Busta Rhymes makes the best hip-hop party record, no competition. When I'm at a club and "Whoo-Hah," "Pass The Courvoisier" or "Touch It" comes on, it gets crazy. Even if you can't dance, you want to get on the floor.
I am content with Busta making these songs for the rest of his career. He's that good at it.
Since this has been Busta's approach for nearly 20 years, I was completely shocked when I heard "We Made It" with Linkin Park. There are a lot of curve balls here: It's a rock track, uses a slower tempo and is inspirational. It's not what I was expecting.
Actually, it reminds me of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." Like "Lose Yourself," it feels like it could work well on a movie soundtrack. I give Busta props for taking the artistic risk and switching up his game.
What's most interesting is the timing. Recently, Busta appeared to be on his typical course. The tentative album titles floating around were the usual hip-hop fare--Before Hell Freezes Over and Back To My Bullsh*t. But with the new direction of "We Made It," comes a new album title, I'm Blessed.
When listening to the "We Made It"'s introspective lyrics that celebrate overcoming adversities, I have to wonder about Busta's motivation. He's been through a lot over the last couple years. The murder of his former bodyguard Israel Ramirez in 2006 while on the set of the "Touch It (Remix)" video shoot and various troubles with drunk driving and assault charges must have had an impact on "We Made It" and the I'm Blessed album title.
Let's see what else he has to say on the album and if his fanbase is open minded enough to embrace this new sound. I get the impression that the I'm Blessed is going to feature a lot of his signature style, so I'm not expecting a complete departure.
His last two albums, 2006's The Big Bang Theory and 2002's It Ain't Safe No More, each only achieved gold sales status. Especially in these days of declining record sales, 500,000 albums sold is not enough to keep a major label record deal.
It is a good time for Busta to try a new approach, and he did it the smart way. Teaming up with Linkin Park was a good move, and the song is solid, even though it's not a party record. Plus, I'm always good for a message. Hip-hop could use one.