It all started back in February 2005, when Funkmaster Flex leaked a brand-new Busta Rhymes track called “I'll Hurt You” over the airwaves of New York's Hot 97. Produced by Scott Storch, the song's haunting solo cello line and thick layers of hand claps sparked a firestorm of heated speculation over the musical bent of The Big Bang — Rhymes' much-anticipated seventh studio album and his first since parting ways, under less-than-amicable circumstances, with J Records and moving on to Aftermath/Interscope. (Rhymes had cited the label's lackluster support for 2002's It Ain't Safe No More as the primary thorn behind the split.)
Almost a year after the Flex fiasco — which forced Aftermath into damage-control mode — fans are still hungry for the new album, slated to be a family affair of nearly 20 tracks produced by Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Storch, Swizz Beatz and Miami-based duo Cool & Dre, with guest shots from Eminem, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige and more. An official single, “Where's Your Money,” featuring one of the last recorded performances of the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, was released in late September. “We have another song called ‘Bubble Gum’ with a girl popping gum through the whole beat,” Dre was quoted as saying in the original Aftermath press release. “It's gonna be stupid. I mean, Busta can do anything — rhyme fast, slow, stutter or sing — and it's because he's so incredibly talented that we've had to take our time and get this record right.” If the classic G-Funk-style piano runs and trunk-bumping beats of “Where's Your Money” are any indication, expect some serious shock waves from The Big Bang when it drops in early 2006.