Brooklyn-born rapper Busta Rhymes has always been known for the speed and intricacy of his raps. Since his start with Leaders of the New Schoolin ’89, Busta has released sixteen studio albums, with a staggering third of those going platinum.  Frankly, Busta is a force to be reckoned with in the world of hip hop. His latest project, Year of the Dragon, cannot be compared to When Disaster Strikes, or E.L.E. While Busta has certainly allowed his style to evolve with the times, long-time fans will likely still appreciate his undeniable talent and flare for the dramatic.

While the album starts off a bit rough with the two opening tracks “I’m Talking to You”, “Til We Diethe third track on the album, “Do That Thing”sort of redeems him. Following that is “Make it Look Easy”, featuring Gucci Mane. Whether or not you’re a Gucci Mane fan, there is no denying that this song is catchy, and Busta actually spits some pretty interesting rhymes.

“Love-Hate” featuring Robin Thicke reveals Busta’s softer side. It’s not necessarily the most memorable track on the album, but it works to showcase the range of Busta’s style, and the fact that he can make a song with just about anyone. The contrast between this track and “Grind Real Slow” is almost comical upon inspection.  This reveals the album’s greatest strength, its diversity – each track brings the listener into a different world.

Doin’ It Again” is another fine track, featuring Reek Da Villain and Chanel, and like a majority of efforts on the album, it is very listenable. The issue is in the lack of standout, unforgettable tracks.  Busta has always been known for his vocal theatrics, and in that sense this free album seems to be lacking.

Busta delivers on the last track, “Bleed the Same Blood”, which provides a fairly epic ending to Year of the Dragon. However it may be too little too late for some fans whose great expectations may be (if only slightly) left unmet. All in all, taking into consideration this album was a free-release, Busta puts forth a solid effort and delivers a quality product that is worth a few listens.

The album is available for free on Google Play here