[artist id="1043"]Busta Rhymes[/artist] doesn't just carry his BlackBerry with him for business e-mails; he looks at it from time to time for support too.
Bus has a plethora of e-mails from fans in the Arab culture supporting his song "Arab Money." "I carry them with me every day," Busta told MTV News.
Busta recorded the smash during VMA weekend in September. It was crunch time for the nearly 20-year vet. He needed some heat to play for the head of his record label, Universal Records, in an effort to secure his latest deal.
"I didn't really know what he was saying," Busta said about producer Ron Browz's chorus on the song. Rhymes originally got the track with just the beat and the hook. "I called him on the phone. We were going shopping for the awards. I was riding around, and we were playing the beat over. I wanted to know what he was saying. [Ron] picked up the phone, and I was like, 'What are you saying on this joint?' I thought it was saying 'Maybach Money.' 'Maybach' or 'Arab' — it kinda rhymed. I needed confirmation."
When Browz explained to Busta that he was, in fact, saying "Arab," Busta was elated.
"I was like, 'This is genius,' " he said. "Just the timing of this. The fact that the recession was crazy. Fortune 500 companies left and right are needing bailouts. I was like, 'You ain't hearing none of that going on with none of the people in the Arab community or Arab culture. None of that.' I was like, 'You know something? This is a great record to inspire people to incorporate wealth in their vocabulary, because rich has become the new broke.' 'Arab Money' — it felt right. Let's take something from a culture that has exemplified the rich qualities of spirituality and economic and financial stability for thousands of years. They've instilled that in their kids for thousands of years."
Although the song immediately took off in the clubs, Bus felt the backlash. Some media outlets and fans accused him of making fun of the Arab culture. He even heard the song being labeled as racist.
"It didn't hurt me, because I leave room for error, and I understand what happens in misunderstanding," Bus said. "It would have hurt me if people would have understood clearly the agenda of the record and still hated on it. That would have been a little different. But I feel a lot of people who had issues with it, they just misunderstood. Even those people, I hope they got a chance to see or get a chance to see what my real intent was and still is — that they got a different level of appreciation."
Although it has its detractors, the song has grown in radio spins in recent weeks while still maintaining a firm status of success in the streets. Busta carries various e-mails in his BlackBerry from Arab fans who wrote to him in support of the record.
"It's a reminder that many people did understand what the intent is," he said. "I want people to know I acknowledge their support. This has been embraced globally."
Busta has been doing a lot of embracing locally, in his hometown of New York. He spearheaded a remix of [artist id="508501"]Q-Tip's[/artist] "Renaissance" with Raekwon and [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist], connected Ron Browz and Capone-N-Noreaga for the song "Rotate," coerced Lil' Cease to record his own version for "Letter to Big" and is still executive-producing Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. The just-released first track from that album, featuring [artist id="1215"]Ghostface[/artist], is called "Criminology 2009."
"Me and Raekwon are like brothers. I'm one of the biggest
[artist id="1025"]Wu-Tang[/artist] fans in the world," Bus explained. "I felt like the Cuban Linx real estate in the landscape in the hip-hop culture was very valuable real estate. What Ghost and Rae has done, their chemistry together affected me emotionally."
Busta's Back on My B.S. is slated for March 24.