With 17 years under his belt, Busta Rhymes is by far a veteran in the hip-hop industry. That being said, there was a certain level of excitement in the air as a small group of folks gathered at Platinum Studios in Midtown Manhattan eagerly waiting to hear the new material from his eighth studio album, Blessed, in stores and online July 1st.
The guests in attendance chitchatted and helped themselves to plenty of delicious food and top quality drinks. Busta was amped and occasionally surveyed the room, making sure that everyone was taken care of and having a good time. The legendary DJ Scratch was amongst those present for the occasion. He received a warm introduction from Busta, who acknowledged the vital role Scratch has played in his career, having a hand in the production of every Busta Rhymes album to date. Producers Sean C and LV of Grind Music also made an appearance; the two are behind the production of Busta’s explosive single, “Don’t Touch Me (Throw Da Water On ’Em).”Â
Before the listening session began, Busta addressed the audience by discussing the trials and tribulations he has endured and its significance in the making of the album. “I valued what I had to say more than any other time,”Â he stated. He also gave thanks to the powers that be for getting him through the past two years of turmoil. “The most high put his hands on me and I’m blessed.”Â
Rap-Up.com had the opportunity to take an exclusive first listen to nine tracks on Blessed.
1. “We Made It”Â featuring Linkin Park
Produced by Cool & Dre
This song is very different from Busta’s usual sound. It has more of a rap/rock appeal. The accompaniment of Linkin Park adds a powerful guitar and keyboard element. The song talks about overcoming obstacles and emerging victorious. Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, sings the chorus: “Together we made it, even though we had our backs up against the wall.”Â This song drives home the theme of the album, which is probably the reason why it was chosen to be the lead single.
2. “Kill Dem”Â
Produced by The Neptunes
On this track, Busta brings it back to his Jamaican roots by rhyming in patios throughout the entire song. You can’t go wrong with a little Jamaican style swagger from Busa Buss.
3. “Blown”Â featuring T-Pain
Produced by Cool & Dre
This track is a radio friendly club anthem waiting to be unleashed. The song features T-Pain, who’s everywhere, but hopefully people will still be able to listen with a fresh ear. Busta’s delivery is strong and although this song is fun and high energy, Busta also uses it as another moment to reiterate his desire to be understood and appreciated. He reveals his true intentions by saying, “I don’t have no malice in my heart, I just want you to appreciate me.”Â
4. “Decisions”Â featuring Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, & Common
Produced by Dr. Dre
This song was inspired by a conversation Busta Rhymes had with Mary J. Blige during the time period of his legal troubles. Mary expressed her support for Busta and reached out to him. This song is an appreciation for those who have been there through his struggle. It features an all-star team of artists, which all add to the beauty of the track. It is an absolutely necessary addition to the completion of this album. The track ties together the themes of triumph by recognizing that it all would not be possible without the support of true family and friends. Busta expresses this by saying, “How you hold me down is something I genuinely value.”Â
5. “Right Now”Â
Produced by Dr. Dre and Focus
This is another banger that will surely keep the crowd hype. This track incites energy from the listener through Busta’s constant refrains, which calls on the audience to get wild. He spits, “Throw your hands up in the air like you was tearing the ceiling down!”Â That image may definitely come to life with this song playing in a club at two in the morning or at a Busta concert. The chorus also has the same effect that makes you want to sing along and go with the flow. Busta demands for everyone to “make noise like a nigga celebrating they life, I’m saying right now!”Â There is no doubt that “Right Now”Â is a perfect fit on the album.
6. “Let Me Show You”Â
Produced by Busta and DJ Scratch
This track samples “Show You the Way to Go”Â by the Jackson 5. Definitely a classic goody, featuring a style that very much represents Busta’s diverse sound. In “Let Me Show You,”Â he continues to make his presence clear by proclaiming, “Whenever the streets need, then you know I’m on time.”Â This mid-tempo track has an old school appeal largely due to the sample selection. Another classic Busta joint that fans should appreciate.
7. “Don’t Touch Me (Throw Da Water On ’Em)”Â
Produced by Grind Music (Sean C & LV)
This track is already tearing up the airwaves and has proven to be a certified club banger. Sean C & LV were the mastermind production duo behind much of the American Gangster soundtrack and they continue to show and prove on this track. Busta comes with the heat and the flavor that his fans know and love. This track has the Busta swagger that can’t be imitated. Here, he uses a continuous contrasting high energy, low energy effect similar to “Touch It.”Â He goes back and forth between a calmer flow and fast-paced flow, which is in sync with the rhythm of the percussions on the track.
8. “Don’t Believe Them”Â featuring T.I. and Akon
Produced Cool & Dre
This song was inspired by the events that took place prior to the “BET Hip-Hop Awards,” involving T.I.’s removal from the production due to his trouble with the law. Similar to “We Made It,”Â this song evokes a feeling of triumph against the odds. Busta and T.I. were able to use this song as a platform to highlight what they have been going through legally and their resilience and passion for their craft. Busta spews out a memorable line: “So passionate you might misinterpret it was arrogance.”Â Akon drives it all home with the hook that sums up the theme of the song: “Don’t believe them when they try to say it’s over, just tell them you’re number one, you’re a champion.”Â
9. “I’m Gonna Get Mine”Â
Produced by DJ Scratch
The production and concept was developed by DJ Scratch who got the inspiration from a scene in the movie All About the Benjamins. In the scene, the main character, Reggie (played by Mike Epps), recites his lottery ticket numbers. In DJ Scratch’s production, he turned those numbers into an actual statement. “I’m gonna go and get my 45 over on 47, be back in 15 minutes or even 30, get back with 37 niggas with them 38s.”Â The creativity behind the track’s development is incredible, in addition to Busta Rhymes’ witty lyrical style, which gives it a laid-back and somewhat old school appeal. Another solid collabo between Busta and DJ Scratch.
–Tashal Brown in New York