One of the most idiosyncratic personalities in rap — with his halting, ragga-inspired style and incredible complexity, inventiveness, and humor — Busta Rhymes formed Leaders of the New School in 1990 and released two albums with the group before breaking out with a 1996 solo hit single, "Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check."
Born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, in 1972 of Jamaican heritage (a definite influence on his rapping style), Busta moved to Long Island in 1983 and, at Uniondale High School, met up with MCs Charlie Brown, Dinco D., and Cut Monitor Milo. Inspired by fellow Long Islanders Public Enemy and Eric B. & Rakim, the foursome united as Leaders of the New School and signed a deal with Elektra Records right out of the gate, when Busta was only 17 years old. Much respected in the hip-hop underground for their Afrocentric philosophy and tough rapping styles, Leaders of the New School debuted in 1991 with Future Without a Past... but released only one more album, 1993's T.I.M.E., before breaking up the following year.
Subsequent label issues would delay a proper follow-up until three years later. During that time, Busta appeared on tracks with Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Tiësto, Diplo, Twista, Fat Joe, and Kanye West. He signed with Cash Money in 2011, but the union was brief: Busta would later part ways with the label. In 2012, he released his ninth effort, Year of the Dragon, as a free digital download. The album featured Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Gucci Mane, among others. A joint EP with Eminem and Everlast titled Calm Down: The Clash arrived in 2014.