Brooklyn, NY

Busta Rhymes remains one of Hip Hop’s greatest ever performers. For proof, look no further than the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.

On Sunday night (September 12), Bus-a-Bus took to the stage at the Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn and delivered a show-stealing medley of hits from his 30-year career in the rap game.

Joined by longtime hype man Spliff Star, the 49-year-old rap veteran ran proved he can still tear the roof off by running through timeless records including “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,” “Touch It” and “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II,” as well as his verses on M.O.P.’s “Ante Up (Remix)” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.”

While Hip Hop fans have witnessed lackluster performances from some of their heroes lately (see: Dipset’s Verzuz set in which they relied on backing vocal tracks), Busta Rhymes’ VMAs set was a clinic on how to put on a show. The eight-minute medley included giant stage props that referenced his iconic music videos, multi-colored strobe lights, backup dancers and even pyrotechnics.

Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the stage design, however, was Busta himself, who commanded the Barclays Center crowd with his Dungeon Dragon energy. His finest moment came towards the end of the performance when he sped through his breathless verse on Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” without barely missing a step. Few MCs can deliver such a verse in the studio, let alone live on stage.

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Busta Rhymes signed off his adrenaline-pumping performance by telling the crowd, “Brooklyn, don’t ever forget that!” — something the borough (or indeed Hip Hop fans everywhere) are unlikely to do. He later jumped on Twitter to celebrate the moment, writing, “Thank you to God / my family and most importantly the fans for making each moment memorable and extremely special.”

Following his MTV VMAs medley, Busta Rhymes promptly received his flowers on Twitter. “That crowd did not deserve this Busta Rhymes performance,” one fan wrote, while another added, “Busta Rhymes giving a better performance at 50 than all of these teens tonight.”

Check out more reactions to Busta Rhymes’ 2021 MTV VMAs performance below.