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Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known as Busta Rhymes (born May 20, 1972), is a Grammy-nominated Americanmarker rapper, songwriter, and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the name Busta Rhymes (from former NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes).

Life and career

Early years

Smith was born in East Flatbush, Brooklynmarker to Jamaicanmarker parents Cherry Green and Trevor Smith.

Early career – Elektra

Smith's musical career began at the age of 17 as a member of the hip hop crew Leaders of the New School along with fellow Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Dinco D, and Cut Monitor Milo. They began recording in 1989 and released their debut album A Future Without a Past in 1991 on Elektra Records. In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. . Busta Rhymes' standout performance in A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario' propelled him into the cultural conscience. Soon after, however, internal problems arose because of Busta's increasing popularity, which created fierce jealousies, and the group broke up on the set of Yo! MTV Raps.

Smith broke out with a 1996 solo hit single, "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check" from his platinum record album The Coming. His second album, When Disaster Strikes, released in 1997, produced the hit singles "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and "Dangerous".

In 1998, Smith recorded Extinction Level Event . Its single, "Gimme Some More" — which sampled Bernard Herrmann's theme from Psycho — reached number 5 in the UK singles chart in January 1999. Smith enjoyed further transatlantic success in April when the single "What's It Gonna Be?!", featuring Janet Jackson, reached the US and UK Top 10. The album received prominent notice for featuring the fastest rapping Smith has yet done, on a song called "Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin' Rowdy Wit Us?", featuring a guest appearance by Mystikal.

J/Arista/BMG (2000-2004)

After Smith signed to J Records, a label started by the then recently ousted Arista Records chief and founder Clive Davis, he released a greatest hits collection alongside a new album of original work.

Continuing the Biblical theme of his previous albums, he titled his record Genesis. The album featured collaborations with Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, Kelis, and others. Genesis was powered by the hit single with Kelis, "What It Is," and his solo single released in November 2001, "Break Ya Neck." The final single was the summer smash "Pass The Courvoisier Part 2," which featured Pharrell and P. Diddy. Despite the success of the two singles, this album did not sell as well as previous releases.

In 2002, Smith released his sixth studio album It Ain't Safe No More. The album was moderately successful, with a hit song featuring Mariah Carey and the Flipmode Squad called "I Know What You Want." Another hit song was "Make It Clap", featuring Spliff Starr. The remix of "Make It Clap" featured Sean Paul. After its release, he left J Records. In 2004, he signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment.

Aftermath/Interscope (2004-2008)

Busta Rhymes performing in 2006.

His seventh studio album, The Big Bang, became the first #1 album of his career. The CD sold over 209,000 copies in its first week to earn the top spot on The Billboard Top 200.The album also became his highest charting album in the UK, peaking at #19. Some of the album was leaked on the Internet, and as a result several songs were left off the album and new ones added. The Big Bang featured more production by Dr. Dre than Smith's previous releases, as well as appearances by Raekwon and Nas. The singles that have been released from the album are, "Touch It", "I Love My Chick", featuring Kelis and Will.I.Am, "New York Shit", and "In The Ghetto". Smith also had a stint opening for Mariah Carey's The Adventures of Mimi Tour. Also, Smith performed with Eminem on "Touch It Remix Part 5". He also did a song with Linkin Park called "We Made It", featuring Jae Millz and Ne-Yo.

On July 17, 2008, Smith left Interscope/Aftermath due to a creative clash with Interscope head Jimmy Iovine. It was later revealed that Smith inked a deal with Universal Motown, who released his eighth studio album, Back on My B.S., on May 19, 2009. He also appeared on Asher Roth's debut album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle.

Universal Motown (2008—present)

Back on My B.S.

Smith released his eighth studio album Back on My B.S. on May 19, 2009 via Universal Motown. The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, selling 56,000 copies, and was his first album to not receive an RIAA certification, selling 122,000 copies to date. The singles that have been released from the album are, "Arab Money", featuring Ron Browz, "Hustler's Anthem '09", featuring T-Pain and "Respect My Conglomerate". The song "World Go Round", featuring Britishmarker singer Estelle, was released in Francemarker on April 6, 2009 due to the heavy rotation of a leaked version. The single was be released in the UK on July 13, 2009.

Due to controversial content, the United Arab Emirates marker has banned the album. Back on My B.S. was released internationally, but because of one song, "Arab Money", it is not available to buy as a CD there (however, the album can still be purchased via iTunes). According to the National Media Council, the lyrics were considered to be offensive to Arabs and to Islam, and permission for distribution was therefore denied. Some DJs, artists and fans have lambasted the track, saying it portrayed Arabs in a stereotypical way. The first part out of three of the remix by Rhymes contains verses from the Quran.

In November, when "Arab Money" was released as a single, DJ Dany Neville and the Iraqi rapper The Narcicyst were so offended by the song that they recorded a reply. Smith later apologised. DJs in the country said they had not received an order banning the record from being spun in nightclubs, and they had mixed feelings on whether the record was offensive or not. DJ Saif of Dubaimarker said:
 The Emirati DJ Bliss, who has his own show on Radio 1 in Dubai, also says he no longer plays "Arab Money". He added:

The Chemo

Smith announced that he his working on his upcoming ninth studio album entitled The Chemo. He says that his next project is 80 percent finished. Canadian producer Boi-1da is currently working on the album.

Legal issues

On August 20, 2006, he was arraigned for charges of third-degree assault after attacking a man who reportedly spat on his car in New York City on August 12 after the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randall's Islandmarker.

On October 24, 2006, he appeared at Manhattanmarker Criminal Court as the district attorney's office attempted to amend previous charges against him to include weapons possession for a machete found in his car. The judge, ShawnDya Simpson, refused to add the charge and adjourned the case.

On February 20, 2007, Smith refused a plea deal offered by the prosecutors office for the assault of his former driver, Edward Hatchett. The deal would have entailed six months in jail and pleading guilty to two assaults, the attack on Hatchett, and the attack on the former fan. The dispute with Hatchett is believed to have originated over back pay Hatchett felt he was owed. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Becki Rowe offered Smith another option, pleading guilty to third-degree assault. The conditions of the proposed sentence would include five days of community service, two weeks of youth lectures and six months of anger management classes, as well as three years of probation. On March 18, 2008 a judge in New York Citymarker sentenced Smith to three years' probation, 10 days' community service, $1250 in fines (plus court costs), and to enroll in a drunken driving program.

On September 25, 2008, he was temporarily refused entry to the UK due to "unresolved convictions".


Smith is a Muslim, though he was formerly a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths, he has publicly stated that he embraces Islam and being part of his life.He adds, “I used that as inspiration to go into the studio all the time when I had a free moment. After work, during my lunch break, traveling back and forth to work … to just apply myself creatively, and the opportunity finally came one day when I was downtown.” At 17, he landed a six-figure record deal.



See also


  1. USA WEEKEND Magazine
  2. Busta Rhymes Biography (May 20, 1973-)
  3. Rhymes and reason | From the Guardian | The Guardian
  4. allmusic Biography
  5. name=universalmotown> Exclusive: Busta Rhymes Signs with Universal Motown. Accessed September 17, 2008.
  8. FEATURE: Boi-1da, A Star Is Born XXL. Accessed on October 2, 2009.
  9. Woo Hah! Judge's Got Busta All in Check! - - Entertainment News, Celebrity Gossip and Hollywood Rumors
  10. Interview

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