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What's It Gonna Be?!

"What's It Gonna Be?!" is the third single released by American rapper Busta Rhymes from his third studio album E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front (1999), featuring guest vocals from American singer Janet Jackson. The song was a commercial and critical success, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten of various countries. It also hit number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks charts, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 2000 Grammy Awards.

"What's It Gonna Be"
Single by Busta Rhymes featuring Janet Jackson
from the album E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front
ReleasedMarch 9, 1999 (1999-03-09)
  • CD single
  • 7" vinyl single
  • 12" vinyl single
Recorded1998; Larrabee North Studio
(North Hollywood, California)
Producer(s)Darrell "Delite" Allamby
Busta Rhymes singles chronology
"Gimme Some More"
"What's It Gonna Be"
"Get Out!!"
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"Every Time"
"What's It Gonna Be?!"
Music video
"What's It Gonna Be?!" on YouTube

The music video, directed by Rhymes & Hype Williams, was critically lauded, and received four MTV Video Music Awards nominations at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. It is one of the most expensive music videos ever made.

The song appears on Rhymes' compilation albums Total Devastation: The Best of Busta Rhymes and Turn It Up! The Very Best of Busta Rhymes as well as Jackson's Number Ones greatest hits album.

Jackson included the song as an interlude on her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour and sang it for the first time on the second leg of her 2018 State of the World Tour.

Music videoEdit

The music video for the song was directed by Hype Williams on March 12, 1999. It is one of the most expensive videos ever made, costing upwards of $2 million, and focused largely on special effects. The video begins with a glass of a silver liquid moving toward the edge of its resting area, which spills and transforms into Busta Rhymes as a knight in shining armor and begins singing. Jackson is portrayed as a dominatrix, in a purple latex suit adorned with cock rings and baring her cleavage.

The video contains frequent sexual innuendo, visually based on the song's lyrical themes, portraying imagery alluding to wet dreams and stimulated wetness. Jackson appears in a liquid tunnel as Rhymes morphs into a sperm-like creature and floats towards her. A marching band of miniature Rhymes passes through the tunnel's walls as Rhymes transforms into one himself, before morphing again to rise through the tunnel's ceiling. Electric sparks fly as miniature versions of himself pour like raindrops onto Jackson's breasts. Towards the finale, Rhymes and Jackson are united to perform together, as their bodies rub up on each other. The remaining scenery then combusts into little as they continue transforming into a silver liquid.

Track listingsEdit

US - 12" vinyl Maxi SingleEdit

  • A1. What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version - Dirty) (5:28)
  • A2. What's It Gonna Be?! (Instrumental) (5:28)
  • A3. What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean - Edit) (4:19)
  • B1. What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version - Clean) (5:28)
  • B2. What's It Gonna Be?! (Instrumental) (5:28)

Germany 5" CD SingleEdit

  • What's It Gonna Be?! (Soul Society Remix) (3:56)
  • What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean-Edit) (4:04)
  • What's It Gonna Be?! (Micky Finn D&B Remix) (5:59)

US 5" CD SingleEdit

  • What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean - Edit) (4:09)
  • What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean) (5:29)

UK - Cassette SingleEdit

  • A1. What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean - Edit) (4:09)
  • A2. What's It Gonna Be?! (Soul Society Remix) (3:53)
  • B1. What's It Gonna Be?! (LP Version Clean - Edit) (4:09)
  • B2. What's It Gonna Be?! (Soul Society Remix) (3:53)

Charts and certificationsEdit

The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and Hot Rap Tracks charts. It also reached number five on the Rhythmic Top 40. It was a top ten hit in the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa. It was a moderate success in Europe, reaching the top forty in most countries. The song sold 800,000 copies in the United States and was certified Gold by the RIAA.[1][2] The single entered at #1 on the UK R&B Singles chart.[3]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[12] Gold 951,786[10][11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1999". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 112 (4): 63. January 22, 2000. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference RIAA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40 - Official Charts Company".
  4. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  5. ^ "OFFICIAL TOP 40 SINGLES". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "South African Divas Singles". Geo Cities. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Billboard: 1999 Year End Chart-Toppers". Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  10. ^ "Best-Selling Records Of 1999". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  11. ^ "Janet Jackson's most downloaded songs in the U.S." JNTSRB. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  12. ^ "American single certifications – Busta Rhymes – What%27s It Gonna Be?". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.