Thursday, September 21, 2006

Eulogy for a Fallen Fellow

“Busta, what it is right now?”

What happened, God? You used to be the geekiest of the AfroGeeks, the most Alterna of the Alterna-Blacks, but look at you now. Where is your pride? Where is your dignity? From Afro-Futurist visionary, to ‘roid-raging noble savage, and this was done without warning. I was taken unawares. You went from rarrgh, rarrgh, like a dungeon dragon to pass the Courvoisier and the change hurt, man. I know you have a few kids, so was the decision to totally leave your roots a financial one or were you coerced into making some of the wackest hip-hop music of the last several years?

Busta, you of the ungodly bpm flow, the human firecracker, the only man brave enough (outside of Wu-Tang) to collab with the O.D.B. to make one of the best remixes (Whoo-Ha) in modern hip-hop history. You were hip-hop’s too cool clown prince, picking up where Flavor Flav left off, but without the borderline cooning Flav has now so fully embraced.
I miss the Busta who used to push out spitballs through plastic straws. I miss the Busta who switched up his bombastic and percussive flow to an almost apocalyptic whisper, letting us know that the end was near, but we’d be partying until the last bomb and/or meteorite fell. I miss the Busta who was so hip-hop that he actually transcended musical labels and became an adjective: “That shit was so Busta.” “That cat was Busta Rhyming at the movies and we got kicked out.”

You were the man but now…I have no idea what you are. A joke? A product used to endorse other products? I’d like to think that you are something a bit more tragic; a man, overwhelmed by a confluence of circumstances, but instead of confronting them head on, escaped to a little pocket universe of banality and corporate sheen. Maybe you are there, biding your time until the stars and planets are in proper alignment, then you’ll pop back into our universe in all of your full, maniacal glory, and put us all back in check.
The Busta Rhymes I knew is dead. Long live Busta Rhymes.

--Shawn Taylor


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