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.