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Busta Rhymes - Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (Album Review)

Monday, 16 November 2020 Written by Milly McMahon

Fired up and full of purpose, rap legend Busta Rhymes calls his fans to arms on 'Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God'. Landing 12 years on from part one (subtitled ‘The Final World Front’), eight from his last record and six from its initial announcement with a handful of since-scrapped singles in 2014, it delivers off a long run up in a big way.

Rallying heavyweight backing from Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Q-Tip, Anderson .Paak and long time collaborator Mariah Carey, among others, Busta has laid down a concept-heavy record that speaks of the racism, right wing populism and police brutality that has consumed America. 

Drawing on his rapid-fire flow and sinister baritone, this is perhaps Busta's most incensed material to date. But he has not reinvented himself, instead he has aged with the fiery finish of an intense shot of bourbon.

The production on 'Extinction Level Event 2' is masterful, with golden era swatches roughed up and manipulated by a team including DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, Nottz and DJ Scratch.

Busta pairs with Vybz Kartel on The Don and the Boss, and the duo match each other's fast-paced energy, but the Rapsody collaboration Best I Can illuminates him in a different light. A vintage soul track breezes along behind Busta as he thrashes through broken relationships and the stress of being an imperfect co-parent.

Firing the audience up like an emcee at a boxing match, Chris Rock introduces the armageddon theme early and Busta doubles down at every turn, even while showing his ambidextrous pop side alongside Carey on the deceptively weird R&B jam Where I Belong. Every turn of this labyrinth-like album feels deliberate, and they are navigated with angst and intelligence. Here’s an album to push us into a better 2021.

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