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Music / Busta Rhymes

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Busta Rhymes (real name: Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., born May 20, 1972) is an American rapper. He is known for his distinctive style that combines rapid-fire delivery with a Reggae-influenced flow, gonzo humour and Large Ham tendencies.

Named after Vikings wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes by Chuck D, Busta was born in the East Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York to Jamaican parents. He was part of rap crew Leaders of the New School while still in high school; he first entered the hip-hop mainstream by appearing on A Tribe Called Quest's posse track "Scenario" from The Low End Theory (known these days as the verse that inspired Nicki Minaj's "dungeon dragon" hook).



With Leaders of The New School:
  • A Future Without A Past (1991)
  • T.I.M.E. (1993)

Solo Albums:

  • The Coming (1996)
  • When Disaster Strikes... (1997)
  • E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front (1998)
  • Anarchy (2000)
  • Genesis (2001)
  • It Ain't Safe No More... (2002)
  • The Big Bang (2006)
  • Back on My B.S. (2009)
  • Year of the Dragon (2012)
  • Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (2020)


  • Surrender (2004)
  • The Countdown to The Big Bang (2006)
  • I Bullshit You Not (2009)
  • Catastrophic (2012)
  • The Abstract and The Dragon (2013, with Q-Tip)
  • Catastrophic 2 (2014)
  • The Return of the Dragon (The Abstract Went on Vacation) (2015)


Woo-Hah!! Got these tropes in check:

  • Attention Whore: Was considered this by fellow Leaders of the New School member, Charlie Brown, which eventually led to the group's disbandment.
  • Badass Baritone: Funny enough, when he isn't gutturally growling in his verses or smoothly flowing, his natural speaking voice is pretty deep...and a bit raspy.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The skit at the end of "Do The Bus A Bus" on the Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front features a scout master who refuses to play Busta Rhymes for the scouts. He doesn't notice the grizzly bear sneaking up behind him until it's too late, despite warnings from the scouts.
  • Boastful Rap: A lot.
  • Concept Video: "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" is based on the first part of Coming to America, while "Dangerous" is based off Lethal Weapon(and a bit from The Last Dragon). Part of "Pass the Courvosier" takes a scene from Rush Hour 2.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: His albums When Disaster Strikes and Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front (and its 2020 sequel) deal with apocalyptic themes.
  • Freestyle Version: He does freestyle versions a lot, for instance over such songs as Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" and "Poetic Justice" and Drake's "Best You Ever Had".
  • Glam Rap:
  • Guttural Growler: One of his most distinctive traits is his gruff delivery whenever he flows on the mic. Even his natural speaking voice has a little rasp to it.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: TMZ covered this aspect of him twice, once with him in a rage against a gym owner, then one where he nearly got into a fight with a fan.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With producer Swizz Beatz.
  • Large Ham: Busta Rhymes is one of rap's shining beacons of ham-ness.
  • Motor Mouth: For a recent example with radio airplay, check his verse on Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now". His fastest rhyming is on E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event), specifically his collaboration with Mystikal, "Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin' Rowdy Wit Us?"
  • Ode to Intoxication "Get High Tonight", Busta's love letter to smoking weed.
  • Overly Long Gag: The intro to Extinction Level Event, "There's Only One Year Left!!! (Intro)", has a long monologue wherein Busta recounts what will happen after The End of the World as We Know It in increasingly comical detail (and in a voice that gradually becomes an evil growl).
  • Rap Rock: "This Means War!!!"—which samples Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"—and "We Made It" with Linkin Park.
  • Sampling: "Touch It" famously sampled "Technologic" by Daft Punk.
    • The chorus of "Dangerous" samples the first four lyrics from "We're Not Candy", a 1983 Long Island Regional Poison Control Council Public Service Announcement warning children that pills are not candy.
    • "Gimme Some More" samples part of the soundtrack from the original 1960 version of Psycho.
    • "Woo-Hah! Got You all in Check" samples Galt MacDermot's "Space". And you know this because the album precedes the track with nearly half the piece.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Him stepping into the spotlight and gaining more exposure than his bandmates are the primary reasons why his group Leaders Of the New School broke up in the 90s.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: His infamous track "Touch It" is built around this premise. He'd do four bars in a relatively low tone, then (TURN IT UP!), suddenly he's practically yelling his lines in your ear before switching back...and on and on it went. Taken Up to Eleven with the remix with basically EVERYONE on it.
  • Supergroup: A member of the influential Native Tongues collective, alongside his former LONS bandmates, though they're considered fringe/peripheral members by the core members.
  • Vocal Dissonance: At least back then, where his gruff vocals were an anomaly to his rail-thin physique. Nowadays, he's got the body to match his vocals.
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: Downplayed. He is of Jamaican descent and sometimes works this in his raps, but not to the degree of others.


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