Going Out With a Bang?

The Big Bang (Aftermath Records)
Busta Rhymes

By Kory Wilcoxson

There's something a bit tedious about "You Can't Hold the Torch," one of the songs on Busta Rhymes' new album The Big Bang. On "Torch," Busta and fellow rap veteran Q-Tip take turns complaining about the lack of skill in new rappers. It should have been called "Grumpy Old Homies." You almost expect a verse to start, "Back when I was your age ..."

Thankfully, the rest of Big Bang has more to offer. This is Busta's first album in four years and he's added the skills of Dr. Dre as producer. Busta shows a lot of growth and maturity, with an ability to look back ("In the Ghetto") while keeping his finger on the pulse of current rhythms (club tracks like "Touch It" and "Get Down").

The biggest concern with "Big Bang" is its moments of excess, like the virtual battalion of guests. Some of them work (Stevie Wonder is great on "Been Through the Storm"); others fall flat (Swiss Beatz should never rap again - ever). Also, some of the tracks feel like filler ("Cocaina" adds nothing to the album). A sleeker song selection would have complemented Busta's more mature approach. At least we know from this latest effort that Busta Rhymes is not going out with a whimper.