The Experienced Listener Presents: Ipod Muzik, by John Bussie


The Experienced Listener Presents:  Ipod Muzik, by John Bussie

When you hear ‘Augusta’, you probably think of a lot of things that a real Augusta native is not proud of.  Like a world-renowned golf tournament based on slavery, for instance.  Or ‘Paris Morton Music’ and slick talking pimps (that I, personally, have never seen).  And speaking of music, when you look at some of the artists that Augusta produces, you wouldn’t think that this was the home of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.  Where’s the influence? Where’s the quality?  Where’s the longevity?  Where’s the significance?

Ipod Muzik by John Bussie

…Oh, here it is.  ‘Bout time.  My cousin, producer Kevin Rachwel, has been busy lately, and he recently put me up on the artist John Bussie, who he’s been collaborating with.  I trust Rachwel’s musical ear, so when he pushed Bussie my way, I already knew he’d be something special.  With his Ipod Muzik mixtape, Bussie proves he’s capable of putting Augusta on the map for something… worthy.  Presented by Young Scholar Entertainment, Ipod Muzik reveals that Augusta’s hip hop scene is finally maturing…

From the get-go, on the opening track Ipod Manual, Bussie purges the lyrical nitrous:

I brainstorm and leave niggas drowning on the street/

Hope you ready for the flood like houses on the beach/

They hated on my flow; they thought I wasn’t deep/

Til they figga’d you couldn’t compare a fountain to the sea/

The last two lines of that set caught me completely off guard; some of the most poetic lines I’ve ever heard from an Augusta-based hip hop artist.  This next series is important as well, because it gives you a glimpse of what John Bussie wants to bring to the table:

See, I constructed the perfect plan a long time ago/

Show these niggas how to be street but stay honorable/

Show ‘em you can have jewelery and all the designer clothes/

Really be the bomb, but it still ain’t ya time to blow/

I tried to show ‘em me and rappers ain’t the same/

Cuz I don’t really got the desire to make it rain/

This is good.  This is important.  This is Downtown Augusta savvy mixed with Augusta State University progressive thinking.

The next song from the lineup, Big Dawg Status, had me nervous at first; I’m not big on the horn-tooting that MCs nowadays overindulge in.  I continue listening, however, because Bussie has dope punchlines for days.  Then comes this second verse, which restores my total faith:

I don’t trip… trippin is for losers/

And me I ain’t a loser, so my momma wouldn’t approve it/

This shit I speak is so unique, they callin it exclusive/

And the shit you speak is make believe and honestly amusin/

Hip hop you are abusin, creating much confusion/

Displaying an illusion that is obvious delusion/

The truth you are excludin, therefore I can’t excuse it/

I’m a beast:  that’s my thesis, my body and conclusion/

Let me dumb it down a bit I see you niggas stupid…/

…Yeah, I heard Augusta State has a hell of a writing department (Whattup Alumni!!!!  Class of ’08!!!).  Bussie demonstrates that even on a typical New South style track, New South style instrumental, he brings a level of lyricism that puts him ahead of the pack.

I keep listening and get a taste of Say What You Feel, which is spit over what I think is a Drake instrumental (I don’t listen to radio much anymore).  As an educator, I have an appreciation for these lines:

N!ggas ain’t patient so really you can’t teach em/

They close enough to touch but really you can’t reach em/

… I can relate to being within reach of an individual and not being able to make them understand what they need in order to help them elevate.  It’s frustrating.  Bussie continues:

Naw, I ain’t preachin just givin’ thoughts to entertain/

Enter the game to get a chain and plenty fame/

Until I realized the game is really stained/

Most niggas will sell they soul to get a name/

I like the fact that, while Bussie obviously wants to be successful…  Wait, is THAT the song this beat comes from?  Anyway, he doesn’t want to lose himself or be consumed with greed in the pursuit of that success.  He wants to keep it authentic and practical.  Put his artistry before his record sales.  He’s got the mentality that any old school hip hop aficionado would appreciate.  Even if the sound of this mixtape is straight new school.

Hustler Muzik is a cool track dedicated to people who work hard to get by.  And it’s cool because Bussie kicks a shout to ‘The Bottom’— a poor area of Augusta that surrounds a street called East Boundary (basically, the exact opposite of the side of Augusta you’ll see during Masters Week).   Rather than indulge in hopeless poverty and street life, I respect this track because Bussie speaks a message of not letting beginnings determine endings:

Ay shawty let me take a second, and straighten out the record/

If a hater ain’t tryna succeed, I can’t respect him/

I came from the Bottom, where up is the direction/

That’s why every chance I get, man, I get I holler at my section/

East Bound, Shirely Ave if ya guessin’/

The blessings I was destined, have never been in question/

Everybody go to school just to get a lesson/

But that don’t mean nuttin’ if you don’t understand the message/

Money is the motivator, but it don’t owe me favors/

So I vowed to put the paper over haters/

Yeah… you cannot see me through these Aviators/

So if you ain’t tryna get money, then I’ll see you later/

Augusta needs a voice like that; every city does.  To let people know that the point of any ‘Bottom’ is to come up, not to stay down.  If we’re keeping it honest, hip hop heads forget that sometimes.  The ones who are down lose the desire to leave the traps; the ones who are blessed to not have to struggle become envious of the disadvantaged.  That’s madness.

Hustler Muzik is followed up strong with the track Closer, which is spit over the instrumental to Closer by Goapele.  A recurring theme of early mixtapes seems to be drawing closer to the goal of MC notoriety; this track falls right in line.  In this one shot verse, Bussie pours it on:

A young player with his eyes wide open/

 Tryna focus on this dream but can’t find time/

Working two and three jobs, I define grind/

So if I’m gonna blow, right now’s a fine time/

I keep my mind on my fate, and I don’t beef /

Cuz I like mine on my plate…/

But even tho I keep the Psalm 2-3 tucked in my heart/

Man I keep the 4-5 on my waist, cuz niggas hate/

Skip forward a lil:

Niggas participate, til they see I move at a different pace/

Then they try to throw road blocks on my interstate

I just tell ‘em f#ck blocks man and penetrate

Kick it to a n!gga that’s open and watch you win a game

Never been a ballhog n!gga tryna get the fame

Call me Lebron dawg,I’m just tryna win a ring/

 

And he just keeps pouring it on:

I gotta be cheatin the way that I keep winning/

So if niggas want beef, I’ma sink my teeth in ‘em/

Niggas play Peter Parker til they meet Venom/

And they realize Lil Bruce got a beast in him/

Brotha Bussie overall got down on this track.  I love when an MC can toss hooks out the window and just go.  Hooks are for short attention spans.

I hate to say, however, that not every part of this mixtape is as exquisite, lyrically or in content.  Bussie takes a stab at what I call the ‘urban romance genre’ of hip hop with the tracks She’s a Freak and Go HardShe’s a Freak basically describes a girl who encounters Bussie.  But, since Bussie’s already got a girl… he dishes her off to his bruhs, so to speak.  Songs like this definitely aren’t my cup of Earl Grey; for what it’s worth, however, it blends right in with the typical Club 3000* headbanger.

In the song Go Hard, Bussie comes across ANOTHER girl— this time, one he’s willing to clear his schedule for.  He expresses his desire to… pretty much smash this young lady.  There are many other tracks out there like this one but, again, Bussie has a few clever lines that set his contribution to the genre apart:

Don’t compare me to the rest, I’m different/

Young Scottie Pippen, I play all positions/

‘May not seem like much on the surface.  But think about how many times you’ve heard MCs compare themselves to Jordan given the same instance; Bussie really isn’t like the rest.  All-in-all, after the skill Bussie displays on his earlier tracks, I feel like She a Freak and Go Hard are beneath him.  Still, he shows that his rap game is nice; his delivery alone keeps the tracks energized enough to garner interest from the average listener.

Now, hold on to your neck with both hands, because the script is about to be utterly and completely flipped.  Remember the songs She a Freak and Go Hard that we just talked about?  Well, Bussie comes back with the track Lil Girl Lost, which exhibits his storytelling ability in an entirely opposite direction.  Lyrically, it’s not his best track, but it’s still an important track just because of the message it entails; even now I’m having a hard time listening to it because I personally know a student who was involved in a very similar situation.  The song tells the story of a young Augusta woman who falls in love with the wrong kind, ends up pregnant and, just when she decides to go to school and make a better life for her and her unborn child, is murdered in a tragic revenge shooting.  It’s a true story.  Guess what, Masters fans!  The grass isn’t green on every side of Augusta:

Second verse it gets worse, ainnowhere near better/

Cuz now she lovin this fella that got her down for whatever/

It was this guy named Trevor that she met at the Checkers/

Well known in the projects for slangin’ that metal/

Trevor had a lot of beef he never bothers to settle/

And since he figured in fairness he never bothered to tell her/

He just wasted his time, tryna run with the fellas/

While he wasted her time, cuz he promised her better/

It’s like he wanted to treat her good, he tried to respect her/

But that street mentality in his mind wouldn’t let ‘em/

Now she facing depression, with no type of progression/

Wondering if God is trying to teach her a lesson, and that’s real…/

I was really glad he dropped this second verse in the song.  So many girls fall victim to guys who make promises that, even though they’re living dangerously, they won’t let anything happen to them.  Ladies, never believe that.  If you’re reading this, then hear me:  any man who really loves you would not put you in any position where you could be harmed.  He will get his life together before he tries to be a part of yours.  Anyways, it’s not always about the art or the craft of music; the reality of the situation will always be more important than the artistic reflection, if that makes sense…

Now, I’ll be honest:  I’m mad at this mixtape.  Why?  First, a little backstory— when my cousin Kevin Rachwel put me up onto Bussie, he did it with this video:

…Ill, right?  You love it, right?  Well, the song’s called Lamp Lights, and it’s off of Bussie’s mixtape, Polos and Retros.  I like this song a whoooole lot.  So, when I was asked to review Bussie, I thought I’d be reviewing Polos and Retros, right?  …EXCEPT POLOS AND RETROS HASN’T BEEN RELEASED YET!!!!!  It’s due for release in 2012!!!  So, as I’m writing this review of Ipod Muzik, I’m starvin’.  Ipod Muzik is dope in its own right, but Polos and Retros, I can already tell, is gonna be next-level.  The grand irony in all of this is that, in reviewing this mixtape, John Bussie reveals himself to be a true representation of Augusta:  obvious potential with pending promise.  And while every track on this mixtape doesn’t shine, it’s obvious that Bussie knows what he’s doing and is ‘saving some of that for the sequel’, as the saying goes.  Just watch the video for Lamp Lights, you’ll see what I mean…

While we’re waiting for Polos and Retros, however, I’ve got good news:  there’s already an Ipod Muzik 2 available!  I’ll be listening to it as you good folks are, and I’ll get around to reviewing it soon.  And when Polos and Retros drops, you know I’ll be all over that too.  Bussie, thank you for giving Augusta something to be proud of.   And congrats on that degree mayn; I might be going back for my Master’s my doggone self sometime soon.

*Club 3000 is an Augusta-area night spot.  Got nothing to do with Andre 3000.  Nothing at all…

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