Back in the days when I was a young boy doing grown man shit. Many albums would play the soundtrack for everything we did for weeks, and sometimes even months. One such album that would stay in our boxes for an untold amount of time would be the 1993 debut album from Onyx called Bacdafucup. The group was made up of the four rappers from Queens NY named Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz, Sonsee, and the late Big DS. The album was the pure definition of hardcore. Four emcees with a demanding mic presence that could be felt with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Vicious and in your face lyrics that was every bit as offensive as they were creative. In combination with loud, bangin' production by the late Jam Master Jay of RUN DMC fame, and Chyskillz that gave speakers a better workout than crooks hauling ass from cops. 1992 was the birth of Onyx, but 1993 was the rise of The Mad Face Invasion.
The title of the album, and the four emcees on the cover art are dressed in black, with mean faces and a firearm would give any newcomer an idea on what this group is all about. But nothing prepared the listeners ears better than the opening intro called Bacdafucup. The short intro has a catchy bassline with a drum loop, and the group yelling into the mic the name of the track, warning all other rappers to back up because the Onyx is here. I don't recall at the moment any album back then opening up quite like this.
This track goes into the opening song Bichasniguz. This track sets the tone for the whole album, packed with angry lyrics, braggadocio, and lots of foul language, coupled with a slammin' bassline and scratchin', it's just a buffet for the ears. The best part about the track, the hook changes towards the end, and it's every bit as catchy as the first one maintaining a very high tempo. Each of them bring their A game, but Sticky is the show stealer here, and he pretty much steals the show on all of the tracks. Hell, Onyx made it cool to have a bald head back then.
Speaking of bald heads, one of their tracks would also be named Atak of da Bal-Hedz. Where the crew is pretty violent here with deadly lyrics, talking about going at anybody who criticizes their bald heads. The track is pure fiyah with a high tempo drum loop and a sick bassline. Onyx clearly had no intention on taking prisoners on this album. Not at all. Throw Ya Gunz was their first single on the album, and the opening begins with the crew shouting the intro for the track with no beat. Then the lyrics begin with Fredro rippin' up the mic to a loud siren-filled bassline. Onyx also gets dirty and creative with tracks like N**** Bridges and Blac Vagina Finda.
The second half of the album continues to run with a full head of steam. It's no secret that the album can appear to be one dimensional and they ust have realized this, therefore the group sticks to their strengths, and possibly their biggest strength happens to be their charisma. The whole album has so far been in your face profanity by the barrel fulls, but they manage to pull off two tracks without any cursing at all. The tempo is still very upbeat, and the production effortlessly carries the tracks. Onyx is Here can somewhat be considered an extended, clean, remix of their opening intro track. I was happy that they didn't limit that beat only to a short intro. The crew reuses the beat for this song here, and it's still every bit as hard hitting as the previous.
Next up would be the song that officially put Onyx on the map and made their commercial success possible, plus every rap artist out there had to take notice. The track that I'm sure even non hip hop fans must have heard is their hit single Slam. I'll admit that it wasn't one of my favorite tracks on the album in the long run, mainly because it got so much play. But I can't knock this one at all, and since so much time has passed by I can bump it now. Everything is on point with this track, I mean everything. The jazzy production with the bass blended in with the trumpets and drums creates a magnificent feast for the ears which I remember being very creative at the time. Along with more fire breathing lyrics and word play. This track right here more than the others, Sticky truly stands out. Anyone who has never heard a single track from Onyx and is even somewhat a fan of hip hop should do themselves a favor and download this right now.
The final track that was featured as a single was Shiftee. Onyx gets low down, gritty, and grimy with this one. This is another one of my favorite tracks on the album, and it's actually the darkest. The crew really aren't screaming into the mics as aggressively when compared to their other tracks. They appear to take a more sinister approach to match the ambience of the production. The final track on the album is an infidelity track called Da Nex N***z. The crew speaks about being cheated on with the first verse possessing the greatest impact. It's in very graphic detail, but that's what makes it so real. I knew several guys who have experienced that, and I'll say that the results were rarely pretty.
Something that I neglected to mention. During my 20 years or so listening to hip hop. One thing I have grown to hate have been skits, and I hate them up to this day. Which is the reason I can't really stand Wyclef's debut solo album The Carnival, but that's another story. Normally, I listen to them once, and never again, this even includes closing out the album. However, this album contains a few in the form of short songs, that are quite entertaining due to their rowdy nature. This leads me to the albums outro called Getdaf**out. It begins with what appears to be a guy who's ending his own house party. He mentions that there's some baldheaded dudes outside throwing bottles, flippin' over cars, and burning buildings. It's almost as if Onyx are setting the stage for a coming apocalypse or just straight going crazy. Strangely enough, their follow up album All We Got Iz Us for the most part would utilize a pre-apocalypse backdrop for some of their tracks, but that's something to talk about later.
In any case, Onyx debut album definitely raised the bar on what hardcore rap should sound like, and what group cohesiveness should also sound like. The overly aggressive lyrics, mic dominance, unmatched charisma, teamwork when they're joining in on each others verses helped them to shape together a hardcore musical masterpiece.
Onyx made a very strong debut here. This was a groundbreaking and innovative album for that time, and to me is one of the greatest albums ever, which can make my top 50. As well as one of the most memorable during hip hop's Golden Age. I highly recommend this to old and newer fans of the genre.
1-Bacdafucup 2-Bichasninuz 3-Throw Ya Gunz 4-Here N Now 5-Bust Dat A** 6-Atak of da Bal-Hedz 7-Da Mad Face Invasion 8-Blac Vagina Finda 9-Da Bounca N**** 10-N**** Bridges 11-Onyx Is Here 12-Slam 13-Stik N Muve 14-Bichasbootleguz 15-Shiftee 15-Phat(N All Dat) 16-Da Nex Niguz 17-Getdafucout
Stand outs for me: Bichasniguz, Atak of da Bal-Hedz, Throw Ya Gunz, Shiftee, Slam
Honorable Mentions: Nigga Bridges, Onyx Is Here
Pros: -Never loses its focus -High impact production -Overflowing with charisma
Cons: -Lyrics and content too in your face -Not for everybody
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