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Busta Rhymes 

Anarchy (Elektra)

It seems rapper Busta Rhymes was wrong about that Y2K apocalypse thing after all. He even sort of acknowledges it on his fourth album, which comes off as a variation on the end of the world theme that he's been touting since his first album came out four years ago. Judgment day may not have come, but that doesn't make Busta rest any easier at night. He still gets overexcited about the state of the world, and if you read between Anarchy's lines, you'll hear that Busta still believes it's just a matter of time before we all go to hell.

While he's mostly spinning in space here, Anarchy is really just the next sequence in his pseudophilosophical worldview. Thoughts and words don't explode as wildly as they have on his previous three albums, but the manic energy that Busta and the Flipmode Squad bring to this long album (it clocks in at 78 minutes) is right on par with the crew's most recent work. It's also predictable. While the guest rappers (including DMX, Jay-Z, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah, as well as retro hack guitarist Lenny Kravitz) don't quite best Busta, they do come close. Working with more flexible beats allows Busta to move around melodies more often, but it also tends to tame the caged tiger that he can often be.

Busta is most focused as a singles artist. "Woo Hah! Got You All in Check" and "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" are two of the late '90s' most playful hip-hop jams, and "Get Out!!," Anarchy's contribution to the canon, fills the new millennium spot passably. It snatches a page from the Jay-Z playbook -- a children's choir supplies the sing-song chorus à la "Hard Knock Life" -- but it also, because of Busta's frenzied rhymes, brings the approach to a level Jay-Z's more relaxed inflection can't. The juxtaposition between the innocence and the rough street pitch is also pretty damn funny. Busta hasn't lost his sense of humor; it still rings throughout Anarchy. Even if it all sounds pretty familiar, chances are nothing is going to change Busta -- not even the end of the world.

More by Michael Gallucci

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