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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Roc Marciano – “Mt. Marci” review

Roc Marciano is a 42 year old MC/producer from Long Island, New York who started out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 8 albums since, with the latest being Marcielago last December. Almost a year later, Marci is following it up by dropping his 9th full-length album.

After the “Allegories” intro, the first song “Downtown 81” talks about breaking bread at the penthouse over a savory Jake One instrumental while the track “COVID Cough” with ScHoolboy Q sees the 2 getting murderous over a perilous beat. The song “Wheat 40s” talks about not playing the hero role over some strings while the track “Spirit Cookin’” with Action Bronson finds the 2 on their mobster shit over a piano & a woodwind.

The song “Pimps Don’t Wear Rabbits” talks about those hating need to quit over a grimy beat while the track “Butterfly Effect” talks about trusting the process over a jazzy instrumental. “The Eye of the Whorus” with Stove God Cook$ sees the 2 talking about being paid to gloat over a funky beat while the song “Steel Vagina” talks about this woman betraying him over a bare piano instrumental.

The track “Broadway Killa” with Kool Keith finds the 2 talking about being cold blooded over an instrumental with some frightening synths while the song “Baby Powder” is well played 2-parter as Marci talks about hustling drugs over an peaceful instrumental from Chuck Strangers, but then transitions into some triumphant horns. The track “Trench Coat Wars” talks about smoking weed in a g-wagon over an eerie instrumental while the song “Wicked Days” talks about how no angel can stop the bullets over a murky beat & the Trent Truce feature is wack as fuck.

The track “Garbage Pal Kids” talks about how this chick’s gonna run if he calls her over a guitar while the song “Crocket N Tubbs” talks about how real bad boys move in silence over an alluring beat. The album ends with the title track, where Marci spits about writing it in coke oil over some keys & a high-pitched vocal sample.

It’s no secret that Roc Marciano has paved the way for cats like Griselda throughout the previous decade & this is a great way for him to kick off his 2020s output. His gritty lyricism never fails to amuse me this deep into his career & the production is on point as always too.

Score: 4/5

Roc Marciano – “Marcielago” review


This is the surprise 8th full-length album from Long Island heavyweight Roc Marciano, who started out as a member of the Flipmode Squad from the late 90s & early 2000s. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 7 critically acclaimed albums since, with his last 3 all coming out just last year. But after laying low throughout a good bulk of 2019, he’s finishing off his prolific decade with Marcielago.

After the “Select Few” intro, the first song “Molly Ringwald” finds Marci gets flirtatious over a lush instrumental from Animoss. The track “Choosin’ Fees” spits that drug game over a soulful beat while the song “Richard Gear” gets reflective over a lavish instrumental. The track “Ephesians” sees Marci getting mafioso whereas Ka gets conscious over a nocturnal instrumental while the song “Tom Chambers” with Knowledge the Pirate sees the 2 tells their competition not to get into their way over a jazzy beat.

The track “I.G.W.T. (In God We Trust)” talks about only having one another over a piano & a soul sample while the song “Puff Daddy” with Cook$ gets bloodthirsty over sinister instrumental. The track “Boosie Fade” with Westside Gunn sees the 2 spitting battle bars over a suspenseful beat while the song “Bomb Shelter” with Willie the Kid sees the 2 flexing over a soothing jazz sample.

The track “Saw” gets back on the mafioso tip lyrically over a haunting instrumental from The Alchemist while the song “SAYLAVI” is a clever play on the French phrase “c’est la vie & I like how trippy the Animoss beat is. The track “God Loves You” gets on the more motivational side & the church-like instrumental suits it fantastically, but the hook is just alright. Then before the “Legacy” outro, the final song “Joe Jackson” finds Marci bragging over a blaxploitation-esque instrumental.

Roc truly has been a leading figure in hip hop’s East Coast renaissance throughout the 2010s & this was a fantastic way for him to finish it off. There are a few spotty moments on here, but it feels like the musical equivalent to a crime film from the production to Roc’s lyricism getting sharper & sharper over time. Can’t wait to see what he’ll do going into the new decade.

Score: 4/5

Roc Marciano – “Behold a Dark Horse” review


Roc Marciano is a legendary underground MC/producer from Long Island, New York who started out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad. He then went solo in 2008 & has dropped 5 albums since, with his last one Rosebudd’s Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose being released in February of this year. However, he has decided to drop his 6th full-length album out of nowhere exclusively on his website.

Things start off with “The Horse’s Mouth”, where Roc brags about how dope he is over an eerie beat from Preservation. The next song “Congo” contains some gritty street bars over a Roc instrumental that contains some punchy drums & a guitar while the song “1,000 Deaths” gets confrontational over some strings. The song “Diamond Cutters” with Black Thought sees the 2 spitting battle bars over a middle eastern instrumental while the track “Amethyst” talks about being a threat in the streets over a somber instrumental from Animoss, but the hook halfway through was awkward. The song “Sampson & Delilah” gets back on the battle bar tip over a woodwind heavy instrumental from Doncee despite another wimpy hook while the track “No Love” with Knowledge the Pirate sees the 2 talking about trust over a beautiful soul sample from Roc himself.

The song “Trojan Horse” with Busta Rhymes sees the 2 getting mafioso over an instrumental that reminds of me “Wildflower” off of Ghostface Killah’s classic 1996 solo debut Ironman while the track “Fabio” goes at talentless rappers as well as bragging about himself over an instrumental from The Alchemist that starts off laidback, but then switches into something more eerie halfway through. The song “Secrets” gets romantic over a spacey beat from Roc himself while the penultimate track “Whoolers” returns to the braggadocious tip over a soulful horn-induced beat from Animoss. The album then ends with “Consigliere”, where Roc gets into the lavish life once again as well as challenging his competition over an orchestral instrumental from Q-Tip.

As I expected, Roc didn’t disappoint at all. I don’t care for the parts where he’s singing at all, but the beats & the lyrical content are just as gritty as they’ve always been. If you wanna hear a horribly underrated vet sound rawer than ever before, then give this a listen.

Score: 4/5