Trevor George Smith Jr. (born May 20, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York), better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper and actor signed to Universal Motown. He began his rap career in the group Leaders of the New School, and according to Songfacts had his breakout moment when they featured on A Tribe Called Quest's hit, Scenario. Busta then released his debut album, The Coming, in 1996. He has since released 1997's When Disaster Strikes, 1998's E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, 2000's Anarchy 2001's Genesis, 2002's It Ain't Safe No More, 2006's The Big Bang and 2009's Back on My B.S. His ninth studio album, The Chemo, will be released early 2010 and is said to be 80% completed.
Born to parents Geraldine Green (1947) and Trevor George Smith Sr, and he has a younger brother, Paul Smith. His parents divorced when he 10 years old. Busta’s time during the year of 1983 was that of change, his parents got divorced and his way of thinking was altered, during that year he also changed his religious beliefs and re-named himself ‘Born Justice God Allah’ because of the supreme sorts of names that he now believed in and looked up to. He discovered hip hop music through listening to the Zulu Beats Radio Show, something influenced him from that show and three years later he would form a group. Busta also went to school in the United Kingdom, where he lived in Blackpool, Preston and Morecambe. Ended up graduating from George Westinghouse High School in downtown Brooklyn.
As a youngster he played basketball, football and soccer.
His Panamanian baby-sitter, Aunt Mitzi, made him listen to all the rap radio stations. So, He would sit there at 2 in the morning rapping when he was supposed to be sleeping. I just couldn't be too loud or Mitzi's poodle would start dancing around and barking. One night, the poodle barked and Mitzi took my radio away. So he said, "I don't need that radio. I'll write my own rap songs." Busta Rhymes later became part of a B-Boy crew with mainly latinos, a couple of white kids, and Busta, the only black one. When he was about 10 years old after he moved from Brooklyn to Long Island, where he became a member of the crew when it was a big contest happening which the leader of the crew, Johnny Juice watched. Busta just came up to him like, "Are you Johnny Juice?" and Johnny answered like "Yeah." and he said he wanted to be down with this crew. He started poppin' and Johnny said he was dope so he said "We're about to do this contest" and they wanted to put him down with them, but he didn't know the routines. But they put him down anyways and they lost the contest because they didn't know where to put him in the routine. The next contest they had was more of a battle, for the crown of best b-boys in Long Island and they had their crew there and they won. Busta destroyed these other guys, when he was poppin. Johnny Juice says "even if you listen to his rhymes now, you can tell by the way he rhymes and the way he moves around he's really dope on the popping shit".
Before his leap to stardom, Rhymes, was a rambunctious middle-class kid from Long Island who wrote "rap poetry" and dropped out of high school to pursue a music career. "I really thought he'd be a dancer," says his mother, Geraldine Green. "At family cookouts he would win all the dance contests. He was always a showman." He reminds his worst job: “I used to work as a stock boy at a department store called Cheap John’s,” he says. “I knew that I couldn’t really wrap my head around doing that kind of work. Even if your heart is not in something, your mind has to at least be able to be willing to do it. So, I took the job and I worked for about two weeks, and then I quit.” Why?
“They just had me doing too much. I had to line up the roach sprays on the shelves and make sure they were all in order, facing the same way, with the logos facing the front. The dishwashing liquids, the detergents, the boxes that they came in when they came from the actual shipping companies that they were manufactured at. After I lined them up on the shelves, I had to cut up the cardboard boxes, fold them up neatly and tie them up so that they could do the recycling thing with them. After a couple paper cuts too many, and hands that were calloused and ashy and bruised, I said ‘this is definitely not the thing for me to continue to be doing.’”
Busta adds, “I used that as inspiration to go into the studio all the time when I had a free moment. After work, during my lunch break, traveling back and forth to work … to just apply myself creatively, and the opportunity finally came one day when I was downtown.” At 17, Rhymes landed a six-figure record deal.
LONS signing with Elektra
His first name as a rapper was Chill-o-ski, but he thought it was a corny name, and Chuck D from Public Enemy gave him a new name, Busta Rhymes. He got the name from an american football player from the eighties, George "Buster" Rhymes, and people always asked him to "Bust-a-rhyme", so the choice was easy. In the end of the eighties he met Charlie Brown at Turtlehook Middle School and they formed Leaders of the New School with Dinco "The rhyme scientist" D and Milo In De Dance (aka The Cut Monitor). They were on Rush Management. They was signed to Elektra Records December 12th 1989. First Recorded Appearance: “Mt. Airy Groove” from the Rubaiyat compilation, Elektra 1990. A&R Dante Ross heard about Leaders of the New School from Hank Shocklee and Chuck D and them.He says "I knew they were one of their burgeoning groups and I also knew they didn't have a record deal. I heard they were performing and I went to check them out. I had just got my A&R gig at Elektra. I went there, saw them perform, grabbed them right after the performance and told them they had a record deal if they wanted one. LONS released 2 albums, "A future without a past" in 1991, and "T.I.M.E." in 1993. In 1992 Busta's girl was pregnant, but the baby died right after he was born, and Busta had big personal problems after that, but he got great support from his group members. In 93 they where divided because of ego in the group.
A couple of other things that made him well known before his solo career was a couple of cameo performances, among them A Tribe Called Quest's remix of "Scenario" with Leaders Of The New School, and the "Flava in ya ear remix" with Craig Mack and Rampage.
It took Busta three years before he released an album for Elektra, in 1996 he released "The Coming" with the hits "Woo hah! Got you all in check" featuring Rampage and "It's a party" featuring Zhane. while recording his debut album, he left the studio to check on his new SUV. He'd recently purchased the Toyota Land Cruiser, a giant vehicle that gives the impression of driving on an elevated track, for $40,000. Rhymes took the elevator down and came out on Broadway, in lower Manhattan, at 11:30 p.m. His ride was gone. Furious, he marched back inside and closed the door in the recording booth. "There was nothing I could do at that point, so I just vented that angry energy into three songs," he says. Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check, one of the tracks he completed by morning, went on to become a street anthem and crossover hit, his first ever.
There was a short gap between the release of Busta’s first album and his second album, but it came sooner than people imagined it to. Busta was sceptical about bootleggers copying the new album so for reviewing purposes he only sent out album samplers. In 1997 he released his second album, "When Disaster Strikes", and after that, his popularity exploded. 1998 became a very good year for Busta, he started his own clothing line, BUSHI designs, and released his third album "Extinction Level Event (The final world front)" and Flipmode Squad's debut "The Imperial". Flipmode Squad at that point included Busta Rhymes, Rah Digga, Spliff Star, Rampage, Baby Sham & Lord Have Mercy.
1999 became a year with problems for Busta, he had to visit the courthouse a couple of times because of child support, and police stopped his car and found an unregistered gun. He lost the case about child support, and he got a 5 year probation for the other case. Now Elektra started to shut him down with less studio time and promotion for his next album. Busta didn't like that, and took his squad over to J Records in 2001 after his fourth release in 2000, "Anarchy".
His first album at J was "Genesis", with the hits "What it is" featuring Kelis, "Break ya neck" & "Pass the courvoiser part 2" featuring Pharrell and P. Diddy. Now he is CEO for Flipmode Records. In november 2002 he released his most fervent album so far, "It Ain't Safe No More" with the singles "Make it clap" featuring Spliff Star, and a remix of it featuring Spliff Star and Sean Paul. Other achievements in 2002 was the movie roles he had in "Halloween: Resurrection" and "Narc". In 2003 his SUV was shot up with 6 bullets while he was in the Violator offices, that happened just a month after a couple of people shot inside their offices. The collaboration with Mariah Carey & Flipmode Squad named "I know what you want" on "It ain't safe no more" became Busta's biggest hit so far.
In February 2004, Flipmode Squad joined Aftermath Records, New members was added to the squad: M. Dollars, Labba and former Blackstreet Chauncey Black joined them. In March he got a six month probation sentence after pleading no contest to a charge that he assaulted a woman during a concert in Fall River, Massachusetts, in December 2002.
In November 2005 the first official single off the album "Touch it" was released to radio. The video premiered in December. He is now the father of four children (born in 93, 99, 00 and 02). In February, while making the second video for "The Big Bang"- the "Touch it remix" ft. Mary J. Blige, Missy, Rah Digga, Lloyd Banks, Papoose and DMX, one of his bodyguards, Israel Ramirez, who recently started working security for Busta as his jewelry handler, was shot and killed shortly after midnight outside of the Kiss The Cactus Production studio in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, NY. According to eyewitnesses, the shooting was a result of an argument that began inside the studio and continued outside.
The Aftermath chief Dr. Dre said before the release of The Big Bang that ”All of sudden I’m hearing people in the streets talking about hos Busta’s back. In my mind, he never left, and that’s why I wanted to fuck with in the first place. He’s got that drive, and he never stops trying to top himself. Anybody who knows Busta knows that he’s always gonna come with heat." His third video from "The Big Bang" was released 10th May, "I love my bitch". The video features actress Gabrielle Union and the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am, who produced the song, but Kelis who is featured on the song, was not in the video. The single also features Kelis, but she's not featured in the video. Also changed is his appearance, as he has cut off his trademark dreadlocks as part of a personal renewal. "Eight years of court appearances later and I was awarded custody of my children," he explained. "My hair was remindful of the unnecessary rocks in my career and life. So it was time to shed the locks… I've got my career and family right." "The Big Bang" was released 13th June. The fourth video was released in July, "New York shit" and the fitth video came out in August, "In the ghetto". The album was certified Gold in that month too. This month he was also charged with an assault after the Amsterjam Music Festival on Randalls Island, and he was ticketed after police saw him talking on his mobile while driving past a Manhattan police station.
On January 3rd 2007 he turned himself in to police custody after he allegedly attacking someone on Boxing Day. Lt. John Grimpel said a man told police that Rhymes, had punched and kicked him repeatedly after an argument over money. On May 3rd was arrested on a drunk driving charge by police in New York City. Officers stopped Rhymes at about 12:40 a.m. because the sport utility vehicle he was driving had overly tinted windows, officers then smelled alcohol on the rapper's breath and he was subsequently arrested. was released on $7,500 bail, set by Judge Tanya Kennedy. After a 8th May court appearance, he was free to drive. Rhymes' lawyer said a judge ruled against a prosecution motion to suspend the rapper's license following the driving-while-intoxicated arrest. He also turned down a plea deal that day that would have sent him to jail for one year, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.
Bus appeared in a Super Bowl finale commercial for Pepsi Max Diet in February. Busta Rhymes pleaded guilty on 23rd January to assault, two driving infractions and weapons possession, avoiding a trial and the yearlong prison sentence recommended by prosecutors. But Judge Larry Stevens disagreed with prosecutors that Rhymes deserved time behind bars. Instead, he sentenced him to three years' probation and 10 days of community service for beating a fan who reportedly spat on his car in August 2006, and then assaulting his driver, Larry Hackett, that December. Rhymes was also fined $1,250 for driving with a suspended license in 2006 and driving while intoxicated in 2007. "I just want to say that I'm very grateful to the judge, I'm very grateful to the system. I believe in the system. It hasn't failed me personally yet," Rhymes, dressed in a crisp black pinstripe suit, said outside the courtroom.
"I'm just glad that all of this is finally behind me and I can go back to doing what I do best - making great music and great films and being a people person," he said.
His 8th solo album "Blessed" was set for a release in July 2008. First he called it "When Hell Freeze Over" then he changed it to "Back On My B.S.", a title Pharrell helped him come up with, last it was changed to "Blessed" in April 08. Rhymes was added to Projekt Revolution 2008 (summer tour), He was joining Linkin Park, Chris Cornell, The Bravery, and Ashes Divide on the main stage. After the first week of touring he had to leave the tour because of business matters; Late July he left Interscope, because they couldn't agree with Busta how to handle the final version of the album.
In September 08 he his new deal was announced, with Motown/Universal. He then re-titled his album to "Back On My B.S." The first single was released in October 2008, called "Arab Money" featuring Ron Browz. 2 remix videos with different guests were later releases in February 09. The second single, "Hustler's Anthem 09" was released in Febuary too. The third single's video "Respect My Conglomerate" was released in March. "Back On My B.S." was released May 19th 09, and entered the Billboard chart at #5, after a lot of delays; 1st July 08, 9th Dec. 08, 10th Feb. 09, 24th March 09). In June, the video for "If you don't know" was released. The video for "World Go Round" will be released soon.