Busta Rhymes is Truly Blessed

The rapper returns and we’ve got the low down on the new album.

After years of rapping about the apocalypse, Busta Rhymes nearly encountered the end of his career in 2006 when his bodyguard was killed outside a video shoot, where a showdown was taking place between G-Unit’s Tony Yayo and a rival producer. The ugly incident kicked off a stretch of legal troubles for the hip-hop innovator. But with the release of his new album, Blessed—featuring state-of-the-art beats by Pharrell Williams and Cool & Dre—that period is looking like the staging ground for a comeback.

“The last two years have been extremely uncomfortable,” Busta admits, understating the aftermath of the shooting and various brushes with the law (drunk driving and assault charges, to name a couple). Even so, the eccentric rhyme spitter stands strong. “I realized that I have 50,000 people in a stadium all shouting, ‘Ho!’ People who run countries don’t get to experience that,” he says. “I have a new energy.” That’s apparent on the album’s first single, “We Made It,” in which Busta enlists Linkin Park for an unabashedly triumphant chorus. Rock bombast? Check. But he also felt that “hip-hop needed a ‘We Are the World.’¿” Hence “Decision,” a piano-laden track with cameos by Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, and Common. (Huey Lewis, we can only assume, was unavailable.)

For the effortlessly appealing “Let Me Show You,” he utilizes a sample of another famous voice—a preteen Michael Jackson from the Jacksons’ 1976 “Show You the Way to Go.” “I’d play that song when I was a kid cleaning up the house,” he says. Now it provides probably the most wistful moment in his entire catalog. Don’t shed any tears for Busta, however: “At this point in my life, things could not be any better.” That may not be a very “street” sentiment, but Busta has always been one to blaze his own path.