TDC’s top 20 albums: #19 The Coming – Busta Rhymes

Don’t be fooled by modern memories of Busta Rhymes siding around on dirt bikes with the Pussycat Dolls, once upon a time he was as underground as the next cat.

And what’s more, he was mental. Truly weird.

After seeing some success with his Brookyln collective Leaders of the New School, Busta went solo in 1993 and put in memorable guest appearances on numerous tracks, such as the Flava In Ya Ear remix in ’94, with Notorious B.I.G making his debut on the same cut. Watch the video. Biggy is coolness personified, Craig Mack is Craig Mack, LL Cool J is awful. Busta? He’s rocking a massive clown hat and steals the show with his bizarre flow.

Fans had to wait until ‘96 for his debut, but when The Coming dropped, it was worth the wait.

The lead single Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check neatly encapsulates everything that a young Busta stood for: hard lyrics, cartoonish beat, insane flow. The remix – not included on the album – features Ol’ Dirty Bastard and sounds like two men competing to be sectioned. It’s wonderful.

However, The Coming is a textured album that explores different aspects of Rhymes’ rhymes. Do My Thing and Everything Remains Raw are the strongest tracks, cool, memorable, hard-hitting. It’s A Party, the second single, is a catchy club cut whilst Ill Vibe and Flipmode Squad meets Def Squad show off quality guest appearances, Q-Tip on the former, with Redman leading Def Jam on the latter.

Easy Mo Bee and DJ Scratch provide beats, although it’s Rashad Smith who takes major props for delivering the jack-in-a-box classic that makes Woo Hah!! a classic.

Unfortunately, a killer collabo with Biggy Smalls – The Ugliest – was cut from the album, supposedly because Big Poppa dissed Tupac in his verse, and Busta didn’t want to get dragged into that swamp.

Nevertheless, as with so many, his career peaked at his first release – or at least that’s what we think at TDC anyway.

When your peak is as good as this though, that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, as this is a record that ages like fine wine.

Now excuse us whilst we lock ourselves in a padded room and stick that Woo Hah!! remix on repeat. Yayaya ya ya.

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TDC’s top 20 albums: #20 Hold it Down – Das EFX

To some, Das EFX will never be anything more than those high-pitched MCs telling Ice Cube to chiggedy-check himself before he wriggedy-wrecked himself.

Those people are missing out.

Rap duo Dray and Skoob dropped their first solo effort, Dead Serious, in 1992, and followed that with Straight Up Sewaside the following year. Both were solid efforts, more remarkable for the pair’s tiggedy-tight flow and the addition of a certain phrase on the end of words – iggedy if you hadn’t guessed.

But it wasn’t until 1995 that Das got the lethal production that they needed to leave a sizeable impression on the mid-nineties. But what an impression it was.

A stellar production team headed by PMD – of EMPD fame – came up with a string of memorable tracks, with DJ Premier, Showbiz, Easy Mo Bee and Pete Rock all laying down beats.

The duo lay down a standard with No Diggedy, the opening track, and maintain it throughout. The fact that Blackstreet stole the phrase and turned it into a pop hit of questionable standard is no testament to the original version.

On first listen, one track smashes the others aside and demands a second listen. Can’t Have Nuttin’, with its powerful beat formed mainly from a bass-voiced bloke’s passionate cry, hits hard enough to send a shiver down the spine, and the political, intelligent lyrics are delivered thoughtfully enough to keep pace with the throbbing production.

On a second pass though, it’s the smooth grooves of Real Hip-Hop, Microphone Master, Dedicated and Ready To Rock Rough Rhymes that allow Das to do what they do best – wriggedy-wreck microphones and keep heads nodding.

Although Hold It Down was a commercial success, it was looked at unfavourably by critics, with criticism levelled at the duos performance in comparison to their first two efforts, with the lyrics being considered less deep especially.

However, here at TDC we think that the adoption of harder lyrics and the all-star production delivered an album not just worthy of note in Das EFX’s own discography, but in the history of the genre.

What can we say. We like to be diggedy-different.