Trevor George “Busta Rhymes” Smith is a rapper and record producer from the United States. Smith was born in New York City, New York on May 20, 1972 to Jamaican immigrants Geraldine Green and Trevor Smith Sr. Smith went to high school with future rappers Christopher “The Notorious BIG” Wallace and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter at George Washington Career and Technical Education High School. He transferred to Long Island, New York’s Uniondale High School and graduated in 1991.
Smith and three other Long Islanders, Bryan “Charlie Brown” Higgins, James “Disco D” Jackson, and Sheldon “Cut Monitor Milo” Scott, formed the rap music group Leaders of the New School during their high school years. The group got their big break when they were chosen as the opening act for the rap group Public Enemy. Smith’s rap name was inspired by NFL and CFL wide receiver George “Buster” Rhymes, according to Carlton Douglas “Chuck D” Ridenhour.
Leaders of the New School released their debut studio album, A Future Without a Past, in 1991. “Case the P.T.A,” “Sobb Story,” and “The International Zone Coaster” were among the album’s singles. The album peaked at number 128 and sold far fewer than 500,000 copies. T.I.M.E., their final studio album, was released in 1993 and featured the single “What’s Next.”
By 1996, had established himself as a solo performer, releasing his debut studio album, The Coming, that year, which included the singles “Woo Hah!! “I’ve Got You All Under Control” and “It’s a Party.” The album was certified platinum after selling a million copies. When Disaster Strikes was Smith’s second studio album, released in 1997, and featured the singles “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,” “Dangerous,” and “Turn It Up (Remix)/Fire It Up.”
This album became his second million-seller. In addition, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front, Smith’s third album, was released in 1998 and featured the singles “Tear da Roof Off,” “Gimme Some More,” and “What’s It Gonna Be?!” This would be his third platinum-selling album, with over a million units sold. The album was also nominated for three Grammys, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance, and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Smith would go on to release other albums throughout his career, including Anarchy (2000), Genesis (2001), It Ain’t Safe No More (2002), The Big Bang (2006), Back on My B.S., and Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (2020), but none would be as successful as his 1990s albums. Aside from releasing studio albums, Smith has also appeared in films such as Higher Learning (1995), Shaft (2000), and Full Clip (2004). (2004).
During his career, Smith also had a contentious rap feud with Jeffery “Ja Rule” Atkins, as well as numerous legal issues. Despite these issues, Smith is still working in the entertainment industry in 2021.
Smith had six children, three sons and three daughters, from various relationships with women.