Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Busta Rhymes - Year of the Dragon" Review by Dom

Busta Rhymes. If you're into hip-hop at all you know this name. Known for his technical flow, speed and tongue-twisting verses. He's been around over 20 years first as a member of the Leaders of the New School, and in 1996 he released his debut solo album, The Coming. Since then he has released 7 albums, ranging from being held as classics to being disappointments and lackluster. In 2011 Busta was featured on a Chris Brown track, "Look at Me Now", this track put him back into the spotlight and he was instantly a hot rapper once again. Off of the tracks success Busta featured on tracks with artists ranging from Tech N9ne, Ashanti and Lil Wayne. In early 2012 it was announced that Busta had signed with Cash Money Records with the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga. Year of the Dragon was supposed to be his debut LP for the YMCMB crew, instead he released it for free causing some confusion over whether this project is a mixtape or an album, I'm treating it as an album.

1. I'm Talking to You - To me, this is an odd opening track, the little intro sets up for the song to be crazy and insane, then Busta comes on and spits rather boringly. I expected more from him on this track.

2. Til We Die (featuring Rick Ross and Trey Songz) - Busta's better on this one, unfortunately for him, Ross' can't hold his weight(no pun intended) against Busta and Songz' chorus leaves little to be desired, give me Busta's minute long verse and leave the rest out.

3. Do That Thing - Busta talks of "bringing the crown home" on this track but he's not doing anything special on the track, the chorus sucks, and his verses are alright, nothing too fast, nothing too technical, I could hear these verses from other guys besides Busta.

4. Make it Look Easy (featuring Gucci Mane) - The beginning of this song is going to induce headaches, the chorus is god awful, even though Busta's verses are actually on par for him the chorus makes this song hard to listen to, also Gucci Mane sucks, please stop rapping.

5. Pressure (featuring Lil Wayne) - Never did I think I'd look forward to a track with Wayne on it, I felt that maybe the YMCMB front-leader could make Busta bring his A-game on the track, I was right. This track was surprisingly good, Wayne wasn't too bad on his verse either, I'll take his verse on this over anything off of Tha Carter IV.

6. Love-Hate (featuring Robin Thicke) - What the hell was going through his mind when he recorded this? I get it's supposed to be his "soft, love" song but he can't pull it off. Not only is it not his lane, he can't do it right and Thicke sounds great on it but the chorus is just flat boring, leaving a boring track.

7. Grind Real Slow - I expected this track to be a slow one as well, it's starts with a slower beat but leads into a dance/club beat. Even though he's rapping over a slower beat he sounds good doing it, oddly enough the gripe I have with this track has to do with what preceded it. The track before was overall a love song, this song is all sex driven, it's an odd transition.

8. King Tut (featuring Reek da Villain and J-Doe) - This is the lead single off of the album, I can see why, it's hard, Busta sounds good, as do the features on the track, it's a good song but it doesn't represent the album too well, which is what a single's purpose should be.

9. Sound Boy (featuring Cam'Ron) - Busta uses autotune(pretty badly) in the chorus of this song, his verses fall flat on themselves and Cam'Ron doesn't add much to the track.

10. Doin' it Again (featuring Reek da Villain and Chanel) - This track is good, not much to say, Chanel sings a good chorus, Busta has a good verse, oddly enough Reek grabs my attention more than Busta does, maybe because it's a deep beat and Busta has a deep voice so when Reek's higher pitched voice comes through it sounds different.

11. Wine & Go Down (featuring Vybz Kartel) - This track has a hard beat that sounds pretty good especially with Busta going over it. Kartel sounds good, if you can say that first name I'll be impressed.

12. Movie (featuring J-Doe) - My god. If you thought YMCMB would have a bad effect on Busta's sound go listen to this chorus, cause this will validate your thoughts. It's just awful, this chorus sounds as whiny as Drake does, maybe that's YMCMBs thing, whiny ass dudes.

13. Crazy - Can this track please be actually crazy? While Busta doesn't go off like you'd expect him to, he does actually sound crazy in this going with a deep almost demonic sounding voice and his delivery on this track is spectacular, this is probably the best track on this album.

14. Bleed the Same Blood (featuring Maino and Anthony Hamilton) - Hamilton is one of my favorite R&B singers right now so I hope Busta utilizes him well. Well, he does, Maino's verse is first and it's not bad, like Reek it's nice to hear a higher pitched voice over such dark beats. Busta sounds like Busta on this one, that's not a bad thing. Hamilton is the strongest part of the song, his vocals during the chorus are phenomenal.

Overall: I guess my initial thought is, I expected more. I expected the production to be better especially coming from YMCMB, the production's not bad it's just not as good as it should be. I wish he had utilized Nicki Minaj on this album, I'm not a fan of her solo stuff but her features are usually pretty good, it would've been interesting to hear Busta go in and then hear Nicki go crazy too. I'll keep about half of the tracks from this album, if I had paid for this album I'd probably be more disappointed but being free it's worth checking out. Busta shows he can do slower tempo songs on this project, that being said it makes you miss the tracks he went insane on. In no way is the album a return to form, if anything it's a subtle transition into a more well-rounded rapper, in the long run this direction could work for Busta, but for now we have this album, his debut for YMCMB, and it's just okay.

Rating: 5/10

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