Hip-Hop Guru Bussa Buss Steps Things Up
In an original, exciting way and with a fresh new sound, Bussa Buss (as he’s affectionately known in the Rap world) makes his long awaited return to Hip-hop global charts and there’s definitely a massive buzz surrounding this at the moment. However, believe it or not, Trevor Taheim Smith Jr. known to us as Busta Rhymes is actually a protégé of the Reggae school… so, let’s just drop a little history on ya’ll…
Hip-hop sons of Jamaican parentage have that raw Reggae vibe entrenched within them so, naturally, it comes out in their music. Though not by coincidence, Jamaica is where the fundaments of Hip-hop began back in the early ‘70s when ‘toasters’ (deejays) would ‘chat’ over the instrumental side (version) of a popular tune. When the USA latched onto it and the Rap culture became epidemic, the music obviously outgrew the confines of ‘the Streets’ and middle America embraced it as their own. However, the creative and artistic forces remained true to their foundation and ‘the Streets’ took on a whole new meaning.
So, that’s why when Busta Rhymes first landed on the music scene with none other than the Dancehall maestro, Buju Banton collaborating on the sublime Reggae track ‘Wicked Act’ (lifted from Banton’s 1995 ‘Voice Of Jamaica’ set for Mercury Records) everyone thought Busta was a Bashment artist! He later dropped ‘Woah’ which had instilled his career-defining flow on the Reggae / Hip-hop hybrid and the typecast was set at that time. Other Hip-hop moguls like KRS One and Pete Rock had also used this ‘special brew’ back in the day to great effect… so there you have it. Still, quite often these days, an ‘A Class’ Hip-hop, Rap or R&B artist (Jay-Z, Nas, Beyonce, Mary J Blige, R Kelly, Rhianna etc.) will remind us of their own origins via the Reggae / Dancehall / Soca beats that will bless their albums and give it that seal of approval.
Obviously, Bussa Bus has evolved since then continuing to rejuvenate his multi-genre creative juices and dropping untold amounts of Hip-hop bangers (albums and singles) that have seen him soar the dizzy heights of Hip-hop stardom and amass a pretty impressive global fan-base. And, although he lost the dreadlocks - a leaner, clean cut Busta continues that unshakable Reggae flow into 2011 as he recently teamed up with Jamaica’s Dancehall dons DeMarco and Movado for more of the same. No doubt, Busta’s distinguishable style and ability to reinvent his live performances will go down a treat at any one of the top billings that he's scheduled to attend this year.
West London’s Tornado Has Risen
He totally arrested the imagination of the young and old alike with songs like his ‘role model’ type rhyme ‘Black Boys’. And, just like that, Bashy became an unstoppable force but… according to the ‘Streets’, he’s not even warmed up yet! “I’m a street, social commentator. I talk about life. I talk about what’s going on, things that people can relate to”. Ok… that’s why he’s so popular. Mantras like ‘Life’, ‘Fantasy’, ‘4 O’clock In The Morning’, ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ and his new tune ‘Make My Day’ are all self penned tracks, delivered with clarity, confidence and infectious word play that ruthlessly commands the unsuspecting listener’s attention.
Ashley ‘Bashy’ Thomas’ rise to fame has been highlighted with some awesome moments including his starring role in the UK Box Office smash ‘Shank’ - gracing No.10 Downing Street for meetings with the Prime Minister as an Ambassador for the ‘No To Knives’ campaign - supervising soundtracks for not one but three films (Shank, Freestyle and Adulthood) and receiving MOBO award nods for Best UK Act plus Best Album (2009) and Best Video (2008). Here we have an artist who has captivated the underground and is crossing over with the ease that Will Smith demonstrated in the years before he became Hollywood’s highest paid male actor. Having been raised in Ladbroke Grove, a breeding ground for some of London’s most creative talents, Bashy soon found himself in demand at local clubs and parties where he earned the respect of battling other popular lyricists of the time. Add to this Bashy’s work with multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning act Gorillaz; tours with chart sensation Chipmunk and his turn at the Glastonbury Festival… you can see why he’s having a rollercoaster ride to the top of the game.
The Consummate Rapper/Singer Turned Actress
Queen Latifah was certainly not the first female Rapper but, she was the first one to become a bona fide superstar, currently standing as the genre’s richest and most successful. She had more charisma than her predecessors and her strong, intelligent, no-nonsense persona made her arguably the first MC who could properly be described as feminist. Latifah started her career beat-boxing until a local DJ heard a demo version of her single ‘Princess Of The Posse’ and got her signed to Tommy Boy Records. In 1989, when Latifah was just 18, she released her first album ‘All Hail The Queen’ which, was a critical and commercial success followed by the now classic, ‘Nature Of A Sista’. Her next joint, ‘Black Reign’ was the first album ever to go gold from a female MC - it contained the hit single ‘U.N.I.T.Y’ which earned her a Grammy Award for ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’.
She made her feature film debut in Spike Lee’s acclaimed ‘Jungle Fever’ and began refining a screen persona that would be equally adept in both drama and comedy. After progressively more prominent roles in ‘Set It Off’, ‘Living Out Loud’ and ‘The Bone Collector’, she was given her own television programme ‘The Queen Latifah Show’ in 1999. Since then, she has been continually recognised for her acting career, earning nominations for both an Academy and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in ‘Chicago’. In 2003, she was also awarded the BET Award for Best Actress. On 4 January 2006, Latifah received a star on the prestigious ‘Hollywood Walk Of Fame’ - she is the first female Hip-hop artist to be given such an honour.
AWE… Rapping His Way To The Top
Awe (Andrew Wayne Edmead) is a 23-year- old Rapper, Producer and Songwriter hailing from the UK’s second city Birmingham. In 2002, Awe began writing lyrics after being inspired to by Rapper Nas’s song ‘Book Of Rhymes’. Seven years later and he has a self-created album ready to change the world. Awe has been through tough times in his short life and faced many trials along the way of his life’s journey which has inspired the album ‘The Mirror’, a true reflection of his experiences and aspirations for the future. The album title ‘The Mirror’ comes from the Chinese belief that there are three main powers in the world, the diamond (monetary power), the sword (military power) and the most powerful of these the mirror (the power of reflection and your ability to look forward and plan ahead). Awe is a reflective learner which means he learns by looking back at things which is how he manages to incorporate everything he sees and lives back into his cleverly worded lyrics. Awe made the album partly as a form of therapy for himself and also to inspire other young people who go through the trials of life.
After collaborating with his childhood friend (spending whole summers perfecting beats) his only way to test the results was to Rap them in which he soon found his voice and mode of creative energy expression plus noticed a gifted talent for intellectual wordplay mixed with harsh real life experiences. The entire album was written and produced out of Awe’s bedroom showing that you really can take nothing and turn it into something which Awe 100% believes is true. In the mist of a recession and having left University in 2008 to concentrate on his musical career, it has taken two years of ‘trials tribulations’ and many setbacks to get to this point where Awe now finds himself ready to open himself up to the world fuelled even more by the things life has thrown at him. Living in one of the most poorly hit areas of Birmingham by the recession, Awe hasn’t let the position affect him. In a current financial climate that has young people suffering from lack of opportunity, Awe has used his entrepreneurial background to make an opportunity for himself in the form of ‘The Mirror’.
This album will inspire many young people around the world who lack hope in this day and age and will enlighten all who take a listen into the life of a very special 23-year-old who has the world at his feet. The set will also show people that anything is possible, when you put your mind to it, you can achieve it. The city has really influenced this album from the surroundings to the people who Awe has come into contact with whilst performing in there. ‘The Mirror’ is definitely a spark that will light the flame to encourage a talent explosion…