Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr. (born on May 20 1972), better known as Busta Rhymes, is a Jamaican American hip hop musician and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the name Busta Rhymes (from former NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes) after watching him perform.[1] Busta Rhymes was a member of Leaders of the New School and released two albums with the group before breaking out with a 1996 solo hit single, "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check". He is known for his often high-speed rhyme-delivery, as heard on his hits "Gimme Some More" or "Break Ya Neck".


Early years

Trevor Smith was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and is of Jamaican heritage. He was born to Rastafarian, middle-class parents. But he himself is a Muslim as he later converted to Islam. When he was 12 his family moved to Uniondale, New York, a suburb of New York City on Long Island, where he was raised and eventually met up with other artists from the growing area hip hop community, including rappers Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.. He graduated from Uniondale High School in 1991.[2]

Smith's musical career began at the age of 17 as a member of the Hip Hop crew Leaders of the New School along with fellow Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Dinco D, and Cut Monitor Milo. They began recording in 1989 and released their debut album A Future Without a Past in 1991 on Elektra Records. In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye). Soon after, however, internal problems arose within the group, and the group broke up on the set of Yo! MTV Raps. Rumors persisted that Smith clashed with Charlie Brown over creative control of the groups direction.

Soon after their debut, The Leaders of The New School became associated with the Native Tongues Posse, which led to the group's collaboration with A Tribe Called Quest on the single "Scenario." Smith's live performance of "Scenario" with A Tribe Called Quest on The Arsenio Hall Show led to a solo contract with Elektra after an A&R representative saw the program. The Leaders of the New School released their second and final album The Inner Mind's Eye (T.I.M.E.) in 1993, after which Smith began his solo career.

Elektra Years (1996-2000)

Smith's debut solo album, The Coming, was released by Elektra Records in 1996. The album was a mix of reggae and hip hop, and it included the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) top 10 single "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check." It was Busta's first release on his label, Flipmode Records. The album was met with commercial and critical success and ended up going Platinum.

His follow-up, When Disaster Strikes was successful in the US and sold well overseas. The album produced two hugely popular singles and videos in America, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and "Dangerous". The third single "Turn It Up/Fire It Up" reached as high as number 2 on the UK singles chart. The next year he released The Imperial Album as part of the Flipmode Squad, a collaborative project with rappers Rampage, Lord Have Mercy, Spliff Star, Rah Digga, and Baby Sham. It, like its predecessor would sell very well by going gold.

In 1998, Smith recorded Extinction Level Event (Final World Front), the theme of which was an assertion that the world would end in the year 2000. Its single, "Gimme Some More" – which sampled Bernard Herrmann's theme from Psycho – reached number 5 in the UK singles chart in January 1999. Smith enjoyed further transatlantic success in April when the single "What's It Gonna Be?!", featuring Janet Jackson, reached the US and UK Top 10.

In 2000, after working on several movie projects, including "Full Clip", with Xzibit, the remake of Shaft, Busta Rhymes released his final album for Elektra, Anarchy. In between album releases, Smith had a falling out with longtime label, Elektra Records. He rushed the album into stores and it had a thrown-together sound. Despite this, the album did moderately well, but did not sell on the level of his previous releases, due to his rush to get the album out there to end his contract with Elektra.

J/Arista/BMG (2000-2004)

After leaving Elektra, Smith signed to J Records, a new label started by recently ousted Arista Records chief and founder Clive Davis. In 2001 he released a greatest hits record alongside a new album of original work.

Continuing the Biblical theme of his previous albums, he titled his record Genesis. The album featured collaborations with Mary J. Blige, P. Diddy, Kelis, and many more. Genesis was powered by the hit single with Kelis, "What It Is," and his solo hit single released in November 2001, "Break Ya Neck." The final single was the summer smash "Pass The Courvoisier," which featured Pharrell and P. Diddy. Despite the two powerful singles, this album did not sell as well as his previous releases.

In 2002, Smith released his sixth studio album It Ain't Safe No More. The album was moderately successful, with a hit song featuring Mariah Carey and the Flipmode Squad called "I Know What You Want." Another hit song was "Make It Clap", featuring Spliff Starr. The remix of "Make It Clap" featured Sean Paul. After its release, he left J Records. In 2004, he signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment.

Aftermath/Interscope (2004-present)

File:Busta Rhymes Vegas April 6.jpg

In November 2005, Smith cut off his trademark dreadlocks during a photo shoot in a New York barbershop owned by producer Cory Rooney. The shop is featured on an MTV show titled The Shop. "I started growing [my hair] in December '89. I was 17," he said. "I signed my [record] deal and said I ain't combing my hair no more. I don't have to." He says the haircut was symbolic of a change in his music and the new record deal.

His seventh studio album, The Big Bang, became the first #1 album of his career. The CD sold over 209,000 copies in its first week to earn the top spot on The Billboard Top 200. [3] The album also became his highest charting album in the UK, peaking at #19 there. Some of the album was leaked on the Internet, and as a result several songs were left off the album and new ones added. The Big Bang featured more production by Dr. Dre than Smith's previous releases, as well as appearances by Raekwon and Nas. The singles that have been released from the album are, "Touch It," "I Love My Bitch," featuring Kelis and, "New York Shit," and "In The Ghetto." Smith also had a stint opening for Mariah Carey's The Adventures of Mimi Tour. Also, Smith performed with Eminem on "Touch It Remix Part 5". Others such as Jae Millz and Ne-Yo appeared as well.

On November 27, 2007, Smith and Mick Boogie released Dillagence, a mixtape of new tracks featuring Smith with J Dilla on production.[4]

Busta is set to appear on Lil Wayne's sixth album, Tha Carter III, due in May 2008.


On August 20, 2006, he was arraigned for charges of third-degree assault after attacking a man who reportedly spat on his car in New York City on August 12 after the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randalls Island. [5]

On October 24, 2006, he appeared at Manhattan Criminal Court as the district attorney's office attempted to amend previous charges against him to include weapons possession for a machete found in his car. The judge, ShawnDya Simpson, refused to add the charge and adjourned the case.[6][7]

On February 20, 2007, Smith refused a plea deal offered by the prosecutors office for the assault of his former driver, Edward Hatchett. The deal would have entailed six months in jail and pleading guilty to two assaults, the attack on Hatchett, and the attack on the former fan. The dispute with Hatchett is believed to have been originated over back pay Hatchett felt he was owed. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Tanya Kennedy offered Smith another option, pleading guilty to third-degree assault. The conditions of the proposed sentence would include: five days of community service, two weeks of youth lectures and six months of anger management classes, as well as three years of probation. On 18 March 2008 a judge in New York City sentenced Smith to 3 years probation, 10 days community service, $1250 in fines (plus court costs), and to enroll in a drunken driving program. [7][8][9] [10]

On May 3, 2007, according to the UK's 1Xtra TXU news broadcast, Smith was arrested on a drunk driving charge in New York City. Officers stopped him at about 12:40 a.m. because the sport utility vehicle he was driving had overly tinted windows, officers then smelled alcohol on his breath and he was subsequently arrested. An arraignment was expected later that day.



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