What constitutes a golden hip-hop moment? If you ask Busta Rhymes, it would be when he signed to Young Money this past week. The rapper born Trevor Smith signed to Lil Wayne’s label after walking away from his deal with Aftermath/Interscope Records. With his first official Young Money track, “Why Stop Now” featuring Chris Brown getting spins on radio, The Urban Daily offers up ten fun facts about a rapper who knows what longevity means.
1. He once held a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It’s no secret Busta raps at excessive speeds. I mean really, how many times did you have to listen to his verse on “Look At Me Now” to catch the first three lines of his verse? In 2000, Busta Rhymes was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for having said the most syllables in one second. The title belonged to voice-over actor, John Moschitta, previously. A little known rapper from Chicago stole the title back from the New York MC a few years later.
2. His rap name comes from a former football player.
When Rhymes began rapping, he went along with the trend of hip-hop. Everybody who was anybody had “Ski” in their rap moniker. Busta Rhymes was no different. His first rap name was Chilly-O-Ski. Soon after giving himself that name, he and plenty of other people decided it was corny. Chuck D of Public Enemy rechristened him Busta Rhymes after the former Minnesota Viking, George “Buster” Rhymes. Could you imagine saying, “Yo, did you hear Chilly-O-Ski’s new song? That’s dope, son!” No? Us either.
3. He’s been featured on more than 300 songs.
Remixes have become the norm in hip-hop. When a hot song drops, we sit and speculate who is going to be on the remix. More often than not, Busta is on the remix. Not only subjected to remixes, most of Rhymes’ biggest hits are tracks where he breezes in, drops a hot 16, and bounces. Case and point, The Pussycat Dolls’ first single, “Don’t Cha” got spins. However, when Busta hopped on it, the track became a Top 5 hit on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart in 2005. His collaborators range from people like house music sensation, Tiesto, to DMX. His wild energy and preciise delivery are a couple of reasons he lands on everyone’s track.
4. Busta Rhymes has only had one album debut at number one.
Out of the eight discs he has released, five have gone platinum. Out of the five that have gone platinum, none opened at number one. 2006’s The Big Bang is Busta’s only disc to sit atop the album heap for at least a week. Ironically, The Big Bang is one of his lesser selling projects. In spite of hits like “Touch It” and “I Love My Chick,” it’s only sold 613,000 copies after opening week sales of 209,000 copies. That means one third of total sales of this album came from the first week. Yikes!
5. He left Leaders of the New School before getting their record deal.
Busta hit the scene as part of the rap group, Leaders of the New School. If you remember, the group ended on the set of Yo! MTV Raps. Many don’t know Busta and Leaders of the New School broke up and got back together before they got their deal. In an interview with VladTV, Rhymes recounted the tale of getting kicked out for not giving Dinco D and Charlie Brown a ride. “Me and Leaders of the New School weren’t getting along from before the first album. When you hear “Too Much On My Mind,” I don’t have a verse on it. They started recording while I was on the outs with the group and the person who wanted to sign Leaders of the New School didn’t want to sign us if it wasn’t the same members he saw perform months earlier. They asked me to come back and I agreed, but I had a few stipulations. The main one was that they had to let me use two of my solo songs on the album. So I did “Feminine Fatt” and “Show Me A Hero” by myself because of that.”
6. He was once a clothing designer.
Everyone knows Busta Rhymes can rap and act, but what they scratched their heads about was if he knew anything about designing clothes. Rhymes proved he had a little bit of knowledge when he debuted his clothing line, Bushi, in the late 90s. Like most start up businesses, profit was damn near invisible for the first few years. As the profits continued to find their way to the rapper’s pockets at a snail’s pace, he became increasingly bored with the venture. Rhymes decided to cut his losses and close up shop. He donated the leftover merchandise to local charities and went back to being a rapper full time.
7. Getting a record deal was the reason for growing his dreads.
Since entering the rap world in 1989, Busta has been seen with his trademark dreadlocks. Many attributed his locks to his Jamaican heritage. They would be wrong. The actual reason is far less cultural. When he got his record deal, he decided he wasn’t going top comb or cut his hair because he didn’t have to anymore. He hacked his locks off in 2005 when he left J Records to join Dr. Dre’s Aftermath stable. He said cutting his hair was symbolic of a new beginning at a new label.
8. Busta Rhymes is the Susan Lucci of rap music.
Daytime soap actress, Susan Lucci, is famous for having been nominated for an Emmy 18 times since 1978 and only winning once in 1999. When it comes to rap, Busta is in the same boat. Despite having some of the most creative videos of the 90s, Busta Rhymes has never won a MTV Video Music Award. He’s been nominated 15 times. He is second to Britney Spears in shut outs. She was shut out of 17 nominations until she went home with three trophies in 2008. The Video Music Awards isn’t the only place Busta has been left out. With nine nominations, the Grammys have never recognized Rhymes for his work. This year might be different, with “Look At Me Now” being such a huge record, it’s bound to get nominated in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category. He has a pretty good shot at winning that one.
9. He would’ve rather been a member of A Tribe Called Quest.
As mentioned earlier, the relationship between Busta Rhymes and the other members of Leaders of the New School was tumultuous. They fought over everything. Busta’s increasing popularity as a solo act was a big cause for arguments. Rhymes was getting so much attention as a solo act because he was featured on a handful of A Tribe Called Quest records without the other Leaders of the New School members. Busta gave an interview where he stated, “I always wanted to be in Tribe. I would always leave Leaders of the New School after a beef and call Q-Tip to find out what studio they were at. I have so many cameos on Tribe records without Leaders of the New School because Tribe always embraced me when I was going through my frustrations with Leaders of the New School. Tribe always considered me family.”
10. Sean Connery isn’t a fan of Busta’s lateness.
Oscar winning actor, Sean Connery, is notorious for being extremely punctual. When shooting the film, Finding Forrester, Busta arrived on set two minutes late and was greeted by a late slip from the Scottish actor. Considering Sean Connery also served as one of the film’s producers, Rhymes couldn’t get too beside himself otherwise he would’ve been out of a job. The rapper did like 2pac when he got shot five times, he took the slip and smiled.