Beyond all the moronic, paranoid apocalyptic rigmarole on Busta Rhymes’s latest album, Extinction Level Event–The Final World Front (Elektra), is some of the rapper’s best work. If you can get through the interminable between-song skits (and get past his cartoonish media-whore persona) you’ll find the skittering, stuttering post-Timbaland beat schemes of “Tear da Roof Off” and “Gimme Some More,” the heavy-funk call to party “Do the Bus a Bus,” an overdriven shouting match with Mystikal (“Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin Rowdy Wit Us?”), and even a surprisingly effective revamp of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” in collaboration with wheezy Ozzy himself, called “This Means War!!” And the transformation of violent boasting into pure silliness on “Do It to Death” (“Pitter-patter / You chitter-chatter too much / I’m a splitter-splatter / Your blitter-bladder / Make you spill out your guts”) is hard to resist. Whatever simplistic focus the album has will most certainly give way to a screaming free-for-all live, but hey, with the end of the world around the corner, what could be more appropriate? Wednesday, 7:30 PM, and Thursday, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583 or 312-923-2000. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Dean Karr.