I’ve never been one for long-winded introductions. The name is JFK. You may remember me from such award-worthy productions as A Day At The KING Office. Yes, that was a real interview*. Yes, I got the job. No, you can’t borrow a pencil. Now, back to the matter at hand: the unveiling of KING-Mag.com’s all-things-music blog, Hearing Aid. As KING’s resident earlobe to the streets (and the leaks), I’ll be emceeing, separating audio treats from sonic cyanide in my own smart-ass manner. Peep here for perspectives on the latest tunes, sneak peeks, and sleepers to add to your iPod. Think I’m out of my mind? Call me on itâ€”I’m looking forward to sparing with you punks in the comments.
One cat I’m definitely not trying to lock horns with, though, is Busta Rhymes. I came to that realization Wednesday night, dwarfed by his football-player frame as I dapped him entering Platinum Recording Studios in Midtown Manhattan to hear his near-finished eighth LP, Back On My B.S. But Trevor’s stature isn’t what made me apprehensiveâ€”it was the potential of a letdown. See, I’d heard an earlier version of the project back in April ’08, when he was still calling it Blessed. The album wasn’t perfect, but it packed heat like oven doors, and would be hard to top. So I was antsy Wednesday, slumped on a black leather couch as he played a mostly new-to-me collection of songs that still bumped like pre-Proactiv Diddy. Here are some of the notes I jotted on the
iPhone iPod Touchâ€¦
“I’ma Go And Get Mineâ€ Feat. Mike Epps
–This is a groovy jointâ€”it’s about dudes who talk tough at the club and end up getting stomped out by the end of the night. Mike Epps does some hilarious shit talking, along with a vocal snippet from one of his movies (I’ve been sworn to secrecy by Busta, since I was the only one in the room who recognized the clip. Sample issues.) All I can say is “45, 47!â€
“Kill Themâ€ Featuring Tosh
–Like the Mike Epps track, this was also a survivor from the Blessed sessions. Produced by Pharell, the backdrop is upbeat and fun, inspired by Wu-Tang’s “Shame On A Nigga.â€ Busta rhymes in Jamaican throughout. Will raise so many lighters, Brooklyn will look like it was hit with a Cali wildfire. Busta’s fishing for an unreleased ODB verse to throw on here. Someone get Kardinal on the horn for the remix!
“Hustler’s Anthem 2009â€ Feat. T-Pain
–Still not sure how I feel about this. Gotta admit, it’s kind of catchy. Hollow percussion and grave strings courtesy of producer Ty Phyffe. This reminds me of something Nate Dogg would’ve sung over in his heyday. Decent, but nothing outstanding.
“How You Really Want Itâ€
–Busta rocks a stop-and-go flow over a dope, ground-shaking beatâ€”thumping bass, kicks and snares. Sounds like some Transformers shit. He’s clearly having fun on thisâ€”after the first two lines (You niggas know my angle/when I rip stuff in the Phantom I’m a cocker spanielâ€) he laughs at himself on the track. “I was drunk as hell when I did that song,â€ he says.
“If You Don’t Knowâ€ Feat. Big Tigga
–For those who forgot how Big Tigga used to murder his guests in the booth on Rap City: The Bassment, here’s a reminder. Ill conceptâ€”Bus and Tig go back and forth in interview format, with Busta addressing speculations like his alleged steroid use, his slain bodyguard Israel Ramirez, cutting his dreads and rumors of a Mrs. Jones affair (“I can’t remember exactly but I used to ride through her hood/and break her off all hours of night, thought the pussy was good/that was 15 years ago, shit, I can’t imagine/she’d remember that a nigga made a mean egg sandwichâ€). HA!
“Respect My Conglomerateâ€ Feat. Jadakiss and Young Jeezy
–The hard, collar-popping street single that’s been lighting up the â€˜Net for the past few days. Graced with resounding hand claps and subtle keys and chimes. Something about this is underwhelming, but at least he’s not on that Autotune shit again.
“We Want Inâ€ Feat. Ron Browz, Spliff Starr and Show Money
–Wooow! A Spliff Star sighting! Busta’s got good taste in beats. This one’s produced by this cat from Chicago, King Karnov. “Ether Boyâ€ croons with Autotune a la “Arab Money,â€ “Pop Champagneâ€ and every other song he’ll do this year. Decent stuff. You’ve got to wonder if Spliff named this record himself.
“Don’t Believe â€˜Emâ€ Feat. T.I. and Akon
–T.I. goes in over Cool and Dre’s backdrop. Busta tells us this his “Superbowl songâ€ and admits to rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles after the Giants’ demise, despite calling Donovan McNabb a “big-faced bitch.â€ **Agrees** then **Dies**
“Decisionsâ€ Feat. Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, John Legend and Common
–This the album’s gemâ€”the one track I preyed he’d keep on the album. Mr. Porter’s lays rhythmic hi hats and kicks, laced with piano keys. Ultra soulful, super introspective. Apparently, it’s his thank you to Mary for holding him down after his man Israel was killed, and everyone who heard it wanted to jump on it. Just listen.
–At the Blessed session, Busta played a song called “Bus Stopâ€ that embodied the vintage, apeshit Bus-A-Bust of years past. That one didn’t make the cut (y’all lost!), but this is the next best thing. Here, Busta has that fun, party vibe. DJ Scratch killed the beat. Pretty sure this is when he brought out the Grey Goose, because I’ve only got like two lines of notes. Daahh, wellâ€¦
“Please Gimme More Ammoâ€ Feat. Uncle Murder and Red CafÃ©
–The nostalgic, “New York stand upâ€ cut. This one loops EPMD’s “Please Listen To My Demo.â€ Uncle Murder blacks out on this one, but unless they can clear the sample for cheap, it’ll likely become
mixtape NahRight fodder.
[Edit: Song just hit Nah. Did I call it, or what?]
“Arab Moneyâ€ Feat. Ron Browz
–Surely you’ve heard this by now. Not sure which is sillier, the song or the dance.
He played a couple more tracks I don’t feel like writing about, but that’s the gist. Moral of the story: Album cuts > singles. B.O.M.B.S. > Blessed. Album’s more solid than Metal Gear. Busta did it again. Drops March 24. Thoughts? Anyone psyched about this?
* Would’ve had a tighter ‘cut if the interview were real. Never mind the half-nekkid ladies.