It's been more than three years since Busta Rhymes' last album, a veritable eternity where rap is concerned. For a while there, it was starting to feel as if Rhymes might wind up like Coolio, a once-vital artist rendered irrelevant by a too-long hiatus. The Big Bang should put an end to any such notions. Executive-produced by Rhymes and Dr. Dre (who oversaw several tracks), with assistance from the likes of Timbaland and will.i.am, the album features a swaggering, minimalist confidence that's virtually impossible to ignore.
The opener, ''Get You Some,'' finds Rhymes goofily exulting in his new personal and business affiliations: ''I ain't on J Records [his former label], I'm on DRE Records: Aftermath, bee-yatch!'' His pride is justified. Bang boasts some of the sturdiest, most visceral jams Rhymes has ever recorded. Whether he's giving an infectious shout-out to his hometown (''New York S---''), trading gospel-tinged autobiographical verses with Stevie Wonder (''Been Through the Storm''), or getting super freaky with the late Rick James (''In the Ghetto''), Rhymes radiates the self-assurance of a man who knows his resurrection is in full effect. As comebacks go, this one makes a big bang, indeed.