When it comes to talking about the greatest rap guest verses in history, there are a several that immediately come to the mind of any hip hop head.
There’s Nas on “Live at the Barbeque” and “Verbal Intercourse”, there’s Nicki Minaj on “Monster,” Snoop Dogg on “Deep Cover” and AZ on “Life’s a Bitch”, just to name a few. And, of course, there’s Busta Rhymes absolutely destroying A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.”
Want to know how much of an impact Busta’s verse on “Scenario” had? The recognition he got from it basically broke up his group, Leaders of the New School, and set him on a 20 plus year solo career trajectory.
“That record was the record that pioneered features,” Busta recalled in an interview with XXL. “I’ve done features prior to that, but that record made me the number one go-to guy for features after that for a long time. I was doing so well off features, that when Leaders broke up shortly after the “Scenario” record, I wasn’t even thinking about doing a solo record for the next three years.”
What a lot of rap fans don’t know is that Q-Tip actually wrote part of Busta’s verse. In the same XXL interview, the legendary rapper explained how the Tribe frontman wrote his lyrics to set it up for the epic last verse.
Busta Rhymes: Tip wrote my part that I said in his verse. He had his rhyme written and he told me to say his part. He did it in a Busta Rhymes style so when I did it, it sounded like I did it. He wanted me to come in on his part, set me up, so niggas knew I was getting ready to come after him. He handed me the ball. He was setting me up with a alley hoop. I could just dunk the shit on niggas. That was his idea. Once it got to the, “As I combine all the juice from the mind,” that was me all day. He heard that 16 bars of the verse I said, he said, “Nigga, I’m gonna set you up to come in so crazy. That verse is so retarded! Nigga, I got to set that bitch up right.” I was like, “Alright, big homie what you got in mind for me?” He said, “I want you to say this line in my verse.” I said, “Alright, cool.” Did it and went into my shit. My life changed dynamically after that.Busta Rhymes Remember A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” 20 Years Later | XXL
“‘Scenario’ for Busta was like his step-out [moment],” Tip recalled in a subsequent interview. “That was my purpose [in putting him on the song] because I thought he was ill. I just wanted to set him up. One of the things that really set it up was the interplay between my rhymes and Busta’s rhymes. So that introduced him a little bit.”