Clinton Sparks & Busta Rhymes / Various New Crack City

One word: fire. It’s what MCs bring to the mix-tape circuit and abandon on their albums. Sure, Busta Rhymes has an album out now (The Big Bang), but for lyrics that scorch like napalm — that raw, unprocessed heat — New Crack City might be more rewarding (and it came out first). DJ Clinton Sparks doesn’t make mix-tapes; he produces albums. Best to treat this release as such. It’s too long, full of guest appearances (check for Papoose on "Flipmode Bitch”) and annoying interludes (six in total). It’s also the best disc Busta/Flipmode Squad has released in years. Only Spliff Star disappoints and new member Labba is dope at being a B.I.G. sound-a-like. Rah Digga more than handles herself and Busta’s lyrics once again snap with his elastic wit. Most disturbing about this disc is Busta’s new-found crack obsession (a G-Unit influence, perhaps?). Remember, this is the same guy who as a 17-year-old in Leaders of the New School wrote a song about the Parent Teacher Association. (Milkyway Image Ltd.)