Busta Rhymes : London Hammersmith Apollo


Busta Rhymes is massive. Not necessarily in a physical sense – though he cuts an imposing figure – but in a metaphysical kinda way. Such is the phenomenal power of this, his second ever London show, that you’d swear there were ten or more Busta Rhymes s onstage. Yet it’s just him, fellow Flipmode Crew MC Spliff Starr, and an uncredited DJ here tonight: what presence.

Enthusiasts who’ve never caught a live US hip-hop show are treated to some of the musical pyrotechnics, crowd manipulation techniques, and riotous energy that sometimes makes such events literally dangerous: the electronically sculpted sub-bass in itself is enough to make your temples throb. Meanwhile Busta himself proves just how underrated he is as an hardcore hip-hop MC with the seamless verbal flow on 40 non-stop bars of ‘Holla’, or in conjunction with Spliff Starr on ‘Pass The Courvoisier’.

And, although entertainment value abounds with irrepressible airings of hits like ‘Woo-Hah…’ and ‘Turn It Up/Fire It Up’, it’s impossible to forget the severe ghetto edge – traced from Jamaican dancehalls to Brooklyn basement clubs – bubbling beneath the surface. Phenomenal.

Dele Fadele