Hip-hop Media training

Busta Rhymes’ ‘Arab Money’ Resurfaces After Controversy Calms

Hip-Hop Media Training

The video for Busta Rhymes' "Arab Money" is now officiallyavailable online.

Yes, I know it's been on BET and YouTube for months.

Of course the BET version was always official. The other,not so much.

I raise this point because when I contacted UniversalRecords in November to get a copy of the video for Yahoo! Music, Busta was inthe midst of controversy over the song which offended Muslims in the US and UKfor misrepresenting the Middle Eastern culture, mixing sacred verses from the HolyQuran with secular hip-hop beats and rhetoric. I was told that the video was notbeing serviced at the time.

Over the last month, blogs addressed the controversy andBusta was even quoted in a few, expressing his sincere apology to those heoffended.

There was so much outrage in the UK that popular Galaxy FM DJ Steve"Smooth" Sutherland was suspended after listeners complained about him playingthe song.

A Dubai-based rapper Narcicyst got Busta's attention when hereleased his explosive response record "Real Arab Money" that opens calling Busta'sversion racist, claiming that the celebrated veteran rapper had not done hisresearch and was even pronouncing Arab incorrectly.

In "Real Arab Money" the 26-year-old rapper said thatpronouncing Arab as Ay-rab is the equivalent of calling an African-American then-word. While Busta's song compares his hip-hop lifestyle to that of Arabian royalty,Narcicyst stressed that the analogy is off base because all Arabs are not rich.

In an interview on rapsearch.com, Narcicyst said that afterhe put out his song, Busta contacted him. "He called me personally and said hewanted to tell the Arab and Muslim community that he apologized," Narcicystsaid. "He said he was grateful for their reaction and he would take whateversteps were required to clarify the situation. "

Narcicyst appreciated Busta's sincerity and was glad that theAmerican rapper who is of the Muslim faith himself planned to pull the track.

While online promotion of the "Arab Money" had been on hold,this is no longer the case. Last week, a label branded version of "Arab Money" beganshowing up on sites, including this one. But it appears to be the same versionof the video. The video version has always had an amended chorus featuring thecorrect pronunciation of Arab. However, featuring a brief disclaimer would ahave been a good idea.

So what prompted the re-release?

Has Busta done enough damage control and effectivelycommunicated to the Arab and Muslim communities the message that there was nodisrespect intended with the track and has since received their blessing tofully distribute the video?

Did Busta just let the controversy calm enough so that hecould take full advantage of an otherwise great, graphics-enhanced video with arguablymore A-list cameos than any other video of the past year? Are the multipleremixes with Diddy, Bow Wow, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Akon, T-Pan, SwizzBeatz, Ron Browz, Lil' Wayne, etc. too good to toss, controversy or not?

Or has Busta just received enough support from fans whounderstand that he meant no ill will and was merely doing the ultimate hip-hopmetaphor, bragging and boasting about experiencing all things lavish?

I think it's a bit of all three scenarios.

However, we have to keep in mind that this is his firstsingle from his new deal with Universal Motown, following his exit fromAftermath/Interscope last Spring. He needs to take advantage of the hype, andthe track is hot.

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