NEW YORK — A day after MTV’s 20th anniversary celebration, some people were nursing hangovers, but Busta Rhymes was feeling the kind of pain a cup of coffee wasn’t going to cure.
Apparently old Bussa Bus injured his right leg during the show’s hip-hop medley (click for photos from the event). Gone was his usual regal swagger as he limped badly into Manhattan’s Hit Factory to play his new album, The Genesis, for a small group of guests that included his manager, Chris Lighty, and another of Lighty’s clients, Jo Jo Peligrino.
“I feel so good right now,” Busta said with his usual animation. “This is the first album since the first Leaders of the New School album where I didn’t have to worry about recouping.”
With no debt and a clean slate with his new label, J Records, Busta — whose injury seemed to clear up as he got excited playing his music (at one point he even started running in place and doing jumping jacks) — said he was able to record with a clear head and focus.
“As I Come Back,” which was produced by the Neptunes, features the duo’s space-age funk styling highlighted by a looped bassline that sounds like a tugboat horn. On the chorus, Busta repeats some of his lyrics from his guest spot on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario”: “Ugh, ugh, ugh/ All over the track, man/ Ugh, pardon me, ugh!/ As I come back,” he roars.
He then played three consecutive tracks produced by Dr. Dre, “Truck Volume” (where he professes to be a giant among Goliaths), “Full Moon” and “Break Ya Neck.”
“This sounds like a magic carpet in Saudi Arabia,” Busta said of “Full Moon.” He then began to lip-synch along with the song, on which the words effortlessly flow like water from a faucet.
“Break Ya Neck,” which he said would be the album’s first single, finds Dre trading in his vintage g-funk and experimenting with a more pop sound. “Give it away, give it away, give it away now,” Busta screams, echoing his fellow MTV party performers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on the rapidly paced song before going into a down-South bounce flow.
Other parts of the album find the dreadlocked MC taking it back to the old school: included is a remake of Public Enemy’s “Shut ’Em Down,” produced by Pete Rock.
“I was a fan of this, so I wanted to touch on it again,” he said. “I felt I wanted to give to the new generation that never had the chance to absorb this kind of hip-hop when this kind of hip-hop was bangin’.”
Michael Angelo Saulsberry, former member of the ’90s R&B group Portrait, provided an ’80s-sounding thump to the blatant sex anthem “Hump on You,” which features Sisqó. “Glorify that ass,” Sisqó sings, before asking for an “hour or two” of late-night bumping and grinding from a honey who has to go to work in the morning. Saulsberry produced a yet-to-be-titled track that features Mary J. Blige on the hook. Too bad Cash Money already put out “Get Your Roll On,” because the cut conjures up those feelgood visions of going to the roller-skating rink.
Snoop Dogg’s protégé Butch Cassidy joins in on the Just Blaze-produced “Get Flat,” and Jill Scott lends her soul-touching vocals to the autobiographical tale “Other Side of the Road.” Elsewhere, Kokane asks, “Why you got your ass on your shoulders?” on the song of the same name. Here, Busta, who sang along and did a loose performance of all the songs played at the session, strikes out at girls who act stuck up in the club.
Busta also goes back to his Caribbean heritage on “Nuff Gun Shot,” which was produced by Redman, singing rudeboy melodies, and “Run ’Em Down” is a total reggae song produced by ragamuffin heavyweight Dave Kelly.
It was pretty much a wrap after both of the studio’s speakers blew out. Busta seemed ready to play his tracks all night. He was unabashed at letting his confidence in the LP shine through.
“I’m on my own di–,” he joked. Later he told everyone “I’m sticking around [in the music game], y’all ain’t got no choice.”
The Genesis is slated to drop sometime this fall.