The ‘Rah Rah’ Never Left: Busta Rhymes, Mayor of Hip Hop

“I’m a real giver of love. I might overwhelm you. I’ll want to hug you and not let you go,” Busta Rhymes tells the audience at the 2023 BET Awards this past June in his trademark, bellowing staccato. It belies an awe-striking physical presence — 6’1” and a muscular 255 lbs., a custom double-breasted floral tuxedo with metallic lining and a 54mm Cuban link chain comprised of 10,000 diamonds — but the man born Trevor Smith Jr. is giddy to celebrate his Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award show was inevitably going to choose a prolific rapper to honor the 50th anniversary of hip hop, but the New York native

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