When he first rose to prominence, Busta Rhymes was one of the quirkiest and most exciting native artists to come out of New York. Alongside acts such as Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Eminem, at the turn of the millennium, Busta Rhymes undoubtedly helped bring an outlandish and humour-infused form of rap to the forefront. However, before anything, he is known as a great emcee.
A product of New York City’s thriving 1990s hip-hop scene, Busta is known for his tongue-twisting verses and lyrical skill. In a similar fashion to Jay-Z, Busta grew up in 1990s Brooklyn when the New York borough was at its pinnacle as the city’s cultural hotspot. With his Jamaican roots, he was happy to add more to the melting pot of hip-hop.
However, Busta Rhymes (real name Trevor Smith) had a number of influences growing up, and in an interview with SPIN magazine, the lyricist spoke about his taste in music growing up. When it came to who influenced his flow, smith unveiled it was Big Daddy Kane who inspired him, stating, “It’s a Big Daddy Thing. Simply put, the best flow of all time.”
All of Smith’s influences were understandably from New York. Two albums that greatly impacted the artist were by DMX and Public Enemy. Elaborating on the latter, the ‘Touch It’ rhymer explained, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. I fucking cried the first time I heard it.”
Concerning DMX, Smith called his 1998 project, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, “The most exciting and challenging shit on the planet, and the start of Swizz [Beatz] busting ass for three decades.”
However, there was one project by one artist that impacted Busta more than any of the aforementioned, and it was a 1980s legend. Finally, revealing his favourite rapper, Smith stated, “Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. My greatest influence in this shit, from the way I dress and the jewellery down to the pockets in the beats where I choose to rhyme.”
You can listen to The Great Adventures of Slick Rick below.