2002 was a pretty good year, it was the year that the Winter Olympics was last held in the USA, American Idol was in its first season, Halle Berry became the first black actress to win an Oscar for Best Actress, camera phones were finally popping, and oh yea, it was the last time that Flipmode ring leader Busta Rhymes had the chance to wild out in Baltimore. Fast forward 15 years later, and the folks over at Feed The Scene had the sauce to bring the lyricist with one of the most intricate styles back to Charm City for a concert at Rams Head Live on June 29th.
Being the team player that he is, Busta Bust didn’t want to take all the fame for himself, so he let a few newcomers grace the stage first to warm the crowd up.
The first lady of Flipmode Squad Rah Digga was also in the building! Taking her place in position before her brother came out, Digga showed up and showed out with her lyrical genius, performing cuts from her debut album “Dirty Hariett” as well as her subsequent mixtapes. A standout moment in her set was when she kicked an “ode to femcees”, in which she speaks to the ladies and relying the message that you don’t have to sell yourself in order to make your craft valuable. It was great to see a woman rock the mic again without all the fluff of what we are inundated with now.
By now, everyone at Rams Head was totally fired up and ready for the main event. Making his grand entrance to the stage with his verse from M.O.P‘s “Ante Up“, the Conglomerate head honcho appeared to be extra chilled out, but that vibe didn’t last for long. As soon as the beat for “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See“, I got to witness a totally different M.C. on the stage. out went Joe Cool and entered a fireball of energy. This was my first time seeing Busta in concert, and albeit I know his music is usually uptempo, I wasn’t sure what to expect show wise. When I tell you that I was tired by the end of his set by just watching him do his thing, that would be an understatement. His level of hypeness may be natural, but some of it had to be deflected from his right hand man Spliff Star who shared the stage with him.
He personified the true essence of a 90’s artist, one who not only could crank out some dope music on wax, but also has the ability to deliver in a live performance too. The way that he commanded not only the stage, but the audience is an element that is lacking in the climate of today’s music industry, and more specifically, the hip hop artist.
For an hour straight, but what really should have been 45 minutes (Busta kept reminding everyone that he was only contracted to do a shorter set), I was taken back to a time when lyrics actually mattered in hip hop, and they were audible. With an artist who has been in the game for over 25 years, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the weight that their discography held in history, but when you get a smörgåsbord of their songs in one setting, you quickly are slapped with a reminder of how prolific their career was, and just how much you partied to many of their songs.
Thanks to the promoters for continually bringing nostalgic hip hop back to Baltimore, but we really hope that it won’t be another 15 years before Busta graces another stage here.
Check out a gallery of photos from the show, taken by our own Arturo Holmes.