Former Leaders of the New School member Charlie Brown recently spoke on Busta Rhymes‘ role in the 1990’s rap crew and how the Flipmode Squad leader initially wanted to become a successful drug dealer.
According to Brown, he helped pull Busta away from a potential dangerous career to pursue music.
“[Busta] went to school out here and got kicked out of his mother’s house and went to Brooklyn, to Westinghouse. I don’t know if he was battling Jay-Z. He went there briefly but he wasn’t really going to classes. He was trying to be a crack dealer. That was what he wanted to do with his life back then. I took him away from that. Kind of like what Puffy did for Biggie, I did for Busta.” (Jesse Serwer)
Brown also recalled the instructions he gave Busta to keep their music radio friendly.
“On the first album, I told him you can’t curse. Records weren’t made like that then. You want to get the records played–that’s the object of getting in the game. But now everybody is having a foul mouth and being profane for the sake of being profane. But he was always like that. He was always real rebellious and really wanted to do his own thing. What did Rah Digga say about him? He’s a moody Jamaican who dresses funny. That sums it up. He had a lot of mood swings ’cause he was smoking a lot. And he does dress funny. Sometimes his outfits, I can’t f*ck with it. We used to get uniforms made when we was with Leaders. Chuck [D] told us that: you should be uniform. Public Enemy looked uniform, with a lot of black and red and the S1Ws. Busta took that by itself and combined some of my character, my outrageousness with his outrageousness.” (Jesse Serwer)
Leaders of the New School had a three-year run in hip-hop from 1990 to 1993.
Leaders of the New School was a Long Island, New York-based hip hop crew composed of Uniondale, New York, natives Charlie Brown and Dinco D; North Amityville native Cut Monitor Milo; and Busta Rhymes, who was originally from Africa but later moved to Uniondale. The four got their start touring with hip hop group Public Enemy, and in fact it was member Chuck D who gave Busta Rhymes and Charlie Brown their names. (Wikipedia)
As a collective, Leaders of the New School dropped a couple albums.
Inspired by fellow Long Islanders Public Enemy and Eric B. & Rakim, the foursome united as Leaders of the New School and signed a deal with Elektra Records right out of the gate, when Busta was only 17 years old. Much respected in the hip-hop underground for their Afrocentric philosophy and tough rapping styles, Leaders of the New School debuted in 1991 with Future Without a Past… but released only one more album, 1993’s T.I.M.E., before breaking up the following year. (All Music)
Check out some recent Busta Rhymes footage below: