‘I used to be levitating’: Busta Rhymes on his Grammys efficiency

The Grammys honored 50 years of hip-hop on Sunday with a medley from dozens of stars previous and current, starting from Grandmaster Flash to Lil Uzi Vert. But it was a 50-year-old, Brooklyn’s Busta Rhymes, who stole the present.

About two-thirds of the way in which by way of the 13-minute medley, Rhymes, wearing a fire-engine-red pea coat, roared into his hook from the 1997 MTV staple “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” then vaulted right into a torrent of bars from his half on Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” Rapping on the velocity of sound, Rhymes in a trance; Jay-Z and different Grammys attendees leaped to their ft.

It was one of many night’s most memorable moments, in a efficiency that almost did the unattainable — showcased an entire style from its beginning to the current. Rhymes, who launched a brand new EP, “The Fuse Is Lit,” in November, spoke to The Times by telephone from L.A. the afternoon after his Grammy triumph.

An array of stars throughout the fiftieth anniversary of hip-hop celebration on the sixty fifth Grammy Awards.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Your efficiency was a spotlight from final evening’s present. How are you feeling in regards to the historical past made onstage?
There are only a few moments in life once you get up the following day, and also you understand your actuality wasn’t only a dream, that it was an actual area, actual folks, actual feelings. It’s been difficult to not shed tears; once I get to have a second to myself, I’m going to shed some tears of pleasure.

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This factor, hip-hop, gave beginning to all the pieces about me, how I’ve been blessed to offer for household, all the way in which right down to the methods I feel and communicate. To have a direct impression on the world with my little contribution — this was a milestone second of tradition.

Walk us by way of the rehearsal course of for that phase. How did you put together for such an intense efficiency?
We had three rehearsals, one off-site, one on-site, after which a full gown rehearsal within the morning. I acquired to be with my huge brothers and sisters that I discovered a lot from, the pioneers and designers of the tradition: Queen Latifah, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Run-D.M.C., Scarface. And my youthful brothers and sisters, too: Lil Uzi Vert, Glorilla, Future. I’m backstage, capable of have hours of time with them in the identical area simply to hang around, to snicker, to undergo recollections, to ask questions I by no means acquired to ask. I don’t even know how one can describe it.

I didn’t rehearse for my verses particularly; it was extra for the movement of the sequence of the medley and to finesse the stop-and-go factors. I’ve finished that “Look at Me Now” verse so many occasions within the final 10 years — that was the observe. I’ve mastered the talent set to articulate it clearly at such a fast tempo.

It’s unbelievable to me that I acquired to be in the course of that. I don’t know if it will ever occur once more. Life ain’t promised to no person, so I’ll be holding this endlessly.

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What was going by way of your head the second the highlight hit you?
Watching everybody rap main as much as my half made me nervous as hell. I didn’t need to be the individual to make a mistake or overlook a lyric or journey on a wire. The anxiousness was nearly draining. But as quickly because the second got here the place they put us on our marks, my adrenaline went to 10. I simply needed to blow up.

When I began “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” I locked in on sure folks within the entrance row. I noticed my brothers Fat Joe and DJ Khaled and Jay-Z and Pharrell, and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and Nile Rogers and the Rock. I heard the roar, and that supercharged my battery. By the time “Hands” was finished, I used to be levitating. I used to be out of my physique.

I didn’t hear something near a mistake in your efficiency, however how do you are feeling you probably did?
The verse was flawless. Something better than me took over. I simply let God take the wheel, and it was all flowing by way of me like water. I used to be mistake-proof. We did a clear model so the Grammys wouldn’t have a purpose to censor it. We needed the viewers to have the total alternative to expertise the flawlessness of the talent set on show.

What did you do after the present?
After, we acquired a celebration meal — unimaginable seafood and steak. We drank and toasted to the second and to rejoice hip-hop. Everyone unanimously named that efficiency because the spotlight, and I’m tremendous humbled. I used to be simply grateful to do my half.

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