Busta Rhymes Challenges Veteran MCs To Be True Leaders Of The New School

Busta Rhymes is an active symbol of longevity in Hip-Hop. He was part of the Native Tongues era, endured some of Rap’s most significant changes as a solo artist in the 15 years that followed, and still has many Heads eagerly awaiting his tenth LP. According to 9th Wonder, that upcoming album (B.R.’s first in more than six years) is one that should make year-end lists take note.

In an interview with The Daily Beast‘s Stereo Williams, Busta spoke about his success in bridging the generation gap between the MCs that brought him into the game, and the esteemed classes that he has nurtured ever since.

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“I’m a fan of Trap. I’ll spit on whatever as long as its dope. I don’t categorize music. I’m impulsively gonna respond to what feels right and what feels dope. I don’t give a f*ck what category you want to put it in. It’s just instinct,” says the artist noted for work with The Neptunes, DJ Scratch, Swizz Beatz, and others. What Rap music lacks, in his opinion, is fellow O.G.’s mentoring the new class. However, that relationship works both ways.

“I come from a time where it was extremely important to garner the respect of the elder statesmen. Muh’f*ckas before you that was the greats, you needed to do what you needed to do to get them to sanction you, cosign you and endorse you,” says the artist who was mentored by Public Enemy, especially Chuck D—who named Trevor Smith after an All-American University Of Oklahoma wide receiver George “Buster” Rhymes. “A lot of muh’f*ckas [are] running around complaining, talking sh*t about what these new dudes is doin’, but the question really is what is you older dudes doing to help the new dudes? Outside of popping and sh*t and being mad at them all the time for what they [are] not doing that you feel they need to do?”

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Looking back at the tools he gained, Busta points to an acronym lesson from P.E.’s front-man. “Chuck D called it ‘CLAMP.’ That’s this thing he would always say when we was trying to get on: ‘If you mothaf*ckas don’t got your concept, your lyrics, your attitude and appearance, your music and performance right, you don’t have a CLAMP on this sh*t.’ I took that, applied that to everything: Concept. Lyrics. Attitude/Appearance. Music. Performance.” The lesson paid off, with five platinum and two gold solo LPs for Bus’, dating back to 1996’s The Coming. Busta says that while social media was not in place for new artists to solicit help, that does not mean the old guard should shut off the new wave.

Busta Rhymes has succeeded as a mentor and a talent scout. His Flipmode Squad outfit included names like Rampage, Rah Digga, and Roc Marciano, among others. In recent years, Bust’ has mentored O.T. Genasis and Joyner Lucas. “Being able to pass on information, give guidance is something we can be proud of. So at the end of the day, we ain’t doing as much complaining, the same thing with Conglomerate [Entertainment], that’s what I’m used to. So for me, it’s an honor to be able to pass the torch.” The MC with history in Long Island and Brooklyn, New York also singled out Snoop Dogg’s mentorship efforts. He expressed being big fans of J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance The Rapper for putting substance in their music.

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Currently, B.R. is working with producer/musician Terrace Martin (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Rapsody) on the Blaze The Beat competition. In the last six weeks, he has appeared on songs with Anderson .Paak and Westside Gunn.