Eight years is a long time for music acts of any genre to go between albums. That is how much time passed between Busta Rhymes’ 2012 album Year of the Dragon and his latest album, Extinction Level Event 2, which was released in October. Considering that almost a decade passed between the records, it would be easy to think that the rapper, a.k.a. Trevor George Smith Jr. would have a tough time getting back in the game. The reality has proven to be the opposite. That is proven without question throughout the course of the 77-minute record in part through its musical content, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content plays its own important part in the record’s appeal and will be addressed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here plays its own important part in proving what make Busta Rhymes’ latest album a welcome return from the veteran rapper. Collectively, they show why the record is a presentation that will appeal equally to Busta Rhymes’ established fan base and rap fans in general.
Busta Rhymes’ 10th full-length studio recording Extinction Level Event 2 is a strong new offering from the veteran rapper that will appeal to rap fans across the board. That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical content. Throughout the course of the record’s 22 (yes, 22) featured songs, Rhymes and his collaborators produce beats and arrangements that reach back to the late 80s and early 90s and even up to the current era of rap and hip-hop. The balance in those vintage and modern sounds throughout will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The arrangement features in ‘The Don & The Boss’ for instance is more an example of the album’s more modern influences. Its keyboards and electronics set against Busta Rhymes’ familiar unique flow collectively makes for a unique presentation that is sure to appeal to audiences. By comparison, the old school throwback to Bel Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison’ in ‘Outta My Mind’ will take listeners back in time in the best way possible. The juxtaposition of that old school R&B sound and the equally old school hip-hop sounds makes for even more appeal here. ‘True Indeed’ is example of the diversity in this album’s musical arrangement. This song’s musical arrangement is pure vintage hip-hop, what with the stylistic approach to its bass line and beats. It is the kind of approach and sound that one would expect from perhaps Public Enemy more so than from Busta Rhymes. It is one more way in which the musical side of Busta Rhymes’ new album proves so important to its presentation. Together with the rest of the album’s musical content, that whole makes clear why this album’s musical content is so important to the album’s presentation. It is just one aspect that listeners will appreciate. Listeners will find the album’s lyrical content just as appealing as its musical material.
The lyrical content that is featured in Busta Rhymes’ new album is almost as diverse as the record’s musical content. There is plenty of decidedly braggadocious material featured throughout the course of the album, which is familiar territory for Busta Rhymes and so many rappers. At the same time, the more socio-politically charged content that accompanies that content adds even more interest to this side of the record. The album opens with Busta Rhymes quoting scripture and noting how it applies to today’s world just as much as that which existed in biblical times. From there, ‘The Purge’ builds on the album’s opener, taking on the Black Lives Matter protests that spread nationwide this year. He goes so far as to say here, “Sorry, country/I know you won’t want this really/But ‘till we get us some justice/We f*****’ every city up/Drastic measures is urgent/The city burn like Philly blunts/Crazy like we jumpin’ off the little yellow mini bus.” He adds later in the song, “You mother******* better listen up/’Cause now we out here fighting for what’s right/Like we don’t give a f***.” There is little doubt as to what he is saying here. Along with taking on politics and current events, Busta Rhymes also comes across as addressing the systemic racism that continues to plague America to this day and its connection to police brutality against minorities late in the album in ‘Freedom?’ He notes here, “Eye for an eye/Knee for a knee/You declared war/’Cause you don’t want peace/You just want sheep/And we are not asleep/Blood on your hands/Blood on our streets/Oh, tears in the night/Another stolen life/’Cause color is all you see/Tell me/Is that free?” This is yet another powerful entry in the bigger picture of the album that will resonate with listeners and another example of the impact of the record’s lyrical diversity, and the appeal of that diversity. When all of the record’s lyrical content is considered along with the whole of its musical accompaniment, the record’s content in whole forms a solid base for the album’s presentation. Resting on that foundation strongly in its own right is the sequencing of that content.
The sequencing of the content noted here does just as much to make the album appealing. The sequencing takes into account, the varied musical arrangements and lyrical content to make sure it appeals to audiences. From start to end, the arrangements keep the record’s energy relatively stable. That applies even as it switches between musical works and spoken word style moments. Even in the moments roughly midway through the album’s run when its energy does pull back, that slowdown is only slight at best. So it breaks things up just enough to keep things interesting at that point. From there on, the record picks itself back up just enough and ensures listeners remain engaged and entertained. That the sequencing divides up the album’s lyrical content adds to the appeal created through the sequencing of the musical content. As already noted, the album takes on some hot button issues at points and also presents some familiar rap and hip-hop fare. Throughout the course of the album, that content never stays the same too long. It changes up just enough throughout the keep things interesting in its own way. The result of all of that sequencing is that the album’s aesthetics prove just as appealing as its content. All things considered, Extinction Level Event 2 proves itself another strong offering from Busta Rhymes that every rap and hip-hop fan will enjoy.
Busta Rhymes’ latest album Extinction Level Event 2 is a powerful new offering from the veteran rapper. That is proven in part through its musical content which gives audiences something old and something new in the arrangements. Sometimes it gives listeners the best of both worlds within one song. The lyrical content that accompanies the songs’ musical content is diverse in its own right, at times giving listeners something light and familiar and at others, taking on some very serious topics. The sequencing of that collective content puts the finishing touch to the album, making sure the record never gets too monotonous at any point. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album a work that holds its own well against its counterparts in this year’s field of new rap and hip-hop albums. Extinction Level Event 2 is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Busta Rhymes’ latest news at http://www.facebook.com/bustarhymesworldwide.
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