Busta Rhymes had broken through big with 1995s The Coming, a platinum-selling solo debut that proved the former Leader of the New School was a formidable emcee on his own.
He'd dropped monster hit singles like "Woo-Hah (Got You All In Check)" and "It's A Party," but Busta had to come strong with his sophomore album. The rapper had become one of the most visible stars in the game, and as hip-hop's popularity had exploded from 1994-1996, so had the celebrity of Busta Rhymes. But this was just the beginning.
Released on Sept. 16, 1997, Busta Rhymes' 2nd solo album When Disaster Strikes... cemented his status as one of the biggest rappers of the era. While Snoop was floundering on the sinking Death Row ship, and before Jay-Z was a household name or DMX emerged as a bonafide superstar; Busta Rhymes was arguably the most visible rapper in the game with the success of Disaster..., and its hit singles and distinctivde, Hype Williams-directed videos.
So to celebrate Busta Rhymes' hit second album, we decided to look back at our favorite tracks from When Disaster Strikes...
Laid-back Busta Rhymes was still a relatively new phenomenon in 1997, but Busta and Badu make for one of his most underrated duets on "One." Over a gorgeous sample of Stevie Wonder's "The World's In Need of Love Today," Badu provides the sultry vocals (and a verse) as Busta raps about unity and togetherness to "Move in the same direction for one common cause."
"We Could Take It Outside" feat. The Flipmode Squad
This is pure DJ Scratch. One of the grimier moments on When Disaster Strikes, it's a great showcase for Busta's more hardcore, East Coast sensibility. And it gives the Flipmode Squad a chance to shine--in particular, rhymer galore Rah Digga.
"There's Not A Problem My Squad Can't Fix" feat. Jamal
One of the album's most unapologetically slick moments, "Not a Problem..." is a certified party record that never sounds too forced or too "jiggy." Given this was released in 1997, that's a minor miracle. With a winning guest appearance from Jamal, it's one of When Disaster Strikes more infectious tracks.
Borrowing an early 80s Long Island poison PSA slogan for one of his best hooks, the second single from When Disaster Strikes was a Top Ten hit. And Bussa Buss kept the 80s theme alive from his previous video; the "Dangerous" video spoofed both Lethal Weapon and The Last Dragon.
"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See"
Produced by Shamello, Buddah and Epitome, the first single from When Disaster Strikes... was a monster. A huge radio hit in the fall of 1997, it showed that Busta Rhymes could be just as kinetic in a more laid-back mode. And the Coming To America-referencing video was one of the best of the 1990s.