No joke, Busta Rhymes headlines festival

    The whispered rumors are true: Busta Rhymes will be headlining this year’s Sun God festival.

    Arguably one of rap’s most recognizable stars, Busta Rhymes got his start as part of Leaders of the New School, a hip-hop group he formed with three of his classmates (MCs Charlie Brown, Dinco D. and Cut Monitor Milo) at Uniondale High School in Long Island, N.Y. Right off the bat, the group grabbed a record deal with Elektra Records when Busta was only 17 years old. Their single “Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsense” brought them popularity in the underground hip-hop scene. The song helped Leaders of the New School gain respect, thanks to their Afrocentric philosophy and hard-hitting rap style. After releasing two albums (Future Without a Past in 1991; T.I.M.E. in 1993), the band broke up and Busta headed off to make it on his own.

    Following appearances on several projects with some of music’s most well-known and respected artists (such as A Tribe Called Quest on “Scenario” and Craig Mack on “Flava in Ya Ear”), Busta appeared in the film “Higher Learning” in 1995, which helped him garner a solo contract with Elektra Records. His first single, “Woo hah!! Got You All In Check,” received massive airplay and made him a household name. The single also helped the success of his first album, The Coming, which went gold and hit the top 10. This success continued with 1997’s When Disaster Strikes, which debuted at number three. His early success has helped cement his popularity: 2002’s It Ain’t Safe No Mo’ went to number ten on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Album Chart.

    But Busta isn’t just musically talented: he’s crossed over into acting. Playing in such films as “Finding Forrester,” “Narc,” and “Shaft,” it’s no wonder he’s been called “hip-hop’s chameleon” by Rolling Stone.

    Musically, Busta’s rapping style is quirky, aggressive and energetic. The combination of his throaty, scratchy voice, fast raps, dancehall-style beats (influenced by his Jamaican heritage) and raw hip-hop style have made him immensely popular. His award-winning videos match his musical approach — edgy and striking. Along with his unique approach to hip-hop, Busta is considered to be one of rap’s more groundbreaking artists, bringing both intellect and excitement to the genre.

    In addition to solo ventures, Busta has also joined forces with some of the top rap artists, working with Missy Elliot, Timbaland, P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, the Neptunes, Pete Rock and Snoop Dogg, among many others. Aside from rap artists, he has also worked with other top artists that fall outside of the hip-hop genre; “I Know What You Want” featured Mariah Carey, while “One” featured Erykah Badu. This versatility has helped him acquire a wide fan base.

    Don’t expect to stand back and be bored this Sun God — watching Busta is an experience in itself. Whatever you’ve seen in his videos — color, energy, pseudo-insanity — all comes to life on stage, making him one lively entertainer. This exuberance helps bring a crowd to its feet — something that some would say is needed here at UCSD.

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