Busta Rhymes Is 40

Trevor Tahiem “Busta Rhymes” Smith, Jr. occupies a singular place in hip-hop history. He is a super-good rapper, blessed with a flow as quick and nimble and flexible as any we’ve ever heard. He’s never put together truly great songs, though, or albums you want to listen to all the way through. He’s perhaps most famous for his guest appearances on other peoples’ songs — beginning with his jaw-dropping verse on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” in 1991, he earned a reputation as the genre’s greatest scene stealer. (Andre 3000 has since stolen that crown.) What Busta is, though, I think, is hip-hop’s greatest video artist. He is the very definition of “animated” and his collaborations with Hype Williams in the late ’90s set a new standard for rap video — showed how they could be something more than, better, beyond, the music they were set to. Busta turns 40 today.* Let’s celebrate with five of his groundbreaking performances.



* We’re lying about his age because we love him. He’s 41, shh.