Busta Rhymes Explains Why He Titled Most Of His Albums About World-Changing Events

Busta Rhymes has a discography that stretches 26 years, nine solo albums, and countless hit singles. Out of the nine, one argues to be his most important of his illustrious career.

This past weekend, Bussa Buss celebrated the 20th anniversary of his sophomore solo album When Disaster Strikes. Released on September 16, 1997, the platinum-selling project was a paradigm shift in his approach to crafting his albums and his signature flow that was then known to be animated with a raspy tone and humorous, in-your-face yelps.

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The lead single from the album “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” took Busta from being underground Hip-Hop’s dungeon dragon to a Pop sensation. The video for the song, which was inspired by the 1987 Eddie Murphy film Coming To America, also showed Busta in a new form as a calm orator who could set the dance floor on fire.

The album also had success with two other singles in “Dangerous” and ‘Turn It Up.” Each single reached the Billboard Top 100, and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” earned Busta his first Grammy for “Best Rap Solo Performance” in 1998.

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In an interview with Billboard‘s Taylor Weatherby, the Leaders Of The New School MC talked in depth about why he titled five out of his nine solo albums after apocalyptic events.

“The reason why [When Disaster Strikes] was called that was because for me, in the presence of having fun, I also wanted to spark order. I wanted to be able to think about things that we really aren’t conditioned to think about or look into, or between the lines of to get closer to the truth about. I just wanted to give all of the people that perspective so that they know in addition to having fun all of the time, take a little second to pay attention to some of this real sh*t that you maybe don’t take time to pay attention to as much as we should. That’s why it’s been The Coming, When Disaster Strikes, Extinction Level Event [: The Final World Front], Anarchy, Genesis, It Ain’t Safe No More, The Big Bang. All of those titles, there’s a silver lining that connects all of them, and it’s never gonna stop with me — that’s something that’s a lifetime obligation of mine.”

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Busta’s two most recent releases, 2009’s Back On My B.S. and 2012 Google Play exclusive Year Of The Dragon broke from this theme. However, it appears to be a path to which the famed lyricist and Flipmode Squad founder hopes to return.

Elsewhere in the Billboard feature, Busta reflected on the success of the 1997 sophomore album and how his life and career changed after its released: “I feel extremely great about that album. I feel great about all of my albums, and particularly that album. It was my sophomore jinx album where everybody was like, ‘We don’t wanna hear another album if he doesn’t switch it up,’ ‘Can he do it again?’ All of that talk was happening. But that album solidified my legacy and it also introduced me to an entire different living condition. I think that album was the album where I was really able to see my family smile in a whole new way, because I was able to provide in a whole new way. I was able to just really do for my family in a way that I had always dreamed to.”

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Busta also talked about how he was invited on tour with Bad Boy Records in 1997. “It was a little bittersweet, too, because ’97 was the year when Notorious B.I.G. passed away and he was a good friend of mine. Me, him and JAY-Z went to school together, so it was a big moment for him and for me — [Biggie] dropped Life After Death in ’97, When Disaster Strikes came out in ’97. We weren’t able to celebrate it together, [but] we were on tour playing his music and looking at his face every night.”

In the last six weeks, Busta appeared on Rapsody’s “You Should Know” and A$AP Ferg’s “East Coast (Remix)” singles.