This Day in Hip Hop and Rap History
Host: Chuck D w/ Duke Eatmon & Ron Maskell
May 20th, 2012
May 20th - Busta Rhymes was born Trevor Tahiem Smith Jr. in Brooklyn, New York, on this day in 1972.
Busta Rhymes was given his stage name by Chuck D, when he was still a teen and a part of a group that was conceptualized even before finding its members called Leaders Of The New School.
Busta Rhymes was originally known as Buster Brown before I suggested the stage name Busta Rhymes in honor of NFL wide receiver George “Buster” Rhymes.
Leaders Of The New School, whose members included; Bryan Higgins a.k.a. Charlie Brown, James Jackson a.k.a. Dinco D and Sheldon Scott a.k.a. DJ Cut Monitor Milo, released their hit debut album called “A Future Without A Past” on Elektra Records in 1991. The album included the hits; “Case Of The PTA”, “Sobb Story” and “The International Zone Coaster.”
Leaders Of The New School or L.O.N.S. for short, as they were known, would release one more album in 1993 called “T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye)”, which contained the number one hit “What’s Next.”
In 1991 L.O.N.S. were guests on the smash hit “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest, from their album “The Low End Theory.” It would become known as the ultimate posse track with Busta Rhymes’ wild manic delivery almost stealing the track.
Busta’s performance would muster him enough popularity and a fan base to be able to launch a solo career. His wild dancehall reggae-fied vocal delivery copped him a solo record deal with Elektra who released his 1996 platinum selling solo debut “The Coming”, to much fanfare.
“The Coming” contained the hit singles “It’s A Party” (featuring Zhane) and “Woo Hah!! (Got You All In Check).”
Busta’s videos for these tracks and future music clips, directed by Hype Williams, would make him a MTV favorite for his outlandish wardrobe and behavior.
After the release of “The Coming”, Busta put together a musical collective called The Flipmode Squad, whose members included Spliff Starr, Rah Digga, Lord Have Mercy and Rampage.
He launched a record label called Flipmode Records, as well.
Members of Flipmode Squad also appeared on “The Coming” before releasing solo records of their own on Rhymes’ label.
Busta Rhymes, who by that time had become a bona fide superstar, would go on to release seven more successful albums since then. Most notably 1997’s “When Disaster Strikes” which contained the smash hit “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”, 1998’s “E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front”, which produced more hits like “Gimme Some More” and “What’s It Gonna Be ?! (featuring Janet Jackson), 2001’s “Genesis”, which featured “Pass The Courvoisier!!” (featuring P. Diddy And Pharrell) and 2002’s “It Ain’t Safe No More”, which contained the chart toppers “I Know What You Want” (featuring Mariah Carey) and “Make It Clap” with Sean Paul and Spliff Starr.
His most recent album was 2009’s “Back On My B.S.” which contained “Arab Money” (featuring Rob Browz).
Over the years Busta has collaborated with the likes of Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Lil’ Wayne, Kelis, Mystikal, the late Notorious B.I.G., Coolio, Erykah Badu, Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony and countless others.
Besides Elektra, Rhymes has had recording deals with J. Records, Aftermath and Motown.
He has recently signed with Cash Money Records and will reportedly release a new album in 2012.
After folding Flipmode Records in 2008, Rhymes launched Conglomerate Records whose roster included Busta himself, N.O.R.E., Spliff Star and Reek Da Villain amongst others.
Busta Rhymes has also appeared in the films such as “Higher Learning”, “Who’s The Man”, “Halloween: Resurrection”, “Shaft” and “The Unforgiven.”
Rhymes has also done quite a bit of television, with guest appearances on “The Steve Harvey Show”, “Cosby” and “The Boondocks” to name a few.
Besides selling a slew of platinum albums and hit singles, Busta Rhymes is considered one of the most electrifying live performers in hip-hop history.