LOS ANGELES In the beginning, there was Busta. But he wasn't alone for long.
Jill Scott, Kid Rock, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre and Xzibit are helping Busta Rhymes out with Genesis, his new album due in September.
"I gotta give y'all a superstar-studded event," Busta said Wednesday on the set of his "What It Is" video shoot. "I want to make it a nice package, so that you feel like you're getting so much added value, in addition to the hot sh-- that you get from me."
But Genesis isn't the only big package Busta is preparing his crew, Flipmode Squad, is set to drop The Rulership Movement in November. Busta and members Baby Sham, Rah Digga, Spliff Star, Rampage and Roc-Marciano will be joined by Pink, Slick Rick, MC Lyte, Nas and Snoop Dogg on the disc, Busta said. The crew has about four more songs left to record.
Flipmode Squad also bow in on Genesis, as do Tha Eastsidaz' Kokane and Butch Cassidy, Busta said. Dre produced five tracks on the album, while the Neptunes produced the first single, "As I Come Back."
Busta said the dance-floor bounce number "What It Is," from the compilation Violator the Album: V2.0, sets a tone for Genesis.
"But there's so much more that you're going to get in addition to that, from conceptual songs with story lines sewn in from beginning to end, down to songs that are more personal records, to real-life stories that people can identify with in their day-to-days, and back to the feel-good energy and the bounce in the club."
Rhymes took a break from filming the eighth movie in the "Halloween" slasher series to shoot the video for "What It Is" on Wednesday with director Hype Williams (Will Smith, R. Kelly). Kelis, who sings the song's hook, and Noreaga also appear in the clip, which Busta called "a new-millennium performance video."
The song will segue into Nore's "Grimey," another V2.0 track that was sent to DJs along with "What It Is" and LL Cool J's "Put Your Hands Up." Busta's track was chosen as the first single because it received the strongest response (see "Busta Rhymes Leading Violator 2.0 Charge").
"Busta, being the maniac that he is, was adamant about having the first single from the Violator album, and he went in and did it," said Chris Lighty, CEO of the management company and label Violator. "They're all doing well, but the Busta track is just more club and party-going, so it jumped off immediately."
"The one thing that I've learned throughout my career is the importance of feel-good energy," Busta said of the song. "Sometimes you just gotta give people what they want."
Feel-good energy is not a description that applies to Busta's horror-film role. The rapper plays an aspiring entrepreneur who webcasts a group of college students venturing into the home of mass murderer Michael Myers.
"We don't know that Michael Myers is still living there, and kids get in there and start getting killed and I'm broadcasting it over the Internet, so people think it's part of the show," Busta said. "So when they screaming for help, nobody comes, because they think it's entertainment. I'm the one who goes in there and saves these kids because I'm the only one who knows that this sh-- ain't staged."
Though Busta said his character ends up "getting into it" with Myers, he refused to elaborate. The rapper also gets cozy with Tyra Banks in the Rick Rosenthal-directed film.
"We had a little kissin' here and there it wasn't like we was makin' love," Busta said. "I don't even wanna front like it was. But she is just a beautiful energy; she just feels so great."