By Lauren Huff
September 23, 2020 at 09:00 PM EDT
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The Masked Singer

type
  • TV Show
network
  • Fox
genre

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of The Masked Singer.

The roar of the Dragon will be heard no more, at least on this season of The Masked Singer.

On Wednesday night's season 4 premiere episode, the fire-breathing fiend was the first to go home, and he was revealed to be none other than 12-time Grammy nominee Busta Rhymes. But if the rapper has his way, this won't be the last we see of him on the Fox reality show. Here, he tells EW about why he wanted to do the show, what the Dragon means to him, and what fans can expect on his upcoming album, Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God.

Michael Becker/FOX

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you want to do the show? How did all of this come about for you?

BUSTA RHYMES: Well, I wanted to get on the show because everything made sense, as far as the way the opportunity was presented — the professionalism of the production and the network, the incredible accommodations that they extended to us so that we can feel above and beyond comfortable in the process of the whole experience. And last, but not least, I'm a fan of the show. My kids, my peers, I literally have been talking about this show with [them] and my brothers, like Swizz Beatz. It's just a thing that is really resonating well with the people. And I think there's a lot going on in this world right now that's really crazy. I think that we have a duty to make sure that we remind people of how important it is to fight the good fight for what's right, but in the process, still being able to enjoy what living is all about. Being able to have fun, laugh, love and learn and enjoy yourself is what allows you to be able to continue to recharge when you're being drained by the perils in the world on a day-to-day basis. So, this is one show that particularly provides people with that feel-good energy and I always want to be a part of feel-good energy.

The symbol of the dragon has been a through-line in your career. Is that why you chose the Dragon?

It's a part of who I am, and it's a part of what the people have grown to know and love about me in a significant way since the beginning of my career to now. That fire and that passion and that conviction is something that I am the embodiment of, and I'm always gonna give that to people because that's who I am. So I just think that the dragon metaphorically and symbolically speaks directly to the people in that way. And it's always been pretty good for what Busta Rhymes has done and I ain't here to try to fix something that ain't broken. 

What did you make of panelist Ken Jeong guessing that you were Michael Phelps?

You know, he is a comedian. I am a fan of his sense of humor. He makes me laugh, whether he is doing stand-up or doing film. I thought that the comedic element was happening more than him being serious, because you know damn well Michael Phelps doesn't sound like me. But it's cool though. I definitely got a kick out of the way he was trying to figure out who I was. I was just enjoying the whole entertainment factor of it all.

You mentioned earlier all of the protocols put in place by Fox on account of the pandemic. What was it like as a performer singing with a limited audience and dealing with all of that?

I don't like none of it, you know what I'm saying? I don't want to live in this time. And this has nothing to do with the network or the production, I think they were incredible about how they went to great lengths to implement and execute being able to carry on with the new protocols, with the COVID testing every couple of days, and six feet apart with everyone, and the virtual audience. Because even though we had to work under those circumstances, it still felt like fun, and it still felt very accommodating and comfortable. It felt like you were able to escape that being such a presence and the environment. Once we were able to put that costume on, and turn that music on, and you get out there and start doing your music, you kind of forgot about all of that COVID protocol s—. You're able to escape it. So I think that was very well done by the production and the network. I've had to deal with some of these COVID testing experiences outside of [The Masked Singer], I can honestly say, none of them has been able to compete with the level of accommodation that production provided. So, you know, with that being said, if the opportunity presents itself again to be a part of The Masked Singer, you can definitely look forward to seeing me do it in a whole new way. I'll make it that much more challenging for y'all to figure out who it is. That's a fact.

You recently announced your first new album in 11 years. What can fans expect from this new work?

I think the consumer that has grown to know and love Busta Rhymes that has been a part of this journey with me for so long, they're gonna get the timeless greatness in a new refreshing way that I haven't done on any album prior, because I've never taken 11 years to record one body of work. It makes it that much more compelling, powerful, and cohesive. So I am super excited about this project. The name of the album is Extinction Level Event 2. I put out the first offering about four weeks ago, a collab with me and the No. 1 dancehall reggae artist in the world. His name is Vybz Kartel, and the song is called "The Don & The Boss." I got a collab with Trippie Redd out right now called "I Got You." And my second offering from this album is with Anderson .Paak. That song is called "YUUUU", and all three of those songs have videos out to them.

When can we expect the new album?

I believe I'm going to announce the release date next week. So you can look forward to that. And, man, I just want to do my part in continuing to give people feel-good energy. I want to do my part in continuing to spark thought. And I also want to do my part in continuing to contribute to the culture in a significant way, and shift the climate in a productive way with music, and inspire people to be greater.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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The Masked Singer

Celebs compete in this crazy reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?
type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 3
rating
genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • Fox

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