The original cast of Onyx consisted of the threesome of Fredro “Q” Starr, Big DS (rip) and Suave (aka Sonee Seeza). In 1990 the Queens bred trio inked a single deal with Profile to test the waters, and released the single “Ah, And We Do It Like This”. The song was not terrible, but it definitely had a more laid back sound than Onyx fans would become accustom to hearing. Ultimately, the single didn’t do well and Profile decided not to pick Onyx up for an album deal.
After parting ways with Profile, Onyx lost their in-house producer B-Wiz, who decided to go down south and sell drugs (a decision that would soon lead to his death). Around the same time, Fredro’s little cousin, who rapped but wasn’t taking it too serious, begin to hang out with Onyx and record with the team. His cousin was Sticky Fingaz. The demo that ultimately convinced Jam Master Jay to sign Onyx featured Sticky rhyming on it, and even though Sticky wasn’t an official member of the group, Jay would only sign Onyx if Sticky was a part of the team. Sticky became an official member (even though DS and Sonee weren’t crazy about the addition), Jay signed the revamped version of Onyx to his Columbia Records/Def Jam imprint (JMJ), the quartet shaved their heads (which according to Fredro symbolized a new beginning), took on a much harder and grimy sound, and the mad face invasion was born with their debut album, BacDaFucUp.
Jam Master Jay and newcomer, Chyskillz would handle the bulk of the production for BacDaFucUp, and the album would go on to earn Onyx a platinum plaque (thanks largely to their smash crossover hit, that we’ll get to in a little taste). But more importantly, it received heaps of critical acclaim, as some even consider it a classic.
Well, lets bacdafucup and revisit this one.
BacDaFucUp – BacDaFucUp opens with this dark instrumental, as the 4 man crew yell in unison for you to “move back muthafuckas” because “the Onyx is here!”, followed by Fredro shouting the intro and album title. This quickly bleeds into the next song…
BichAsNiguz – This Jam Master Jay (who I’ll only refer to as JMJ for the rest of this post)/Chyskillz instrumental has plenty of energy and still manages to have a slightly dark low-key feel (I love the drums on this one). All four members of the group put all their energy into this song giving it all they have, but Sticky Fingaz makes it clear from the jump that he’s the HNIC and the only one in the crew with real bars, as he sons the rest of the team and shuts things down on the final verse of the song. This was sick.
ThrowYaGunz – This was the lead single from BacDaFucUp. Over a dark Chyskillz produced track, the quartet keep the energy high, as they instruct the listeners to “throw ya guns in the air, and buck, buck like ya just don’t care”, in between their hyper aggressive verses. Side note: Premo would later sample a piece of Sonee Seeza’s verse from this one for the hook on the classic Jeru Da Damaja record “Come Clean” (‘”Oh oh, heads up, cause we’re droppin’ some shit).
Here ‘N’ Now – Chyskillz keeps the dark mood going with this pitch black backdrop. And Sticky Fingaz’ dark and horrorcorish verse, will leave you a bit uneasy and make you a fan of the dude’s lyrical prowess. Side note: Premo would also sample a portion of Sonee Seeza’s verse from this song (“and to all y’all crews, whatever!”) for another Jeru song joint (“Whatever”).
Bust Dat Ass – Short call and response interlude.
Atak Of Da Bal-Hedz – JMJ and Chyskillz take their first break from behind the boards, as they let someone going by Kool Tee hold down the production on this one. The backdrop is not as dark as the previous songs, but it does still have a devious feel hidden within the melodic mood the horns bring to it, and fits in to BacDaFucUp‘s overall color scheme. Regardless of who is behind the boards, Onyx still brings the ruckus on this one.
Da Mad Face Invasion – Interlude.
Blac Vagina Finda – This song marks the first weak track on BacDaFucUp. JMJ and Chyskillz build the instrumental around an
overly often used sample of Bob James’ “Nautilus” and “Take Me To The Mardi Gras”. The backdrop is garbage, and Sticky Fingaz doesn’t even muster up a solid verse on this ode to black pussy.
Da Bounca Nigga – Interlude.
Nigga Bridges – Hot garbage. Well, maybe not hot, but it is garbage. The hook (which plays off of the children’s song “London Bridge”) may be the worst hook in the history of hip-hop. I’m dead serious.
Onyx Is Here – Onyx recycles the instrumental from the opening interlude “BacDaFucUp” and slightly alters the hook for this one. This is actually pretty dope.
Slam – This was the second single from BacDaFucUp, and the song that Onyx will always be remembered for. JMJ and Chyskillz combine dope horns, an infectious bass line and an energetic backdrop with Onyx’ high energy and catchy hook, and turn it into an unintentional crossover platinum selling hit that would also give BacDaFucUp a hefty push to eventually becoming a platinum selling album as well. I don’t think even Onyx thought this song would become the pop sensation that it did back in the day. Classic.
Stik ‘N’ Muve – Legend has is that this is the song that got JMJ to sign the bald headed foursome. In Brian Coleman’s Check The Technique, Sticky Fingaz says they had to change the instrumental for this song because they couldn’t get clearance on the sample used in the original mix, and goes on to say “the original beat was fuckin’ incredible”. Well, I enjoyed the JMJ/Jeff Harris instrumental on this mix, so I would love to hear what the original backdrop sound like.
BichAsBootleguz – Interlude.
Shifftee – JMJ and Chyskillz hook up another dope dark instrumental for the self-proclaimed “official nasty niggas” to get shifty and grimy over. And Sticky Fingaz delivers his best verse of the album.
Phat (‘N’ All Dat) – I’ve never been a fan of this one. Although, I still laugh every time I hear Sticky Fingaz tell Fredro to “shut the hell up” after he interrupts his verse with nonsense.
Da Nex Niguz – The hardcore heartless foursome show a little vulnerability on this one, as they discuss the depressing scenario of catching your girl giving head to the next man. Fredro left me laughing and scratching my head when he says “she was sucking the next nigga’s dick… I was just watching this, it was monotonous, I couldn’t picture the next nigga’s dick in my girl’s esophagus”. He clearly doesn’t know the meaning of “monotonous”, as there is no way in hell that watching something like that could become monotonous, no matter how many times you’ve watched it. Kool Tee’s dark groove compliments the fellas colorful verses well, resulting in another winner.
GetDaFucOut – Over a moody bass line, an almost hysterical Sticky Fingaz (who sounds a lot like Busta Rhymes on this one…hindsight bright idea: A Busta Rhymes/Sticky Fingaz collab album would have been interesting to hear) quickly informs the listener that BacDaFucUp is over, so they need to the “GetDaFucOut”.
Jam Master Jay insisting that Sticky Fingaz be added to Onyx is probably the best move the group ever made, even if they were forced into doing it. There is no question that the self-proclaimed “mad author of anguish” is the chief emcee and carries the lyrical load throughout BacDaFucUp. Led by Sticky, Onyx’s animated hyper-energy and horrorgangster rhymes mixed with quality and consistently dark production, make BacDaFucUp an overall solid album and very entertaining listen, as long as you’re not looking for substance. Long live the bald heads!