Busta Rhymes, born Trevor George Smith Jr. in East Flatbush on May 20, 1972, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, actor and record executive.

Rhymes, whose parents both hailed from Jamaica, briefly attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Brooklyn with rappers Biggie and Jay-Z, before moving to Uniondale in Long Island with is family.

In 1989, a year before graduating Uniondale High School, Rhymes formed hip hop group Leaders of the New School with fellow Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Cut Monitor Milo. The group signed a deal with Elektra Records right out of the gate, when Rhymes was 17 years old.

The group got its big break when it was chosen as the opening act for Public Enemy. Public Enemy’s Chuck D also gave Rhymes his moniker, after NFL wide receiver George “Buster” Rhymes.

In early 1992, the group appeared on A Tribe Called Quest’s posse cut “Scenario”. In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye).

Rhymes rose to stardom as one of great idiosyncratic personalities of rap’s golden era, famous for his incredibly complex, inventive and humorous style. He has a unique style that embraces his Jamaican heritage in both music and image, famously wearing dreads and incorporating Jamaican Patois into his lyrics.

Rhymes started his solo career in 1996 with the hit single, “Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check.” In 1998, he recorded Extinction Level Event (Final World Front). Its lead single “Gimme Some More,” sampling Bernard Herrmann’s theme from Psycho, hit No. 6 in the UK singles chart. Rhymes had more transatlantic success with the single “What’s It Gonna Be?!”, featuring Janet Jackson. The album received prominent notice for featuring the fastest rapping Busta Rhymes has performed, particularly on a song called “Iz They Wildin Wit Us?”, featuring a guest appearance by Mystikal.

Rhymes continued as a force to be reckoned with throughout the 2000s, topping charts and debuting at number one with his seventh studio album, The Big Bang.

In 2010, he formed his new label The Conglomerate Entertainment, (initially Flipmode Entertainment) and production crew The Conglomerate (formerly Flipmode Squad). And in 2011, he briefly signed with Cash Money, but left after one year.

In 2012, he released his ninth album, Year of the Dragon, as a free digital download, with tracks featuring Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Gucci Mane.

In total, he has released ten studio albums, with the first being the 1996 platinum-selling album The Coming and his latest being 2020’s Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God.

His list of hit singles include “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check”, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”, “Dangerous”, “Turn It Up” (Remix)/”Fire It Up”, “Gimme Some More”, “What’s It Gonna Be?”, “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II”, “I Know What You Want” and “Touch It”. He has also appeared on tracks for A Tribe Called Quest, Craig Mack, Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, TLC, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Twista, Diplo and Kanye West, amongst others.

About.com included Rhymes on its list of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007), while Steve Huey of AllMusic called him one of the best and most prolific rappers of the 1990s. In 2012, The Source placed him on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time and MTV has called him “one of hip-hop’s greatest visual artists.”

Rhymes has received 11 Grammy Award nominations for his work.

Busta Rhymes, we acknowledge your lyrical skill and creative and inventive style! We honor your contributions and are proud of your Brooklyn roots.

*Sources: IMdb, and Wikipedia.com


February is Black History Month! Every day this month, BK Reader will profile one Black History Maker born or raised in Brooklyn. There are countless Brooklynites– past and present– who have contributed to America’s fabric as pioneers or leaders in art, entertainment, sports, science and government. This month, we present to you 28! Click here to see all of the profiles.

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