Smith is well-known throughout the hip hop community with the release of his debut solo album on Elektra Records, The Coming, in 1996 (1996 in music) after leaving the Leaders of the New School. The album's mix of ragga and hip hop made it a marginal success. The follow-up, When Disaster Strikes was less successful in the US but sold well overseas. The album did, however, produce two hugely popular singles and videos in America, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and "Dangerous". The third single, "Turn It Up/Fire It Up" was nowhere near as popular.
The same year he released The Imperial as part of the Flipmode Squad, a collaborative project with rappers Rampage, Lord Have Mercy, Spliff Star, Rah Digga and Baby Sham. Rhymes' fascination with film informed the same year's Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front, which took its title from the disaster movie Deep Impact. The frenetic "Gimme Some More" reached number 5 in the UK singles chart in January 1999 (see 1999 in music). Rhymes enjoyed further transatlantic success in April when the highly catchy "What's It Gonna Be?!', featuring Janet Jackson, reached the US and UK Top 10. Rhymes has kept up his frantic work rate, juggling his music career with his acting roles. In 2000 he worked on several movie projects, including the remake of Shaft, and released his final album for Elektra, Anarchy.
After leaving Elektra, Rhymes signed to J Records, a new label started by recently ousted Arista chief and founder Clive Davis. In 2001 (see 2001 in music), he released a greatest hits record, and a new effort. Continuing the apocalyptic theme of his previous albums, he titled his record Genesis The aptly titled Genesis gave Busta Rhymes a rebirth of success with the mega-hits "Break Ya Neck" and "Pass the Courvoisier" produced by hip-hop uber-producers Dr. Dre and The Neptunes, respectively.
On November 26, 2002 (see 2002 in music) Busta Rhymes released his 6th studio album It Ain't Safe No More. Its first single, "Make It Clap," was a moderate hit and had a popular remix, along with a remix video, which featured Seal Paul and gave the song an even more reggae-inspired flavor. The second single, a duet with Mariah Carey, entitled "I Know What You Want" has been even more successful; having reached the top ten of Billboard's pop singles chart and the top ten in rap radio airplay.