Review Summary: Sittin in casinos like I'm gamblin with Arafat.
Following up a mediocre record in 2006's The Big Bang
shouldn't be difficult. "Arab Money" hit the airwaves in October of 2008, introduced an awful dance involving pointing to an invisible spatial object, yet also established a modicum of expectation for a truly solid club oriented record. Granted, these expectations were still low - you'd be surprised at how easily a harmonic minor melody, a Surah verse, and satire on middle eastern excess can influence certain Arab reviewers. But no matter, Back on My B.S.
disappoints regardless, making it a point of no contest that the Busta Rhymes of old is gone forever.
If it was a mystery to anyone the "secret" to mainstream success is a catchy hook and a dope, danceable beat (see 2008's LAX
and Paper Trail
for impressive execution of this strategy). The thing is, most of the production here is so dated, any time traveler could mistake it for a 20th century record; every track could have easily been constructed on a battery-powered Casio keyboard. "Shoot For the Moon" suggests a larger than life Busta, complete with a volume-static, reverb-excessive, repetitive synth chord, frustratingly off-key hook, tinny boom-claps, and pedestrian rhymes about being awesome. The truly bothersome aspect, though, is the ridiculous gangsta posturing throughout - especially unbelievable after a cameo on a Gym Class Heroes record, a conscious background, and a rapid approach towards 40.
Regardless of his typical ferocious delivery, Busta's rhymes have become lazy - coupled with sparse content, this is only a recipe for failure. Nearly the worst track on a record where the best is merely mediocre, dancehall-influenced "Kill Dem" embodies all of the above with a pure lack of creativity. The only saving grace for Back on My B.S.
is less than a handful of coherent productions, seemingly torn from the instrumental version of any 2008 single. Jadakiss, Weezy, T-Pain, and a slew of other guests perform admirably (as the latter two have with nearly every mainstream hip-hop record in the past year). If only the title stood for "Back on My Bachelors of Science," Busta's career would have a more hopeful outlook - but as it stands, he should stick to singles.