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Why Onyx’s “Backdafucup” Was A Game-Changer

Very New York, very street, and very gritty.

A recent Tweet gave me—more so than an age check—some insight into how far back some of the younger listener’s insights into Hip Hop goes. While discussing the 19th anniversary of Eminem’s Slim Shady LP, one user tweeted that it was the album that he was forced to hide from his mother.

https://twitter.com/specialdesigns/status/967533107376197632

That instantly reminded me of the album that was the one that I—and others in my bracket—had to hide from our parent, Bacdafucup, the debut effort from South Suicide Queens foursome (now a duo) Onyx.

I was excited for this kid to learn about—and experience—this project for the first time, but more so stopped to reflect on why that album is such a notable standout in my timeline.

1993 was a vastly different time in Hip Hop. It wouldn’t be until later that year when heads would experience Wu-Tang Clan’s game-changing debut, and we’d yet to experience 2Pac and Biggie at their height.

While New York had set the tone in the 80s, many of its most prominent stars had begun to slightly dim beneath the height of ‘Gangsta Rap,’ as led by NWA. The departures of Ice Cube and (eventually) Dre from the group, the rise of Death Row, and the massive commercial success of this new sub-genre gave steam to a new breed of artists that wanted to bite onto the wave. Even some older respected names like RUN DMC (for example) tried to hop on the fad.

There was an alternative genre brewing, with acts such as De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest—and other members that eventually rounded out the Native Tongues—presenting what began as an almost “hippie” movement. They worked to counteract the over-glorified violent undertones that seemed to be not only dominating the airwaves, causing waves of controversy, but painting the black experience in a more negative spotlight than it may have needed.

This was the era. Discovered by RUN DMC’s DJ Jam Master Jay, Onyx—comprised of Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, Suavé, and the late Big DS—became the hardcore answer to anything the West had to offer; while Dre may have amalgamated other’s experience to create what he called “entertainment,” Onyx was different on many levels.

 
They felt very, for lack of a better term, authentic. Very New York, very street, and very gritty. Their rough around the edges exterior never seemed to let it’s guard down, which ultimately bolstered their image even more. It was violent, without over-selling it to the point of macabre detachment from reality, like some horror-core acts from that era. It sounded as thought Sticky was a flop away from being the very figure he rapped about.

The Def Jam release of Bacdafucup was filled with no-holds-barred angst, incredible production, and a considerable amount of clear character development. The chemistry was crazy, but Fredro was the firecracker, Suavé was the lyrical third wheel, and Sticky was the shooter.

Sticky Fingaz never seems to make any lists, but day ones can agree that his verse on “Throw Your Gunz” made them instant fans.

Why Onyx’s “Backdafucup” Was A Game-Changer

They had a level of believable grit that translated into sales; ultimately they had some arguably classic releases, and Sticky and Fredro branched out into acting. “Slam” is still one of the biggest tracks of the era, and the album rests on more than one top albums ever list—which counts for something.

They are still active, and recently released a brand new project called Black Rock. However, without the proper context, it’s impossible for anyone who was first introduced to shock-rap by Eminem to understand their impact fully. Discovering this LP for yourself is highly recommended.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Pressure Dommer Teases His New EP With ”Dopeman” Single/Video

The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

Orlando, Florida, rapper Pressure Dommer is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on his upcoming EP, 8. Set to be his biggest release to date since signing on with No Convo Entertainment — headed by acclaimed record producer Fye Jones — and to wet our appetites, has dropped off a new single and video, Dopeman.

Directed by Brill Adium, the shadowy visual is a cinematic experience, with Pressure on the late night grind; the at times frantic camera motion plays up the almost paranoia-ridden state of being experienced by a trafficker in the trap amid a sea of potential downfalls. The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

“I would describe my sound as reality music,” he tells AAHH, “very influential and soulful … full of jewels.” As he describes it, his grandad and grandma influenced him the most; “seeing them work hard to provide for multiple people — and do it from the bare minimum — [pushes me to strive for the best].

He also tells us that signing with No Convo rests among his most significant achievements. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I love and be supported by a company that believes in me,” he says.

With his eye on the prize, and the goal of creating a lasting legacy in the music industry, Pressure is one of the hungriest rappers we’ve come across in a minute. “We’re getting this project ready for the masses,” he confidently, pointing toward the near future. It’s about to be a hot summer!

Check out the visual, below. 

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Tee Grizzley’s Highly-Anticipated Debut, ‘Activated’ Has Arrived

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated. Since coming on…

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated.

Since coming on the scene in 2017, he’s been building up to this moment with songs like the platinum hit single, “First Day Out” and critically acclaimed debut mixtape, My Moment. Tee Grizzley tells his story of trials, tribulations, and triumph growing up in the Motor City. The 24-year-old seizes his moment with his signature street mentality and aggressive attitude.

Activated features all-star cast of guest appearances including Jeezy, Chris Brown, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, YFN Lucci, and many more. Tee Grizzley’s debut album features 18 brand new songs, including hit singles, “2 Vaults”, “Jettski Grizzley”, and “Colors”. Activated is available everywhere exclusively through 300 Entertainment.

Courtesy of Spotify, Stream Tee Grizzley’s debut album, Activated below.

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Q&A With Rapper Minty Burns

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to…

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to Toronto, you’ve likely seen his stickers — or his tag on a white cube van. In 2014 he made waves, collaborating with the likes of Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, and Big Lean. With his ever-growing, loyal fan base in tow, he’s been rolling [pun intended] out his latest effort The Dispensary, which shares the name of his niche cannabis clothing line. To top it off, he’s making a move to LA to embed himself in the west coast stoner culture.

Fresh on the heels of Coachella and the release of his “Green Man” visual, featuring legendary dancehall artist Louie Rankin — of Belly fame — he sat with AAHH for a quick Q&A. Check it out, below.

 
How did you get into the game?
 
I started out freestyling with my friends in high school which led to me doing battle rap for a few years. I won some big battles in Toronto and then started putting out music independently.
 
Who were some of your influences coming up?
 
I use to listen to a lot of Big Pun, Tupac, and Eminem.  Rappers like Fabolous and Jadakiss also inspired my style a lot. Before rap, I listened to a bit of rock too.
 
I hear you’re headed to LA; what are your plans out there?
 

I can’t wait to get back to the lab and work with producers I met while working out there. I also plan on shooting a bunch of new videos and stopping by some radio stations. Check out my last interview and freestyle on dash radio.
 
Let’s chat about your latest video; how did you connect with Louie Rankin?
 
Louie is an OG, and he’s always in Toronto. We got to link up one day, and I played him the song. He started spazzing so when I thought of the concept I knew he would be dope to kick it off.
 
Is there a project in the works?
 
My mixtape is coming out this summer. It got a lot of different sounds and collabs on there. I’m super excited for my fans to hear what I have been cooking up in the past year.
 
Tell me more about The Dispensary.
 
The tape features Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, Big Lean, 808 Mafia, Arrabmuzuk and more. I also have a clothing line called the Dispensary which im pushing alongside the tape. Look out for an official release date and release parties in a city near you.
 
Canada is about to legalize weed: thoughts?
 
I think it’s about goddamn time. The movement has been stable for ten plus years now, and I’m happy to see people not having to face charges and worry about going to jail for weed. Hopefully, the government here in Canada can figure out a good system to distribute it and still offer good quality at a reasonable price to the consumer.
 
Any last words?
 
Follow my social @MintyBurns and subscribe to my youtube channel @planetminty. My Official video for Green Man video is out now! Go check that out and burn one. Much Love!
 

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Cole Delivers On Record-Breaking KOD

The real is back, the Ville is back. Legendary North Carolina rapper J. Cole burst back onto the scene last…

The real is back, the Ville is back. Legendary North Carolina rapper J. Cole burst back onto the scene last week after a relatively quiet year, releasing his 4th full-length studio LP titled KOD. After an action packed three days, which included two international pop-up shows and a series of exciting tweets, the album was finally released on all major streaming platforms on Friday, April 20th (international stoner day, hint hint). Buckle up, my friends, because there’s a lot to unpack here.

The three alternate album titles, Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons, along with the artwork – which features children snorting cocaine, sipping lean, and smoking weed – pointed to the album being a critique of todays youth drug culture. While addiction and substance abuse are major themes of the album, KOD lacks specific direction and is not solely based on these issues. The project is more so general social commentary, with Cole flittering back and forth between a litany of deep and timely topics. The combination of the cover artwork, the 4/20 release-date, and title themes are misleading. There’s far too much going on in KOD for a concrete storyline to come to light.

While online theories are entertaining and partially correct, they still don’t account for the many conflicting portions of the album. Take kiLL edward, for example, who is listed as the album’s lone feature but is actually Cole’s drug abusing alter-ego (when edward speaks, it’s a heavily filtered version of Cole’s voice). It would be all well and good if, as theorized online, edward is the evil king of the rap game attempting to lure Cole to the dark side and join the youth in their reckless and hedonistic behavior. Throughout the album, Cole fights off edward with all of his might and eventually kills him (so they say online). But edward only has a minimal presence on the album; he’s only featured on two songs. The entertaining back and forth that could have been never comes to fruition and ultimately, the theme falls short of its full potential.

 
To complicate matters further, it’s nearly impossible to tell when Cole is speaking from his own perspective or that of someone else. Take the track “KOD,” for example, which, flow-wise and production-wise, is a slapper. Cole starts the track with lyrics that are undoubtedly from his own perspective, as he’s known for going platinum twice before without any features: “How much you worth? How big is your home? How come you won’t get a few features? I think you should? How ’bout I don’t?” Later on the track, however, Cole, who doesn’t even smoke weed, brags about sipping lean: “Yeah, at this shit daily, sipped so much Actavis I convinced Actavis that they should pay me.” Is this kiLL edward speaking? Is this Cole speaking from the perspective of another rapper? It’s impossible to tell. All of this is rapped in Cole’s normal voice, implying that it’s not coming from kiLL edward’s perspective.

Only a few bars later, Cole spits a line that is again inarguably personal: “Platinum disc and I own masters, bitch, pay me.” If Cole wanted to make a themed album, he should have either rapped any lyrics that didn’t apply to himself using edward’s distorted voice, or, he could have simply listed edward as a feature on any track that contains lines from Cole’s alter-ego perspective and let the fans decipher which lines apply to whom. Cole reached in his attempt to make a themed album and convoluted an otherwise great body of work. Based on the twelve tracks that make up this project, he should have given the album a more general title and a piece of artwork.

Album theme aside, KOD is a moving and highly educational body of work. To piggyback off of Charlemagne Tha God’s joke, The ROC should be changed to the T.E.D. because the amount of knowledge Jay-Z and Cole consistently give to the people is astounding. On the closer, “1985,” Cole responds to criticism he’s received from Lil Pump with some informatory, simultaneously scorching, bars:

One day, them kids that’s listening gon’ grow up
And get too old for that shit that made you blow up/Now your show’s lookin’ light cause they don’t show up/Which unfortunately means the money slow up/Now you scramblin’ and hopin’ to get hot again/But you forgot you only popped ’cause you was ridin’ trends/Now you old news and you goin’ through regrets/‘Cause you never bought that house, but you got a Benz.

Like “1985,” the album is full of must-listens. On the “Once an Addict” interlude, Cole describes the anguish and guilt he felt as a teen watching his mother struggle with substance abuse. On “The Cut Off,” he explores toxic, one-way relationships that he’s been forced to end. On “Friends,” he pleads with other companions of his struggling with addiction, promising that there are healthier ways to overcome systematic-oppression-induced anxiety and depression. The stories and messages on KOD are far more important than its production, which is percussion heavy and melodically muted – this is in stark contrast to some of Cole’s older, glossier, sample-laden projects such as The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights.

 
Cole did what he does best on KOD, summing up complex and poignant topics with conciseness and clarity. While some argue that his work is overly simplistic, it’s important to keep in mind when listening to a Cole album that it’s just that, an album, and not a graduate school thesis. To convey his thoughts in such an articulate manner over just 42 minutes, as he does on KOD, highlights his underrated talent as a wordsmith. More importantly, Cole again achieved his primary goal: to educate, inspire, and lead as many people as possible through his selfless works of art. It’s officially a Cole spring, and the official closing track title, “1985 (Intro to The Fall Off”),” hints that it may indeed be a Cole summer too.

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Stalley’s Solo Ride

He’s a refreshing abnormality in the hip-hop game; a grounded rapper without a skewed sense of reality or inflated self-worth.

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