With just a few words this afternoon, comedy legend and Hip-Hop fanatic Chris Rock pushed the button, officially launching the countdown to one of the most highly anticipated releases of the past ten years, a megaton bomb being unleashed by one of Rock’s closest friends. “You n****s can’t fuck with the God Busta Rhymes!” Rock continuously chants in a video posted to his Instagram page on August 17th as he announces the impending arrival of Busta’s tenth studio album, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) 2: The Wrath of God. The project, which has been the subject of rumors and speculation for nearly a decade, arrives 22 years after the original, a groundbreaking album which, in 1998, cemented Busta’s status as a rising Hip-Hop legend.
“This is the longest album I’ve ever worked on in my career,” Busta said of E.L.E. 2 in 2014, when he was four years into the process. But the album’s arrival six years later is far from a delay. It is the result of a master taking the time to craft a masterpiece, a career defining and culture shifting opus. “This ain’t a ‘hot’ album, this is a legacy album,” he added. “I’m working on an album with over 20 years of experience in the game. I’m probably one of three dudes in Hip-Hop today that whoops anybody’s ass on a record, that can say they’re this many years in the game, and still has the relevance and the market value to influence the climate. I’ve taken my time to really apply that experience to this album.”
While he continues to hold the details of his forthcoming release close to the vest, preferring to let the music speak for itself, rap luminaries such as 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Nas, Raekwon and Rapsody have already taken to social media to attest to the fact that this project is certain to change the climate of the culture. Busta has also given early access to the project to an elite few music journalists, all of whom have proclaimed it his greatest album to date.
In addition to being Busta’s first commercial release in 11 years, the new album also holds the distinction of being the first sequel in his storied career. “I always felt like those albums – Extinction Level Event and When Disaster Strikes – were extremely special to my catalogue,” he once explained. “And I never wanted to disrespect the legacy of those projects by falling short in the slightest capacity.” When it was released, the original, E.L.E.: The Final World Front, was Busta Rhymes’ third solo album in as many years. Released on December 15, 1998, the project attained RIAA platinum certification in less than one month and went on to remain on the Billboard 200 album charts for 32 consecutive weeks. E.L.E. spawned four of Busta’s biggest hits – “Tear Da Roof Off,” “Party Goin On Over Here,” and the Grammy-nominated singles, “Gimme Some More” and “What’s It Gonna Be?!” featuring Janet Jackson. It also remains his only Grammy-nominated album so far.
As he delivers this newest body of work, Busta Rhymes does so as one of Hip-Hop’s undisputed elder statesmen. But don’t get it twisted: he remains one of the most competitive emcees in the game, as evidenced by singles and features released over the past ten years including the Nicki Minaj-assisted “#TwerkIt!” and Chris Brown’s classic “Look At Me Now.” With E.L.E. 2, he fully intends to put the rap game on tilt yet again, while continuing the work he started when he proclaimed “only five years left” back in 1995. “The spoken Prophecy has been going on for over two decades,” he says. “Now we are here! It will never get any realer than this.”