Album: Busta Rhymes

Genesis, J
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The Independent Culture

Busta Rhymes is fortunate that 1998's dismal Extinction Level Event didn't wreak similarly terminal damage on his career. But here he is, two albums later, celebrating his rebirth on the new label started by Arista's founder, Clive Davis, the man who gave the world Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys and, rather more pertinent, demonstrated his formidable ability to salvage dormant careers. Who's a lucky Busta, then? And, certainly, most of the stops have been pulled out to make Genesis a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the likes of Dr Dre, Pete Rock, the Neptunes and P Diddy drafted in to produce – though, oddly, the most impressive productions are buried near the end of an interminable album, with Michaelangelo's monstrous stalking, skeletal funk groove to the Mary J Blige duet "There's Only One" and his bizarre, stumbling piano riff to "You Ain't Fuckin' wit Me". Apart from those, the best track is the single "Break Ya Neck", a Dre production, which finally kicks things into gear a mere 10 tracks into the album: not uncoincidentally, it's the first time here that Busta employs the rat-a-tat-tat rap style on which his career was originally built. As for his lyrics, there are some deft images, such as the line: "Starvin' to where my skin was suffocatin' my ribs", and a few absurdly ambitious rhymes (notably, "zone I'm in" with "Smithsonian"), but overall there's way too much self-serving misogyny and countless shouts-out to the punters of various American locations, each every bit as sincere as the stadium rocker's salutation: "Hello, [your city here]!"

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