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Album Review

Busta Rhymes, 'Back On My B.S.'

May 25, 2009
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Hip-Hop
Busta Rhymes Back On My B.S.
Universal Motown
ESSENTIAL "Decision"

One of the lead tracks on Busta Rhymes's eighth record is "Give Em What They Askin For," and that's pretty much what he does after a disastrous stint on Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records. This finds Rhymes going back to the muscular New York hip-hop on which he cut his teeth. This is a solid, albeit erratic, affair and Rhymes still hasn't delivered the set everyone keeps expecting from him. The MC has modified his original frenetic style, which has given way to a more conversational flow and, while less distinctive, it's often more effective. The disc overflows with guests, often to its detriment, as Rhymes takes a backseat to his peers. The collaboration with T-Pain, "Hustler's Anthem '09," is built around the Auto-Tune king, but it is also one of the best songs. To understand the sad evolution of hip-hop's purpose, listen to "Respect My Conglomerate," which features a sleepwalking Lil Wayne. The title reveals all. Some of the best tunes are the more introspective ones, including "Decision," with Mary J. Blige, among others. Only Rhymes knows what he's thinking on the indefensibly racist "Arab Money." For all the moments of inspiration here, there are just too many stumbles, and at this point in his career, Rhymes's B.S. should be more convincing. (Out now) KEN CAPOBIANCO