Album Review | Busta Rhymes – Back on My BS

Since Busta Rhymes is dropping his long awaited sequel to Extinction Level Event on Friday, I figured I’d try to catch up on the rest of his catalogue ahead of time. Anyway, this album was released on May 19th back in 2009. I’m gonna be completely honest; I’m expecting this one to be a dud. I remember when the lead single was all over the radio, and I was in utter disbelief. That song is an embarrassment, but I’ll get to that later. Aside from that song, a quick peek at the feature list does little to instill hope. I’m just gonna try to get this shit over with as quickly as possible.

Holy shit that was bad… Alright, let’s do this. The album begins with a disgustingly lame skit in which a choir sings the words “Back on my bullshit” to the melody of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. So, right off the bat, he’s hitting us with borderline Hopsin-levels of cringe. Not a good sign. This intro transitions into the first actual song, Wheel of Fortune. The production from DJ Scratch isn’t completely horrible, but it’s just bizarrely underwhelming. To be completely honest, I don’t even think Busta’s rapping is particularly horrible on this song. His voice sounds oddly raspy, but I’d say the verses themselves are tolerable. It’s really the hook that ruins this song. I mean, the song would be mediocre at best otherwise, but that hook is what makes it wack. It’s got this weird DeBarge sample, along with a Slick Rick-esque vocal clip of a woman saying “behind the wheel of fortune,” and it just sounds fucking dumb. It’s annoying as shit too. The beat is also really skeletal for whatever reason. It sounded fine to me at first, but as the song progressed and I listened to it more closely I literally said “this is it??” out loud. Busta Rhymes has never really been a superb lyricist, but even for him some of these verses feel underwritten.

The fire gon' burn, I'm shifting the climate 
Quiet, and if you wan' test what I'm on, bitch, I wish a nigga try it
UH, UH, UH, I mentioned that I'm back to cause the riot
Got drugs, and I come to supply it
HUH HUH, you niggas on a diet
You can't stop it when I drop, you know you can't deny it
My homeboy you know that I'm a cook and I'ma fry it
While I'm countin' this money and I hide it

Neither of the verses are very good. Even his flow kinda left something to be desired to be honest. I think the song is terrible. The saddest part is that this is one of the most tolerable songs on the album. It’s followed by Give ‘Em What They Askin’ For, which is absolutely horrible. This song is frankly unlistenable. It has one of the worst hooks I’ve ever heard from Busta Rhymes, and I already knew the beat was gonna be rough when I saw the Ron Browz placement. I feel like everything that dude ever touched aged worse than Macaulay Culkin, maybe with the exception of the Ether beat. Even that beat sounds pretty dated though. I guess the Ebonics beat is still pretty solid. Anyway, this beat in particular sounds like the gaudiest shade of silver imaginable. It makes me feel like I’m snorting glitter, and not in a good way. I refuse to believe Ron Browz was sober when he made this beat. This literally sounds just as bad, if not worse than that beat Cassidy got roasted for at the beginning of the year. I feel like this isn’t a real Busta Rhymes album. This is like if his character from The Boondocks, Flonominal, dropped an album.

This album really feels like a parody. He used the term “swagtastic” at one point during the second verse. He really just sounds like an old ass dude who has no idea what the fuck he’s doing, but is trying his best to fit in with the younger generation. I’m getting ahead of myself. This track is dogshit, so let’s move onto the following song, Respect My Conglomerate.

This song is fucking awful. The hook is so fucking stupid. I cannot believe how dumb this hook is. How can anyone take this shit seriously? These motherfuckers really thought they were the shit. They must have been absolutely fucking wasted when they made this song. Either that or they were high out of their fucking minds. The hook is performed by some random ass woman with a British accent named Debby Coda.

Since we are the best, and you agree with me, right?
No need to debate, the way we run shit
See, we're kind of like the government
So just respect my conglomerate

The Focus… production is the only decent aspect of the song. The beat just gets annoying by the time the track is over. I guess Busta’s performance is pretty much on par with what we’d come to expect from him at this point. The hook is easily the worst facet of this track, but none of the verses are anywhere near good enough to save it. I guess Lil Wayne‘s verse was more tolerable than I was expecting it to be since it came during a major low point in his career. Jadakiss easily had the best verse, but that’s not really saying much. Just to be clear, I don’t think the actual rapping here is trash. However, everything else about the song is fucking unbearable. I think it’s pure dogshit. It’s followed by one of the slightly more listenable tracks on the album, Shoot for the Moon. I think Busta Rhymes’ hook is fine, but the beat here from Danja is just so fucking ugly. I feel like if Frankenstein’s monster was a producer this is the kinda shit he would make. That’s really this song’s most detestable quality. The actual rapping from Busta Rhymes is fine. His flow, rhymes and delivery were entertaining enough. The content didn’t interest me much, but I wasn’t expecting it to pull me in in the first place. Nothing about the song is particularly good, and the beat is really difficult to stomach. I think the song’s terrible honestly. It’s followed by another relatively—emphasis on relatively—decent song called Hustler’s Anthem ’09.

This track isn’t as much of a head-scratcher as most of the others. I see what they were trying to do. I just don’t like it. T-Pain managed to deliver maybe the second-most tolerable hook on the album. It’s not good, but it kinda works I guess. It’s nowhere near as memorable as an All I Do Is Win or Got Money, but it’s not unforgivable. I can listen to it and not want to die. I definitely don’t enjoy it though. The production from Ty Fyffe doesn’t sound as cheap as most of the other beats, but it’s just not particularly enjoyable to me. This sound just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Same goes for Busta’s rapping. The content can basically be boiled down to this: “I’m a really cool guy, and everyone who’s ever around me is always having an amazing time.” I just find it boring to be honest. I think the song’s wack. However, it’s a goddamn masterpiece compared to the following track. Kill Dem is easily one of the worst songs I’ve heard all year. The beat isn’t particularly good, but it’s probably the best aspect of the song. I don’t think this is the first time Busta Rhymes has rapped an entire song in a Jamaican accent, but that’s never really something I enjoy. That hook though… Oh my fucking god. The hook.

SO FUCKING BAD. I have heard nearly every Tech N9ne album, but this is one of the worst hooks I’ve heard in my life. I don’t know who the fuck Tosh Alexander is, but I hope I never hear from her ever again. This hook also helps to solidify my disdain for Pharrell. I get that he’s a legend, but his persona just disgusts me. Ever since he said that dumbass “new black” shit I’ve known he’s a fucking idiot. Don’t even get me started on his fetishization of wealth and capitalism. This song is fucking unforgivable, much like that recent Entrepreneur song he did with Jay-Z. This is fucking dogshit. The next track is Arab Money.

I’ve been dreading this moment ever since I began this marathon. I didn’t get super into Hip Hop until around 2010, so this track along with Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now was my first impression of Busta Rhymes if I’m not mistaken, and I was absolutely disgusted. Even if this song wasn’t bizarrely racist, it’d still be unlistenable. The gaudy production along with the cacophonous hook—Ron Browz is responsible for all of it btw—makes it one of the ugliest songs of Busta’s career. It’s seriously a stain on his legacy. I fucking hate Ron Browz, man. He’s a disgusting artist. Everything about this track, even the music video, comes off like a parody. I think it’s absolute dogshit. Imagine throwing your Busta Rhymes playlist on shuffle and going from Just When You Thought It Was Safe… to this. Yikes. Anyway, the 8th song—goddamn, we’re only halfway done?—is called I’m a Go and Get My…, and it features an incredibly annoying and painfully unfunny intro from Mike Epps. I don’t know why, but whenever rappers get comedians featured on their albums it always ends up sucking ass. I’m getting flashbacks to Chris Rock’s annoying ass feature on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The way Mike Epps’ voice is sampled throughout this song is interesting. I’m sure some listeners would use the word “creative” to describe it. Personally, I would use the word “stupid.” It’s fucking stupid. And annoying. And I hate it. This beat is ass. The only aspect of this song I can kinda get behind is Busta’s flow. He maintains a pretty smooth cadence throughout each verse, which is nice. The song just feels really trashy though. I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like this is a McDonald’s-quality song. Maybe it was cool when the album came out, but this shit sounds like absolute garbage these days. I think it’s terrible. However, the following track, We Want In, is so much worse. Ron. Mother. Fucking. Browz. This man should be convicted of a war crime for this hook. I don’t think that man is human. He sounds more like a malfunctioning android than a real person. I feel like this is what it would sound like if I forcibly drowned R2D2. King Karnov provided one of the more tolerable beats on the album here. You may have noticed that I’ve been using that word “tolerable” a lot in this review. That’s because that’s as good as it gets. At no point is this album genuinely enjoyable. At best, it’s inoffensive. At worst, it makes me want to inflict physical harm upon its creators. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is one song that I liked, but we’ll get there soon enough… Anyway, the first and second verses come from Busta Rhymes & Spliff Star respectively, and they’re… tolerable. However, the closing verse from Show Money is fucking awful. When I heard that autotuned “suwoo” ad-lib… I… I wanted to turn the album off. This song is dogshit. The following track isn’t any better. It’s called We Miss You, and it features some rando named DeMarco as well as Jelly Roll. Once again, the autotuned hook makes me wish I didn’t have ears. There are only so many ways for me to articulate how bad something sounds, so you’ll have to forgive me if I start to sound like a broken record at some point. There’s nothing that could’ve saved this song though. The production is just really shitty, and the autotuned hook is unbearable. Busta’s rapping is… I mean, everything else is so bad that I didn’t even want to hear him rap to be honest. There’s just some shit that you shouldn’t do. They shouldn’t have made this shit. It’s so bad. I mean, if for whatever reason Busta Rhymes decided to go back and remove the hook, and replace the beat with a genuinely fantastic instrumental, then sure, I’d probably fuck with the song. I just can’t get passed the awful sonic landscape though. This shit is impossible to stomach. This is nowhere near the wackest song on the album though, which is the saddest part. You remember how much I hated Kill Dem? I don’t even think that’s the wackest song. Nah… The wackest song is called Sugar. I knew this track was gonna be rough before the beat even dropped.

Hey baby
Put your hand on my heart
Tell me if you ever felt a heartbeat like this

This is the obligatory sex jam, and it’s fucking unlistenable. How can anyone listen to this shit without barfing? It’s fucking vile. Why would anyone listen to this song?

I wanna taste your body, I wanna taste your face
Wanna taste your breasts, taste below your waist
*slurp* That's some of my many wishes
Fresh out the bubble bath, girl, you taste so delicious

Pressing play on this song is like signing up to be sexually harassed. I don’t know who I should be more displeased with between Jelly Roll and Busta. This might actually be the worst song Busta Rhymes has ever made. I get that 2009 was a horrific year for music, but it’s crazy to me that we just let this happen. This is fucking dogshit. The next song is called Don’t Believe ‘Em. I was actually surprised by how well this track turned out. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the song is terrible. I just thought it was gonna be a lot worse. I always hated Akon‘s voice, but compared to Ron Browz he sounds like Donny Hathaway. I also really wasn’t into T.I.‘s Paper Trail album, and he was getting ready to drop his No Mercy project at this point, which is widely regarded as one of his worst albums. I think the production from Cool & Dre is relatively good, but it’s just not really my style. This sounds like one of those motivational Eminem songs that could’ve been on Recovery. I really don’t think there’s a better comparison. It just sounds so stereotypical. I guess it makes sense that they got Paper Trail-era T.I. for this track. I think this shit is terrible though. You know shit is bad when Akon is the best part of your song. The penultimate track is called Decision, and it’s easily the best song on the album without question. This is the only one that I would ever even consider returning to. The jazzy production from Mr. Porter is genuinely fantastic to be honest. I even think the sung hook from Jamie Foxx is really great. He actually got a different singer to do the hook every time it occurs in the song. Jamie Foxx goes first, then Mary J. Blige, and then John Legend. I actually think Busta Rhymes’ rapping here is pretty nice too. He was able to pull off a believable love song, which was nice. I think it’s pretty romantic.

Even though we probably link up every now and then
With minimal convo, look, it's really good to see you, friend
Something I realize is that I don't even have to mention
Is whether or not you got me, that's something that I never question

I probably would’ve appreciated this song even more if I hadn’t had my heart broken recently, but that’s just how life is I guess. The final verse from Common is great too. I can’t think of a more fitting rapper he could’ve had featured on this track. I mean, Q-Tip would’ve worked well too, but Common was perfect. I genuinely think this song is dope. However, the closing track unfortunately is not. It’s called World Go Round, and it features more production from Jelly Roll, as well as a sung hook from Estelle.

The song is trash. In fact, part of me wants to say it’s one of the worst tracks on the album, but it’s kinda hard to go that far when it’s competing with Sugar and Kill Dem. It’s awful though. It’s basically an EDM x Hip Hop crossover. I don’t even wanna say anything else to be honest. It requires no further explanation. Nothing about it is even remotely enjoyable to me. What in fuck’s name is this Flo Rida type production? Nah. I’m done with this fucking album, man. This shit is trash.

This is one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard in my fucking life. Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened? It almost feels like he couldn’t have made a worse album if he tried. Most of the material here is just confusingly awful. I was absolutely bewildered by most of the production choices. One of the songs was just flat out racist as shit, and another one was straight up creepy. Most of the production is super gaudy and distasteful, and at no point does any of the experimentation go over well. He sounds completely out of his element all over this record. He sounds like he had no idea what the fuck he was doing and he was holding on for dear life. He needs to get Ron Browz all the way the fuck outta here too. Almost every artist Busta Rhymes worked with on this record failed him. These beats are garbage, and the hooks are fucking disastrous. This album is a fucking catastrophe, and I hope he never comes close to releasing anything as abysmal as this. It’s fucking garbage. This shit is wack af. Avoid it all costs.



Grade: L


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