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POP MUSIC REVIEWS

Busta Rhymes Gives Rap a Joyous Airing

November 04, 1997|SARA SCRIBNER

Last year, Busta Rhymes was widely dismissed as rap's court jester because of his wacky lyrical style and outrageous outfits, but two consecutive hits have bolstered his credibility.

In fact, he enjoys one of the highest profiles in rap; a man whose current single, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," dominates MTV and radio. So who could blame him for beginning his concert Sunday at the House of Blues by stopping the music, surveying the crowd and bursting into a huge grin?

With a gruff dance hall-meets-old school delivery that has wooed rap fans weary of hard-core gangsta tracks, Rhymes quickly enticed the crowd into celebrating his spoils along with him.

Flexing colorful dance moves, Rhymes tapped into rap's roots, becoming a virtual party emcee as he teased the audience into a frenzy. He used the encroaching millennium, which he refers to in apocalyptic terms, as a reason to seize the moment like a rap-land Prince partying like it's 1999.

Boosting the set was his sidekick, rapper Spliff Star, a member of Rhymes' Flipmode Squad who displayed impeccable timing as the serious straight man to Rhymes' larger-than-life prankster.

Unfortunately, the show ended on a note of sour hucksterism as Rhymes gave a speech that urged the audience to buy his album and those of other Flipmode Squad members.

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