The New Classics

May 16, 2009

Album Review: Busta Rhymes, Back on My B.S.


Coming off of the most complete album of his career in 2006, Busta Rhymes has experienced plenty of label fuckery: Back on My B.S. has gone through 2 years worth of pushbacks, 2 different label deals, 3 different “lead” singles, and several name changes. Regardless of all of this, Busta has remained optimistic, and has consistantly been releasing new music to the internet as possible tastes of the new album. Unfortunately, the best of those tastes are nowhere near the finished product.

Songs like the original lead single ‘Don’t Touch Me Now (Throw the Water on ‘Em)’, Bangladesh-produced ‘I Got Bass’, or more recently ‘Cut From a Different Cloth‘ and ‘Death Wish’ featuring Raekwon are among some of the best tracks with Busta’s name attached since The Big Bang. I’m sure that they all were intended to make the cut, but why didn’t they? You can’t tell me that ‘Arab Money’, one of the more annoying club songs in recent memory (although still one of the least-annoying Ron Browz songs), was better suited for an official release than any of those I mentioned above.

Listening to the album front to back, it’s obvious that Busta was going for more of a club/party atmosphere this go-round. He’s always set himself apart from other rappers in his beat selections, and that’s still true for most songs on Back On My B.S., but ‘World Go Round’ featuring Estelle is a terrible attempt at trying to recreate that torturous Pussycat Dolls song he featured on a few years ago. Or I should say, it’s a pretty successful attempt to recreate a terrible song, because it’s just as bad.

Fortunately, not everything is ‘Arab Money’ and ‘World Go Round’-level awfulness. ‘Give Em What They Askin For’ is actually a pretty hype track, produced by Ron Browz, who’s much better suited to be behind the boards rather than behind the mic. ‘Don’t Believe ‘Em’ featuring T.I. and Akon has an anthemic Rocky-like feel, and would make a huge single release if Universal is looking for another summer hit. And recently released singles ‘Hustlers Anthem 2009‘ with T-Pain, and ‘Respect My Conglomerate‘ with Lil’ Wayne & Jadakiss are both nice enough to hold their weight with Busta’s best works. The rest of the album is not.

Mike Epps isn’t funny enough to make ‘I’mma Go & Get My…’ any good, although points to Busta & DJ Scratch for trying something unique by chopping up a piece of Epps’ standup routine and making it the hook. ‘We Want In’ isn’t as bad as it looks on paper (featuring Ron Browz, Spliff Star & Show Money), but that doesn’t make it very good. ‘Sugar’ is a weaker version of ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’, with Jelly Roll playing the Janet Jackson role – “Here’s the perfect place / for me to kiss and fuck you” isn’t exactly the most subtle, nor cleverly sung hook line they could have used but I suppose it gets right to the point of the song. And ‘Kill Dem’ is every Neptunes song you’ve ever heard from 2003 and earlier, only with Busta rapping in his best Sean Paul accent.

The last standout on the record is ‘Decision’, featuring Common, Mary J. Blige, John Legend & Jamie Foxx. On it, Busta reflects on the killing of his bodyguard, and friendships in general. Amongst all of the “bullshit” songs that the album was named after, ‘Decision’ is the one truely genuine song of the bunch. I’m willing to bet that it was the one cut that didn’t take under fifteen minutes to pen, because Busta gets as deep as he’s ever been:

See when it feels that the sun ain’t shining bright enough,
It’s like the devil’s finding work to give an idler.
And though I’m blessed, I still got a handle on things I go through,
it’s good to have a friend with another perspective to show you.
Someone you know that knows you, that gives you motivation.
Someone that you could go to, and vent your frustrations.
We always talk about our peeps, how we be everywhere.
When you need ’em the most, are they really ever there?
See, everything be all good when we be havin’ fun.
The difference is really needing a friend than having one
It’s good when your peoples are there to help your problems ,
and help you smile about it while finding a way to solve it.

All of this over a silky Mr. Porter and Dr. Dre-laced piano track, with three of the best R&B singers in the world sharing the chorus duties, and Common back on his A-game. If there were more ‘Decision’-calibre songs on Back On My B.S. than ‘Arab Money’s, this could rival The Big Bang for Busta’s best. Regrettably though, the album travels in a different, much easier direction and doesn’t live up to over two years worth of expectations, but in the end still adds up to a decent summer album.

Album: Back On My B.S.
Artist: Busta Rhymes
Label: Universal Motown
Featured Artists: Lil’ Wayne, Jadakiss, T.I., T-Pain, Akon, Pharrell, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Ron Browz, Mike Epps, Jelly Roll, Spliff Star, Tosh, Flipmode Movement, Show Money, Demarco
Featured Producers: Dr. Dre, The Neptunes, Cool and Dre, Ron Browz, Mr. Porter, DJ Scratch, Ty Fyffe, Needlz, Focus, Jelly Roll, King Karnov
Rating: 7.0
Highlights: ‘Give Em What They Askin’ For’, ‘Respect My Conglomerate‘, ‘Hustlers Anthem 2009‘, ‘Don’t Believe Em’, ‘Decision’



  1. Haha, I cosign completely. This was right on the money.

    I can’t stand Ron Brownz tho, in any shape/form…smh… my personal opinion… but i try not to be biased, lol

    Comment by k1ngeljay — May 17, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  2. Oh trust me, I’m with you on the Ron Browz bias. I can’t stand the guy, but he can handle the beat side pretty well. Someones just gotta snatch that vocoder from him so we don’t have to hear that shit anymore.

    Comment by gM — May 17, 2009 @ 11:20 am

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