On Busta Rhymes’s “Number One” Featuring Akon and T.I.


A week or so ago, Sean Fennessey somewhat mischievously asked “Does Busta Rhymes Have A Classic On The Way?”, a question that was brilliant in the sense that the more you thought about it, to more it started to look like it might be true. Back on B.S. was actually going to be a good album–“album of ’09 (so far) cinched,” wrote Sean, with apologies to OJ Da Juiceman.

Classic, as Sean readily admitted, wasn’t quite the word, but look at the output: “Conglomerate,” a song that as far as pure directionless fire goes, is up there with “Yes” and a bare handful of other ’09 songs (Jadakiss mixtape, coming today!); “Arab Money,” which did damage on HOT97 in a very real way, despite being kinda idiotic; “Wack,” vintage Busta just clowning people over a seriously head-knock slice of synths and snares; decent remixes on “Talk Go Through Us” and “Rockin’ That Shit“; and now “Number One,” which looks to be the second single here, after “Arab Money.”

If you’re going to go out and get Akon to sing your hook in 2009, it might as well be on something like this: soaring, graduation-type valedictory keys, Akon doing that sad-triumphant thing, boasting about being a champion and telling haters to step off. And, of course, T.I. is the perfect guest on a track that’s basically gunning for “Live Your Life”-level money/play: a guy who excels at never-stop-my-grind weariness, always good for lots of nostalgia and very little actual regret. Busta, who was a motivational speaker-type rapper long before Jeezy, at least when he cared to be, is in full on let’s-get-it mode here: “Any situation when you might get fed up/ Gotta stay focused, homie keep your head up…Live to the fullest for the dream you’re pursing/ Ain’t nothing in the world can really stop what you’re doing” Corny, but effective. [2DopeBoyz]