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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)
  • The Fuse is Lit (2022)


  • 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.
  • 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 and his own hype man Spliff Starr.
  • Important Haircut: Famously chopped off his iconic dreadlocks in 2005, rocking the short Caesar haircut ever since (pictured above). Thought he did try to restart his dread journey several years later, it was short-lived.
  • Large Ham: Busta Rhymes is one of rap's shining beacons of ham-ness. Even when simply doing a laid back interlude on someone else's album, his instincts will inevitably take over; as evidenced by his appearance on Mary J. Blige's "Intro Talk", where he goes into ham mode twice, despite trying to remain calm:
    "So just chill, and like, check it out... cause I’m gonna go wild
    And do it like this, and like that
    I flip on the rhymes, show indeed that Busta Rhymes be
    wildin!" (Evil Laugh)
  • Mid-Vid Skit: The "Dangerous" video, a Whole-Plot Reference to Lethal Weapon, takes a break after the second verse so Busta can do his impression of Sho'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. Then Riggs(also played by Busta) fights with Sho'Nuff during the chorus.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: During the intro of "Break Ya Neck", Busta raps "Give it away, give it away, give it away now".
  • 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.
  • Surreal Music Video: "Gimme Some More" is gangsta-centric take on old 1930s-1940s cartoons with lots of Fish-Eye Lens, weird costume and background designs, and even visible freeze-frames at the end of each shot of Busta to add to the clusterfuck.
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: “Light Your Ass On Fire” (his collaboration with Pharrell Williams, who coproduced the track with Chad Hugo as The Neptunes). Unsurprisingly, he goes up to eleven with the similes and comparisons, even dropping in a reference to Willona and Thelma.
  • 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.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The "Dangerous" video is this to Lethal Weapon.