The Big Bang
The first time I heard Busta was on A Tribe Called Quest’s Low-End Theory. “Scenario” was tight and Rhymes was machine-gun fast. Fifteen years later, he’s got Q-Tip sitting in on The Big Bang. Unfortunately, Rhymes is not as fast, Q-Tip’s smooth voice is barely noticeable, and the bang is just kinda big. Three years of production, a slew of guest artists (notably Missy Elliott, Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry, Stevie Wonder, Nas, ODB and Raekwon) and signing onto Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label still don’t make this album what it should be. Rhymes’ raspy, automatic assault-rifle delivery seems to have slowed to semi-automatic, and his lyrical content is predictably unoriginal, sometimes just plain boring and mostly unimpressive. Repetitive songs like “New York Shit” get old, fast. “Been Through the Storm,” featuring Stevie Wonder, is quality—Rhymes is smooth, chronicling the struggle of families who come to the U.S. seeking opportunity, and Wonder lends his trademark voice to make this track the best on the album. The Big Bang will stay on my top shelf for about a minute because of its novelty and the impressive roster of guest artists.