Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr. (born on May 20, 1972), better known as Busta Rhymes, is a Jamaican American hip hop musician and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the name Busta Rhymes (from former NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes) after watching him perform. Busta Rhymes was a member of Leaders of the New School and released two albums with the group before breaking out with a 1996 solo hit single, "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check". He is known for his often high-speed rhyme-delivery, as heard on his hits "Gimme Some More" and "Break Ya Neck".
Trevor Smith was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and is of Jamaican heritage. When he was 12 his family moved to Uniondale, New York, a suburb of New York City on Long Island, where he was raised and eventually met up with other artists from the growing area hip hop community, including rappers Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.. He graduated from Uniondale High School in 1991.
Smith's musical career began at the age of 17 as a member of the Hip Hop crew Leaders of the New School along with fellow Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Dinco D, and Cut Monitor Milo. They began recording in 1989 and released their debut album A Future Without a Past in 1991 on Elektra Records. In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye). Soon after, however, internal problems arose within the group, and the group broke up on the set of Yo! MTV Raps.
Rumors persisted that Smith clashed with Charlie Brown over creative control of the group's direction. Soon after their debut, The Leaders of The New School became associated with the Native Tongues Posse, which led to the group's collaboration with A Tribe Called Quest on the single "Scenario." Smith's live performance of "Scenario" with A Tribe Called Quest on The Arsenio Hall Show led to a solo contract with Elektra after an A&R representative saw the program. The Leaders of the New School released their second and final album The Inner Mind's Eye (T.I.M.E.) in 1993, after which Smith began his solo career.
In November 2005, Smith cut off his trademark dreadlocks during a photo shoot in a New York barbershop owned by producer Cory Rooney. The shop is featured on an MTV show titled The Shop. "I started growing [my hair] in December '89. I was 17," he said. "I signed my [record] deal and said I ain't combing my hair no more. I don't have to." He says the haircut was symbolic of a change in his music and the new record deal.
His seventh studio album, The Big Bang, became the first #1 album of his career. The CD sold over 209,000 copies in its first week to earn the top spot on The Billboard Top 200. The album also became his highest charting album in the UK, peaking at #19 there. Some of the album was leaked on the Internet, and as a result several songs were left off the album and new ones added. The Big Bang featured more production by Dr. Dre than Smith's previous releases, as well as appearances by Raekwon and Nas. The singles that have been released from the album are, "Touch It," "I Love My Bitch," featuring Kelis and will.i.am, "New York Shit," and "In The Ghetto." Smith also had a stint opening for Mariah Carey's The Adventures of Mimi Tour. Also, Smith performed with Eminem on "Touch It Remix Part 5". Others such as Jae Millz and Ne-Yo appeared as well.
On November 27, 2007, Smith and Mick Boogie released Dillagence, a mixtape of released and unreleased tracks featuring Smith with J Dilla on production.
Busta is set to appear on Lil Wayne's sixth album, Tha Carter III, due on June 10, 2008.