Busta rhymes has revealed that not only is he a fan of newer artists remaking hip-hop and R&B classics, he believes these remakes create a unique intragenerational bond.
In a recent interview with BillboardBusta Rhymes specifically called out YG, Latto and Armani White’s remakes of hits by Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and NORE, respectively. The simple act of borrowing from songs from the ’90s and early 2000s shows that these younger artists respect the classics, he said.
Busta added that seeing music from their era brought back to life also inspires artists of his generation to take a greater interest in the new talent.
“There’s a long list of shit that the new artists are doing, so they obviously feel the need to step in with that timeless greatness,” Busta Rhymes explained. “If that’s your way of celebrating, we celebrate. But even beyond that, we just like the fact that you all think it’s cool enough to do it on your own. It’s almost like when you see one [muthafuckas] to take the initiative to do something that encourages you to want to help push them in that direction even more.”
The Flipmode Squad rapper continued to say so despite recent spats from artists seemingly disrespectful OGshe believes that the younger generation of Hip Hop stars would still love to have the support of their elders.
“A lot of times the young people actually still want the big homie to put his arm around them and give them the jewel, school them, do some shit with them and sign them,” he said. “[Young artists] always respected OG and the godfather who still looked the part. But if you don’t look the part in the current time and space, a lil’ ni—a will look at you and be like, “We respect you, AND, but I don’t know if I’m going to listen to you. Because it looks like what you’re asking us to do doesn’t even work for you anymore.”
Still, while he understands where some of the respect is coming from, Busta Rhymes made it clear that he doesn’t condone that mindset.
“Respect must still be maintained,” he said. “That doesn’t give you the green light to respect someone [elder] it might not look like they stick together. The same [artist] might have had to make a lot of sacrifices without knowing any better, whether it was through business or just being a gritty but still cutting-edge way for you to do what you do.”
As he promotes his new EP The fuse is on – which contains a sequel to A tribe called Quest‘s “Hot Sex” – Busta Rhymes touched on his own approach to adding to the legacy of classic records, stressing that the rule in his book is: “Don’t screw with the classic if you can’t meet the standard of classic or do that’s damn better.”
“It is a blasphemous act, brother,” he said. “Number one, I like to make sure the tribute is paid. The only reason I’m sharing it is because I’ve gone through the roundtable councilors who want to thumbs up or thumbs down. Because I know what it means to f–k up the classic. N-ggas don’t live that shit down, you’ll hear it forever. ‘You messed up the classic, bozo! The hell you touch it and then f–k it up?'”
The crew of advisors Busta Rhymes checks in with currently includes DJ Premier, Pete Rock, great professor, Q-Tip, 9. Wonder, Rhapsody, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Cool & Dre and DJ Khaled; although he said the circle of friends has changed to some extent over the years.
Ultimately, the motivation to revisit some of these records comes from a place of fandom, Busta Rhymes added.
“If I’m going to do a ‘Shut ‘Em Down 2002,’ or if I get involved in one Cuban Linx 2, I do these things because I remember what those records did to me to make me love that artist at the time when they were their best selves,” he said. “Being blessed to be a fan, it influenced me in this way to be brave enough to even want to fk with any follow-up to what their classic was. Understanding the importance of meeting the standard, I will revisit all those moments that I still hold on to to this day.”