Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Busta Rhymes ft. Mariah Carey – Where I Belong

What if it was only The Flipmode Squad who knew what we wanted?


John S. Quinn-Puerta: This just in: Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey have fallen asleep in the middle of a recording studio. Eyewitnesses report that their lips continue to move, with one engineer saying that, still asleep, Busta went rigid and spat a bridge at speed while Carey repeatedly wrote “2004” on a blank piece of paper. 

Ian Mathers: The comic-book gravitas of the track (literalized in the video) might seem on the face of it a poor fit for such vivid performers, but bless ’em, they make it work, mostly. What this lacks in the old intensity and pyrotechnics (minus one bit near the end that’s more proof of concept of Busta still being able to go that fast than it is actually compelling) it makes up for with an easy, practiced charisma and craft. The main hook in the production is just maddening enough to be catchy, or vice versa, and Busta and Mariah sound good and good together here, more than you can ask of some of their peers.

Alfred Soto: Mariah Carey’s a guest — a memory of cooed pleasure — but that’s okay. Listening to a slow Busta takes accustoming, but when he turns motormouth in the last minute it’s like Prince’s guitar cutting through the yawnsomeness of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Thomas Inskeep: I don’t want to hear Busta Rhymes singing. I also don’t want to hear Busta Rhymes doing what’s essentially an R&B, not hip hop, track. (“What’s It Gonna Be?!” is the exception that proves the rule.) Mariah phones it in, the bridge sounds spliced in from a different record, and nothing about this works.

Nortey Dowuona: A loping bass hides behind the flattened drums as Busta twirls the synth phones and Mariah whispers into his ears. Busta gently holds it while Mariah tries to press him, gently telling her that he won’t keep her waiting and that he’s going to make a permanent place for her in his life. REALTOR FAST.

Samson Savill de Jong: I viscerally disliked this on my first listen to it. I found the beeping beat brain-bashingly bad and disliked Busta’s attempts at singing (particularly the “oo oo oo”s). Repeated listens have definitely mellowed out my opinion; I think Busta and Mariah play off each other well enough, and the beat, while never good, doesn’t intrude as it did on first listen. Still, this song harkens back to the mid-2000s mainstream rap era that was a nadir for the genre, and while it pulls of the shtick fine, it’s nothing I want to hear.

Frank Falisi: Heart prints of history (“I Know What You Want”) and bleeding reproducibility (“Where I Belong”) and “The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again. ‘The truth will not run away from us’: in the historical outlook of historicism these words of Gottfried Keller mark the exact point where historical materialism cuts through historicism. For every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably.” (“On the Concept of History”, Walter Benjamin.)

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