Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #34 Busdriver
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
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Possessing a hyper-literate, intellectual style of rapping augmented with dizzying elocution that would tongue-tie even the fiercest auctioneer, Busdriver is eclectic and eccentric enough to cite vocalese jazz singer Jon Hendricks as a primary influence. Born Regan Farquhar, the Los Angeles MC was introduced to hip-hop culture early -- his father wrote the screenplay to one of the earliest films focusing on hip-hop, Krush Groove. He began rapping at age nine, releasing his first record at age 13 with his group, 4/29, named after the 1992 L.A. riots. By the mid-'90s, Busdriver was a regular at the Project Blowed open mic, where he would meet future collaborators and underground luminaries like Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Freestyle Fellowship. And shortly after, the vinyl did flow. Busdriver guested on upwards of 20 singles, and by 2001 he could no longer be contained by guest spots, releasing his first full-length, Memoirs of the Elephant Man. There were just as many detractors as supporters for his singular style, which was so densely packed it made his chosen name seem a reference for multiple-personality disorder, and the lo-fi production also left more listeners scratching heads than nodding them. His next album, This Machine Kills Fashion Tips (2002), continued in a similar manner before being trumped by better production and more focused rhymes on Temporary Forever the same year. Joined by another West Coast avant-garde MC, Radioinactive, and the breezy, fractured pop of electronic producer Daedelus, Busdriver released yet another odd puzzle piece in 2003, Weather. Fear of a Black Tangent followed on Mush in 2005. After moving to Anti/Epitaph, the rapper issued RoadKillOvercoat, which featured production from Nobody and Boom Bip.
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.