Arts Desk

Busta Rhymes Has Earned This Détente

I've been categorically dismissing Busta Rhymes for nearly two decades, but my stamina is finally shot: I hereby endorse his jabberjawing on "Look At Me Now," the new Chris Brown single that also features Lil Wayne. Busta doesn't say shit, but his syllables have uncommon euphony, and I can picture 'em flitting across a musical staff like some sort of bugged-out Disney anthropomorphization. (The Brown and Wayne segments are largely forgettable, and the more I listen to the beat—an Afrojack/Diplo collaboration—the more it seems to be just a slow tangent from "Mr. Me Too" minimalism. But Busta would've stood out even if the rest of the package were stellar.) If you haven't turned on PGC or KYS in the past week, skip ahead to about 1:07 to hear what I'm talking about. It's tuff:

APPENDIX: I spent much of the '90s—"Scenario" aside—earning a reputation as a certified Busta-hater. In the '00s, I called him the world's most annoying rap superstar and questioned his belly. A Busta cameo was enough for me to reject a song offhand. I consider this review of The Big Bang as either a moment of weakness or a concession to Dr. Dre's talents. And, yeah, sure I liked that song with the Daft Punk beat, but Busta was almost incidental to its appeal; even *you* would have sounded good talking over it.

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