to reach the pop world with music, while at the same time keeping it real with his roots, the streets. Lately however, Busta's knack for producing solid albums and huge hits has taken a nose dive. Ever since he released "The Coming" in 96', Busta has slowly deteriorated with each release. The final straw coming with the commercial and critical flop "Anarchy". Most thought Busta should take some needed time off so he could regroup after his recent flop and come back with something truly worthwhile. It seemed the Hip-Hop world was getting a little tired with Busta, and his overzealous work ethic saturated the market to excess. But if there's one thing we know about Busta is that he's no conventional emcee. And only a little over a year after his last release, Busta has returned with his fifth album "Genesis".
This time around Busta switched recorded labels, and promised a more consistent effort from his new release. His new goal with "Genesis" was to return to his roots and provide a solid album from front to back. As the hype grew for "Genesis" it looked like Busta was going to return to his old self, and finally learned his lesson that its not about quantity but quality. However, many still questioned Busta's moves and wondered if these proclamations by him were just another unfulfilled promise. After all the hype and speculation, does "Genesis" deliver the experience everyone expected; yes and no.
While "Genesis" isn't a complete return of the Busta of old, it's definitely the closest he's come in years. Even though a change was promised, not much has. "Genesis" is still a typical Busta Rhymes album, no more or less. The production, as always, is the stronghold of the album. This time around Busta adds some more diversity and gathers an assortment of producers from all over the Hip-Hop universe. Besides the production, lyrically Busta hasn't evolved; the formula remains the same. Busta still relies on his energetic personality and ability to make you nod your head to get by. Lyrically nothing will blow you away, but you will be hard pressed to find an emcee more entertaining than Busta.
If there's one thing about Busta that remains constant is his ability to produce great leas singles, and the first single "Break Ya Neck" is no different. Busta literally goes insane over the hyped Dr. Dre produced track. While the production is an unusual step for Dre, it gels perfectly with Busta's rapid-fire flow, and ends up as one of the best Busta tracks in years. Busta goes in an unfamiliar direction with most of "Genesis", calling upon a heavy load in the production area from some of the West Coast's biggest names. Along with Dre, Mel-Man, and Battlecat provide some funky West Coast production for Busta, that truly give the album more of a West Coast Feel than anything. Besides "Break Ya Neck", Dre comes through and produces two more tracks, the lackluster "Truck Volume" and the vigorous "Holla". "Truck Volume" is another unorthodox Dre track, and doesn't seem to mesh well with Busta's style. It's not the typical production you would expect from Dre, and the final results are evident. But Dre and Busta redeem themselves with the banging "Holla". The track is the product you would expect to hear when you combine the two legends.
More West Coast influenced tracks are the Mel-Man produced "Bounce (Let Me See Ya Throw It)" and the Battlecat produced "Ass On Your Shoulders" featuring Kokane. "Bounce" is a vicious track that gives Busta a perfect backdrop for him to do his usual antics. Lyrically the track does nothing, and the hook is thoughtless, but Busta's charisma on the mic puts the track over the top. However, the same cannot be said for the Kokane collaboration on "Ass On Your Shoulders". The production of the track is all over the place, and sounds more awkward than anything.
However, Busta is always at his best when he sticks with the formula that made him a star. This is never more evident than on the two-standout tracks "Betta Stay Up In Your House" featuring Rah Digga, and the remake of the Public Enemy classic "Shut 'Em Down 2002". Busta gathers Pete Rock to truly give the track its original feel, and pays the classic the homage it deserves. More note worthy tracks include the Flipmode collabo "Match The Name With The Voice", the club banger "As I Come Back", "Everybody Rise Again", and the tiresome good verses evil tales on "Bad Dreams"
But what would be a Busta Rhymes album without loads of filler tracks. Even though Busta said he was going to cut down on these types of mistakes, this isn't evident on the final result. Busta looks for the next big hit with the horrendous "Pass The Courvoisier" featuring P.Diddy. This track is a prime example of a forceful effort to rack up album sales, but falls flat on its face. The title track "Genesis" features a futuristic sound, which comes off more unusual than anything. More tedious efforts from Busta are apparent on the laughable "Make It Hurt", "You Ain't Fucking Wit Me", "What It Is" the R&B filled "Wife In Law" featuring Jaheim, and "There's Only One" featuring Mary J. Blige.
In the closing "Genesis" ends up just as every other release from Busta, inconsistent. The album starts off real strong, but towards the end it starts to loose steam and fads into obscurity. Garbage filler tracks consume most of the later part and unfortunately bring down the album and almost overshadow the finer moments seen earlier on the album. If anything its good to see that Busta is still capable of making superb tracks, but putting together a great album from front to back still seems like a problem for Busta. Nevertheless, "Genesis" is still a good album, and is a welcomed change for the most part; however, one cannot overlook its major flaws. In retrospect, if Busta had changed a couple aspects of the album, maybe we would be talking about a different story. Unfortunately, we have to take the album for what it is, and it's a shame we couldn't have a full return of the Busta Rhymes of old, but I guess that would be too much to ask for.