Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes’ debut for Clive Davis’ J label was supposed to break new territory and redefine him as an artist. Unfortunately, it rarely does. Despite taking more creative liberties and tackling all sorts of musical styles (pop, funk, rock), Genesis has a directionless and all-too-familiar vibe. Busta clings timidly to the very things—an engaging, rapid-fire, witty flow—that made him such an exciting rapper over most of his four-CD run for Elektra. To his credit, he’s at his tongue-twisted best on the Dr. Dre-produced single “Break Ya Neck,” and “Holla.” And the Public Enemy remix, “Shut ’Em Down,” is a real standout. Maybe Busta feels he’s reached a level where he can pretty much produce whatever he wants without alienating his fans, but that haughty stance could backfire with such young guns as Ja Rule, Method Man and Nelly consistently creating innovative, chart-topping beats.