ALBUM PREVIEW: Busta Rhyme’s I’m Blessed

As all the invited guests got settled in the confines of Platinum Sounds Studio, it is hard not to notice a strange vibe in the air. With a sound bite of Busta Rhymes spazzing out on some journalists recently circulating around the internet, it is no surprise the majority of the attendees seem careful of their every move. Upon Busta entering the room, that vibe is reinforced tenfold. The general of the Flipmode Squad apologizes for being a bit tardy and promptly informs everyone that all electronic devices have to leave the room. No questions asked.

 

After the spicy request, Busta clears up the blow up at a previous listening session. Some journalist folks came with an automatic ice grill and son wasn’t having it. He thanks everyone for coming through and explains why the very unusually straightforward title I’m Blessed (Flipmode / Aftermath) coming from an artist who has had a track record for involved album names. Busta had four pending cases in one year, which is a record in rap. All in all he got off light with probation. On top of that he saw his bodyguard go down in a hail of gunfire right in front of him and he is still here. Title makes sense right?

 

With all in attendance on the same page now Busta takes a seat. It’s obvious that dude is in great spirits as he leans back, kicks off his crisp pair of white Adidas Shell Toes, lights up a Newport and pours himself a drink. A CD is passed on to the engineer and the 15-year vet cracks a big smile as he invites everyone to enjoy.

 

“Don’t Believe ‘Em” Featuring T.I. and Akon

Produced By Cool & Dre

 

As Busta explains it, this track was inspired by a conversation between Bus and T.I. at the rehearsal at last year’s BET Hip-Hop awards. Needless to say T.I. got booked an hour later and this joint was born. Piano keys are the first thing heard as Akon sets the tone for his comrades. Busta comes in with his bulletproof double time flow over thunderous drum rolls and guitars. Akon comes back on the hook and T.I. employs a speedy delivery as he touches lightly on his case. Bus plays clean up nicely and you get a strong album cut.  

 

“We Made It” Featuring Linkin Park

Produced By Cool & Dre

 

Somber keys play a prominent role in this hyped emotional selection. A regular cadence splashed with a dash of double time gymnastics are employed by Busta. Noisy electric guitars are married perfectly with lead singer Chester Bennington’s inspirational vocals on the hook (“Together we made it / We made it even though we had our backs up against the wall / Forever we made it / And they told us we were never going to get it all”). A very much slept on Mike Shinoda plays his position on the second verse. A different look for a first single from Mr. Rhymes, but it works regardless.

 

 

“Decision” Featuring Jaime Foxx, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Common

Produced By Denaun Porter aka Mr. Porter

 

Fake friends and true friends alike are addressed on this R&B smoothed-out monster. Crisp drums are blended with cool ass keys courtesy of John Legend. Jaime Foxx kills it off top and Busta comes through with one of his most heart felt verses in some time. Mrs. Mary J. gives the hook her golden touch and Common’s slicker than most lines sound right at home over lush pianos. Powerful music right here.

 

“Right Now”

Produced By Focus & Dr. Dre

 

Another sonic masterpiece provided by the Aftermath camp. Busta sounds like he owns the city with this celebratory album cut as he asks listeners to put their hands in the air over the hook. Additionally, a dense air is added to his vocals for added effect.

 

“I’m Going To Get Go And Get Mine”

Produced By DJ Scratch

 

If people think Scratched blacked out on “New York Sh*t,” then they got something else coming with this one. The infamously funny clip of Mike Epps placing his lotto numbers from All About The Benjamins is played out as the intro and is then chopped and flipped into some brollic street ish on the hook (“Imma go and get my 45 / Over on 47th / Be back in 15 minutes or even 30 / Be back with 37 ni***s with them 38’s”). Scratch supplies funky grooves for Busta to talk greasy over. One of toughest joints you will hear this year hands down.

 

“If”

Produced By Rick Rock

 

This is a throwback to late 90’s Busta when he was going hard with that sexy ish (Pause). West coast beatsmith Rick Rock cooks up some intricate pianos and adds some xylophones for this bouncy record aimed at the ladies. Whispering included for added measure. Think “I Love My Chick” meets “I Know What You Want.”

 

“G Stroll” Featuring Pharell

Produced By The Neptunes

 

The first obvious disappointment of the night. Pharrell tries to sexy things up with him hollering at females on the track, while Busta runs through some soft drums and The Neptunes’ trademark synthesizers. Not that this joint is a total brick, but it doesn’t connect as well as the previous ones. Point blank, this has been done already and done better.

 

“Blown” Featuring T-Pain

Produced By Cool & Dre

 

The influence of recording this album in Miami is clear on this record. DJ Khaled opens things up with a sermon for the hood. Thick drums roll out and Busta’s machine gun flow energizes things up instantly. T-Pain bodies the hook with the auto-tune and what results in a heater that would have probably ended up on Plies’ lap. This will definitely get steady burn in the whip.

 

“Throw It Up” Featuring Ludacris & Lil Wayne

Produced By Cool & Dre

 

Not to sound cliché but this record is a problem. Cool & Dre provide a monstrous beat filled chunky synth notes and chopping high hats. Lil Wayne comes in first with an all you can eat buffet of his oversimplified but still reliable metaphors (“You don’t want beef / I’ll put you on a diet”). Not to be outshined Luda gets it in as well (“My ni***s fight over ice like we playing hockey”). Busta thinks this record is so hard, he hadn’t laid his verse yet. He wants to take his time with this one.

 

Verdict

As the last record times out, Busta extends another thank you to everyone present. He starts to engage in regular conversations with the crowd and shows much love to Flipmode lieutenant in charge Spliffstarr as he joins the festivities as well.

 

With a couple of more records in the stash, I’m Blessed seems to follow in the suit of its very noteworthy predecessor The Big Bang. There are no frivolous skits and or unnecessary filler as this effort will clock in at twelve or thirteen tracks. While this album may not be sewn together sonically where all the beats share a common aesthetic ala The Blueprint, I’m Blessed packs a lot of heaters. In the company of some suitable additions, this carries the potential to land on anyone’s 2008 list.

 

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