He might be known to many as the clown price of hip-hop, but Busta Rhymes is no joke. Taking the stage last Wednesday night at D.C.’s Nation nightclub, Busta Rhymes and the other members of the Flip Mode Squad ascended with a fire in their eyes. Draped in pulsating red and blue gelled lights, the rapper delivered a stage show defined by its moments of intense fury and comic hilarity. He’s a serious rapper, but the man also knows how to have a good time
Stage commentary bordered on the hilarious as rappers took pot-shots at one another challenging each other to drink and do drugs. Busta danced freely, swinging his arms and contorting his face like a cartoon character. Upon the urging of the other Flip Mode members and an excited crowd, Busta took a pill mid-set that was said to inspire incoherently speedy rapping. The pills supposed effects were immediate, and the group burst into a series of outrageously complicated and fast-paced songs.
Busta sang a mix of his popular hits, classic songs and new tunes. He dipped often into his new album, The Genesis (J-Records), but was careful not to bombard listeners with all new material. Songs such as “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and “Woo HA!” were unmistakable crowd pleasers.
Sadly, a number of fights broke out in the crowd as the show progressed, bringing an immediate response from the stage. Rappers ceased their song and issued a challenge to the combatants, threatening to intervene in the fighting if it continued. Nation’s security, on its game, immediately removed problem audience members, and the concert resumed smoothly.
With no opener, Busta had the difficult task of playing as the evening’s sole entertainment. A disc jockey kept the crowd at bay before the performance, but anticipation ran high. Busta managed his task plowing through his hour-and-a-half set unrelentingly and leaving the crowd exhausted but elated. The audience had laughed, cried and finally bowed to superior rapping skills of Busta Rhymes and the Flip Mode Squad.