Busta Rhymes – “The Fuse is Lit” review

This is the debut EP from Brooklyn emcee, songwriter, producer & actor Busta Rhymes. Coming up as a member of the Leaders of the New School, he would go on to turn heads in the spring of ‘92 off the strength of his verse on “Scenario” off of A Tribe Called Quest’s iconic sophomore album The Low End Theory. The dragon would see greater success as a solo artist with full-lengths like The Coming, When Disaster Strikes…, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, Anarchy, Genesis & The Big Bang. However when E.L.E. 2 (Extinction Level Event 2): The Wrath of God dropped a couple Devil’s Nights back, it would find Busta returning to form considering the mixed to subpar reception of B.O.M.B.S. (Back On My Bullshit & the Cash Money Records-backed Year of the Dragon. But to warm everyone up for his upcoming 11th album, Busta’s coming together with The Fuse is Lit.

“Break This Bitch Up” kicks off the album with a Middle Eastern instrumental from Swizz Beatz talking about how he can’t be stopped whereas “Slap” is a vintage boom bap cut produced by Marley Marl as Big Daddy Kane & Conway the Machine come into the picture to spit some hardcore bars tremendously. The song “Hot Sex, Pt. 2” has a more electronic quality to it courtesy of Aftermath Entertainment in-house producer Focus… with the lyrical themes being reminiscent of the Tribe Called Quest joint “Hot Sex” while the penultimate track “Bulletproof Skin” with Skillibeng is a decent dancehall/hip hop crossover. “Run It Up” though is a jazzy closer with Busta showing motherfuckers how it’s done.

E.L.E. 2 was an incredible return to form for the Dragon & for him to give us this as of way of holding people off until the next full-length, I wouldn’t say it’s as great but the high points on this EP are most definitely worth your time. The overall sound of it is eclectic from boom bap to dancehall & jazz rap with Busta remaining to be strong with the pen.

Score: 3.5/5

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Busta Rhymes – “E.L.E. 2 (Extinction Level Event 2): The Wrath of God” review

Busta Rhymes is a 48 year old MC from Brooklyn, New York who came up as a member of the Leaders of the New School. Becoming the stand out member of the quartet, he branched out for a very successful solo career & dropped 4 classics in a row from 1996-2000. Last we heard from Busta was in 2012 when he released the universally panned Year of the Dragon but after 8 years, he’s back with a sequel to E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front.

The intro starts off with Busta rapping about being a God over a boom bap beat from Nottz with some strings & a vibraphone, but then Rakim accompanied him as it switches up into a more atmosphere instrumental. The next song “The Purge” talks about rioting over a Swizz Beatz instrumental with some prominent sirens while the track “Strap Yourself Down” talks about challenging his opponents over a dynamic beat from the late J Dilla & Pete Rock. The song “Czar” with M.O.P. finds the 3 talking about being the leaders of the new shit over a symphonic instrumental from Rockwilder while the track “Outta My Mind” is a fun club banger backed by a sample of Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”.

The title track gets conscious then over a monstrous instrumental whereas “Slow Flow” is a sequel to “I Remain Raw” backed by a video game-esque beat & sampling Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo” for the hook. The song “Don’t Go” with Q-Tip sees the 2 getting romantic over a luxurious piano instrumental while the track “Boomp!” talks about every hood having love for him over a boom bap beat from DJ Scratch with some keys & a synthesizer.

The song “True Indeed” talks about leaving dudes dead over a DJ Premier instrumental with a suspenseful loop while the track “Master Fard Muhammad” with Rick Ross finds the 2 getting materialistic over a jazzy beat from Hi-Tek & Terrace Martin. The song “YUUUU” with Anderson .Paak sees the 2 talking about money over a snap instrumental while the track ”Oh No” takes aim at anyone fucking with his click over a wavy trap beat.

“The Don & The Boss” with Vybz Kartel finds the 2 talking about strippers over a triumphant instrumental while the song “Best I Can” with Rapsody sees the 2 talking parenthood over a soulful beat from none other than 9th Wonder. The track “Right Where I Belong” is a redundant sequel to “I Know What You Want” down to the Rick Rock production while the song “Deep Thought” gets confessional over a dreary boom bap beat from Busta himself.

After the “Young God Speaks” interlude, the track “Look Over Your Shoulder” with Kendrick Lamar finds the 2 talking about hip hop needing them over a sample of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” while the song “Another Me” talks about being unique over a smooth beat. The penultimate track “Freedom?” gets back on the conscious tip over a moody boom bap instrumental & then the album ends with “Satanic”, where Busta gets religious over an angelic beat.

It’s been a longtime coming but at the end of the day, this is a great return to form for Busta & I’ll even say it’s his best since The Big Bang. There are a few filler cuts in the track listing, but I really enjoy how he spends most of the album sticking to his guns instead of trying to appeal to an audience that doesn’t exist.

Score: 4.5/5