Busta Rhymes is an OG with a lot of life in him, still delivering killer features on records with everyone from Westside Gunn to Rapsody. We know Busta to be an MC dedicated to the craft, but in a new interview with Stereo Williams for The Daily Beast, it seems Rhymes is confused over what qualifies as “substance” and which artists do and do not have GRAMMYs.
“J. Cole is doing his job. Kendrick doing his job. Chance the Rapper doing his job. Childish Gambino is doing his job,” Busta told Williams. “These are the newer dudes. They’re doing it more than the older dudes as far as the music is concerned. They out here talking that shit! They shooting the videos. They’re making those messages speak volumes. They’re having super success with it. Kendrick ain’t got no records in the club—he taking all the Grammys home. You might hear Future in the club. You might hear Drake in the club. But Kendrick took all the Grammys home. Chance the Rapper taking all the Grammys home. Childish Gambino. At the end of the day, people respect substance.”
Of course, people respect substance, but the notion that if an artist has a song go up in the club, that they make substanceless music, is absurd. Future’s music is layered with depth. His songs tackle mortality and depression, and drug abuse, which no one can reasonably argue are vapid topics.
Drake’s music, for all of his recent filler, has always had substance behind it, particularly during the Nothing Was The Same era. Not to mention, Drake has also won three GRAMMYs, which is more than Childish Gambino (one) and J. Cole (zero). On the opposite side of the coin, Kendrick Lamar has a grip of GRAMMYs, but his biggest singles ("HUMBLE.," "DNA.," "King's Dead") are club-ready. Busta Rhymes drawing these dichotomies is needlessly divisive, especially when you take into account hip-hop's forever awkward relationship with the GRAMMYs.
There is no written or unwritten rule that club bangers have to be devoid of meaning, or that the creation of such a song disqualifies you from either awards or the distinction of authoring meaningful music. Resonance is resonance, regardless of GRAMMY nods or club hits.