CULTURE

Busta Rhymes headlines festival

Superstar rapper Busta Rhymes, one of the rap circuit’s most idiosyncratic personalities, will be in Athens for one show this Friday as the headline act of a new event, Urban Athens, to be held at the capital’s former airport in Hellenikon, southern Athens. Currently on a world tour, Busta Rhymes’s new album, «The Big Bang,» has just been released in the USA, with a European release date slated for June 12. It includes appearances from other major rap stars, among them Dr Dre and Eminem, as well as veteran performer Stevie Wonder. The award-winning Busta Rhymes, who emerged with 1996’s debut album «The Coming,» ranks as one of rap’s more distinctive figures with a ragga-inspired style that combines complexity, inventiveness and a sense of humor. Born in Brooklyn in 1972 of Jamaican lineage, Busta Rhymes joined forces with three other MCs, Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Cut Monitor Milo to form Leaders of the New School, an act inspired by rap pioneers Public Enemy and Eric B & Rakim. The quartet signed a deal with the major label Elektra Records for 1991’s debut album «Future without a Past» when Busta Rhymes was still just 17 years old. They released just one more album, «T.I.M.E,» a year later before breaking up. Busta Rhymes’s debut solo album, released four years later, proved to be a chart-topping album. It included the single «Woo-Hah!! Got You all in Check,» a Top 10 hit in the USA which helped generate gold-status sales for the album. Its follow-up, 1997’s ‘When Disaster Strikes,» proved just as popular, debuting at No. 3 on the US album charts. Besides his rapping, Busta Rhymes also appeared in the 1995 John Singleton film «Higher Learning» not long before the release of his first solo album. A few years later, in 2000, he also appeared on the big screen for the remake of the blaxploitation classic, «Shaft.» Besides the headline act, Friday’s inaugural Urban Athens festival will include several local rap acts. On the agenda are: Taraksias (Family the Label), Artemis + Efthymis, Isvoleas, Sifu Versus, Tang Ram, Stereo Mike, Alytoi Gryfoi, DJ Sparky T and DJ The Boy. Also integrated into Friday’s show will be an exhibition of 15 «specially tuned cars» or, more bluntly, hot rods, as a sideline event, one of several planned for the evening. Tickets, priced at 40 euros, are on sale at Metropolis music stores, Virgin Megastores, Eleftheroudakis book stores, through the ticketing agency Tickethouse, and online at www.i-ticket.gr, www.ticektshop.gr and www.ts1.gr.