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Busta Rhymes: Hip Hop’s Afrofuturist
Busta Rhymes is in my personal Top 10 List of favourite Hip Hop Artists, and he’s now made it into my Top 5 because I’ve only recently started to appreciate his Artistry in a more complete sense.
I’ve always regarded Busta as an exceptionally Talented MC with Masterful, Witty and Technically flawless delivery.
However, once we begin to listen a little closer to his Albums, what emerges is a visionary Futurist Artist focused on expressing a Dystopian vision of the future.
The kind of Dystopian future predicted in classic Science Fiction works like George Orwell’s 1984 and William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
Busta Rhymes was born in New York on May 20 1972 to Jamaican Parents.
He started his career in the early 90s as part of the group Leaders Of The New School where his unique Rhyming style stood out so much he rose to become the breakout star of the group.
In 1995 he released his Solo album ‘The Coming’ which solidified him as a bona fide Hip Hop Star.
Busta always stood out as an eccentric Artist, and the release of When Disaster Strikes in 1997 took his career to the stratosphere.
Once again, his eccentrism and lyrical prowess seemed to be the main draw card especially because Busta could throw hardcore street Raps with as much as ferocity as any other Rapper of the Thugged out 1990s.
But the clues to Busta’s genius and Artistic agenda were always apparent from his Album Titles which always referenced some kind of future Apocalyptic event or cataclysm.
So its no suprise that in the video for the smash single ‘Fire It Up (Remix)’ Busta makes it explicitly clear from the Video’s intro that its inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 Dystopian vision of the future.
True to form, the video’s storyline depicts a rebellion against a Totalitarian Regime that Rules over a barren nuclear wasteland.
The title of Busta’s follow up album Extinction Level Event was also an express continuation of the Apocalyptic themes and references from previous Albums and videos.
In-fact, this album’s introduction features a Father-Daughter conversation in which the Father breaks into a chilling rant about the coming Apocalypse brought about by an Extinction Level Event which will result in Global Destruction, Suffering and a Totalitarian New World Order.
Listening to these albums today, Busta’s message rings closer, truer and even Prophetic.
What I find impressive is that Busta pulled this off during Hip Hop’s most Gangsta era as he managed to drop jewels while staying jiggy and Thugged out at the same time.
He’s clearly a multi-dimensional individual and the embodiment of the sort of True MCee that emerged with the birth of Hip Hop.
For these reasons, Busta’s body of work deserves recognition for the breadth of its vision, individuality and creativity.
His music from the 90s-2000s has become even more relevant today as our world faces the kind of Extinction Level catastrophe and chaos Busta warned about so vividly in his Rhymes.
It doesnt seem so esoteric and far-fetched anymore.
Busta can be considered an Afrofuturist Artist with a truly Transcendent Artistic vision.
Lets give the man his due as one of Hip Hop’s Greats and also give thanks to Hip Hop, an Artform that can be used in the most profound ways in its truest form.
To continue the conversation, Join our New Facebook Group Afrifuturism Connect to share your creations and discuss African Futurism and Afroturism.