Busta Rhymes -- The Big Bang (Aftermath/Interscope)

Album Review by Garrett Caples
San Francisco Bay Guardian June 28, 2006

It's hard not to compare The Big Bang to E-40's recent My Ghetto Report Card (BME/Warner): Both are "relaunches" of rappers who never really fell off, and have many more albums left in them. But where 40's hookup with Lil Jon seemed like a stroke of brilliance, the teaming of Busta with Dr. Dre has a slight air of corporate reshuffling, like Clive Davis handing Jimmy Iovine the keys and saying, "See what you can do." Trouble is, Dre isn't as interested in Busta as Lil Jon is in 40. Dre produces five tracks, tweaks half a dozen more, and mixes all, yet he feels fairly remote. Of his tracks, only the Missy Elliot feature, "How We Do It Over Here," is single-worthy, though it sounds like Dre biting hyphy, an impression reinforced by Missy's "Pop ya colla like this/Bottles up like this" chant.

If Dre isn't putting up his best, you can be sure everyone else is. The Swizz Beatz–produced single, "Touch It," is old but retains its charms, although the same can't be said for Swizz's vocalizations on the otherwise fine DJ Scratch track, "New York Shit." Probably the two best numbers are J-Dilla's fat, soulful Fender Rhodes groove, "You Can't Hold a Torch," and Timbaland's frenetically minimalist, quasi-African "Get Down," which makes you wonder what kind of album he would cook up if he had Busta at his disposal. As a whole, The Big Bang isn't disappointing, but it doesn't quite live up to expectations.

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