Friday, October 4, 2013

Album Review: "Bacdafucup" - Onyx (1993)

INTRODUCTION

When you think of raw, grimy and uninhibited hip-hop (wow; try saying "uninhibited hip-hop" 10 times fast), one of the first groups that should come to your mind is Onyx.

Onyx was originally comprised of four members: Sticky Fingaz (being the most well-known member of the group), Fredro Starr, Suavé (who would later change his name to "Sonsee") and the late Big DS, who left after Onyx's debut album and the subject of this writeup, Bacdafucup.

Onyx formed in 1988 without Sticky Fingaz (yes; believe it or not, he was the last member to join, which is funny because he became the only one out of the group to forge a successful solo career). In 1990, they released their first song called "Ah, and We Do It Like This." Two years later, after Sticky had jumped aboard, Onyx dropped "Throw Ya Gunz," a track that would end up being the first single off of Bacdafucup.

Bacdafucup enjoyed both critical and commercial success, thanks much in part to the hit record "Slam" which became a staple in hip-hop (seriously; do you know anyone who hasn't heard that song before?). The album achieved platinum status just seven months after its release.

Featuring production mostly from Chyskillz and the late Jam Master Jay (yes; of Run-DMC), Bacdafucup has been praised for its gritty, hardcore sound that is considered some of the best pump-up music that hip-hop has to offer.

Is Bacdafucup a classic?

Well, let's get to it. You know the drill.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

1. Bacdafucup
Oddly enough, I haven't seen many intros or skits named after the album title. This is one rare example. It's really disappointing that the beat for this 48-second intro absolutely knocks. Onyx should have used it for an actual song rather than waste it on a freaking skit (a huge pet-peeve of mine).

2. Bichasniguz
The horrendous spelling of the title notwithstanding (get used to it), the first real track on Bacdafucup bangs. The instrumental by Chyskillz and Jam Master Jay is awesome, and each Onyx member tears it to shreds. It's really cool how well all four dudes sound together, as they possess very similar voices and deliveries. Also doesn't the hook ("bitch ass niggas I'ma have to pull your skirt up") apply to so many "rappers" in the game today?

3. Throw Ya Gunz
The aforementioned first single. The Chyskillz production freaking knocks, and Suavé, Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz rip it up. You'll probably notice that Fredro Starr's first line in his verse is the vocal sample that is used in Jeru The Damaja's "Come Clean." Also, one of Sticky Fingaz's bars was sampled in Chino XL's "Riiiot!" Obviously, other artists respect what a dope record "Throw Ya Gunz" is.

4. Here 'n' Now
This isn't bad, but it's not on the same level as the two-headed monster that Bacdafucup opened with. That's all I've got.

5. Bust Dat Ass
This is a skit, but you know what? It's really freaking catchy. This is the first time I have ever complimented a skit, and it will almost surely be the last.

6. Atak of Da Bal-Hedz
I don't think it's possible to butcher the spelling of this cut any worse than Onyx did, but hey; I'm not here to judge their English. The energy level is extremely high here, but I found myself lamenting the fact that Fredro Starr (who is my favorite Onyx member, by the way) isn't on this song.

7. Da Mad Face Invasion
Skit.

8. Blac Vagina Finda
I find it pretty funny how "vagina' is one of the only words Onyx chose to spell correctly on Bacdafucup, but then again, is there a way to spell that differently (and incorrectly) without completely changing the pronunciation? Wow, who am I kidding? I'm sure Onyx could have found a way. Anyway, despite the goofy title and unbelievably questionable (and grossly misogynistic) content, this bangs thanks to the beat by Chyskillz and Jam Master Jay.

9. Da Bounce Nigga
Okay; the volume of these skits is getting irritating, and by "volume," I don't mean how loud they are, which is actually pretty ironic given how loud the dudes in Onyx actually rap.

10. Nigga Bridges
This is probably the worst track here so far, so, naturally, it's the second-longest record on the album. Interpolating "London Bridge" on the chorus is pretty humorous, though.

11. Onyx Is Here
And we're back on the right track. This absolutely bangs, and Fredro actually sounds convincing in saying "Onyx is the antidote for all of your problems." The best part of "Onyx Is Here," however, is easily the hook. The horns and the chanting by Onyx will make your blood boil.

12. Slam
I'll say it again: who hasn't heard this song? If you watch the NBA at all, chances are, you've definitely heard it, as it was the background music for a Vince Carter commercial back in the day (I'm sure some of you at least vaguely remember that). Anyway, "Slam" dropped back in a period where the most radio-friendly record on an album could also be its best cut, unlike today where it is laughable piffle 99.9 percent of the time. This will always knock, and if you disagree, then maybe you should go listen to EDM or something. Or you can monitor the ever-interesting life of Kanye Kardash...er, Kanye West.

13. Stik 'n' Move
"Stik 'n' Move" contains what is probably the most playful beat on Bacdafucup. You can decide for yourself whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. 

14. Bichasbootleguz
Skit No. 568.

15. Shifftee
This was actually the third and final single off of the album. While it's not "Throw Ya Gunz" or "Slam," it's still pretty freaking great. The hook in particular is awesome, and Fredro Starr absolutely eats up the dark-as-hell beat by Chyskillz and Jam Master Jay. "Shifftee" also carries the distinction of being the longest track on Bacdafucup.

16. Phat ('N' All Dat)
I know Onyx is supposed to be loud, but on this record, their voices just overpower the instrumental to the point where it is barely even audible. I feel like this cut is more filler than anything else.

17. Da Nex Niguz
This song just does not fit within the context of the album. At all. Not only that, but it just isn't very good.

18. Getdafucout
You know, instead of wasting dope-ass beats on both the intro and the outro, why not make an actual song out of at least one of them?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Bacdafucup is definitely an entertaining listen; there is no doubt about that. Each and every member of the group is a good MC, and that even includes the late Big DS who doesn't rap nearly as often as the other three. Plus, a lot of the production on here knocks.

When you first hear Onyx, the first thought that probably pops into your mind is, "Okay; I can definitely listen to a couple of their songs, but a whole album would be overkill." It's not a baseless expectation either, as I can definitely see why their constant shouting could seem off-putting. That being said, Bacdafucup holds up surprisingly well from start-to-finish.

Perhaps what is most impressive about Onyx is their ability to reach various audiences without compromising their style. "Slam" is not only a radio hit that is one of the few hip-hop songs that still receives rotation in clubs, but it is also a grimy, abrasive track that stays true to the Onyx formula.

Yes, there are a few missteps on here, but the good outweighs the bad. Bacdafucup deserves the classic label that it has been given, and in the sing-songy state that hip-hop is currently in, it's a refreshing breath of fresh air. Give this a listen, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

That's really all I've got on this album. There really isn't much to criticize about it, and I think it's safe to say that the project--and its intention--is fairly self-explanatory.

TOP TRACKS

1. Slam
2. Onyx Is Here
3. Throw Ya Gunz
4. Bichasniguz
5. Shifftee

2 comments:

  1. was this your first time hearing the album...in 2013? just asking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "It's really disappointing that the beat for this 48-second intro absolutely knocks. Onyx should have used it for an actual song rather than waste it on a freaking skit (a huge pet-peeve of mine)."

    Um... see track #11?

    ReplyDelete