Originoo Gunn Clappaz – Da Storm (October 29, 1996)

In October of 1993, Black Moon seemingly came out of nowhere, releasing their debut album, aptly titled, Enta Da Stage. It took some time for the album to build momentum, but soon the combination of Buckshot’s versatile and energetic rhyming style paired with Da Beatminerz soulfully murky boom bap production would begin to resonate with the streets and eventually be hailed an underground classic. Enta Da Stage would not only lay a solid foundation for Black Moon but would also be the cornerstone for their Boot Camp Clik. In 1995, Smif-N-Wessun would release their phenomenal debut album, Dah Shinin’, followed by Heltah Skeltah’s solid debut, Nocturnal in June of ‘96. Next up to bat would be the Originoo Gunn Clappaz aka O.G.C. with their debut album, Da Storm.

Representing Brooklyn like the rest of their crew, O.G.C. was a trio made up of Starang Wondah, Louieville Sluggah and Top Dog. Their introduction to the world would come on Dah Shinin’, appearing on two of the album’s tracks: “Sound Bwoy Bureill” and the BBC posse joint, “Cession At Da Doghillee.” Heltah Skeltah would also give the trio some shine, inviting them to appear on the lead single from Nocturnal, “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka.” Da Beatminerz would handle the majority of the production on Da Storm, which would produce two singles, climb to number 47 on the Billboard Top 200 and receive favorable reviews from the critics.

I didn’t buy Da Storm back in ‘96, but several years ago I found a used CD copy at a record store for three dollars (which is an absolute steal compared to the current price its listed for on eBay and Amazon). It’s been collecting dust since I bought it, but I’m finally ready to dust it off and continue my journey through the BBC catalogue. So, grab your umbrella and take a stroll with me through Da Storm.

Intro – Da Storm begins with this short skit that finds our hosts smokin’ weed and talkin’ trash while playing NBA Jams. Interesting way to prepare for a storm, but whatever.

Calm Before Da Storm – After a brief snippet of an English accented man waxing poetic about storms, all three legs of the Gunn Clappaz get off bars, as they yawn, stretch and warm up their mics for the evening. Speaking of yawning, Shaleek’s backdrop sounds sleepy, almost like he took the song title a bit too serious.

No Fear – This was the lead single from Da Storm and the only song on the album that I was familiar with before this write-up. Mr. Walt hooks up a subdued mid-tempo bop punctuated by a dense bass line that comes with a stench of suspicion. The trio sound much more engaged than they did on the previous track and shine in the mist of impending storm clouds that the infectious instrumental brings.

Boom…Boom…Prick – This short skit features a faux label exec telling a story about a dispute with an artist over a royalty check that ends on some Big Red shit. Shoutout to Robert Townsend.

Gunn Clapp – This instrumental may be the corniest in Mr. Walt’s production catalog and is way too soft to support the O.G.C.’s threats of gun violence. And what was the purpose of all the record label skits in between the verses?

Emergency Broadcast System – The former host of BET’s Rap City, Big Tigger, drops by for this interlude that sets up the next song…

Hurricane Starang – Starang Wondah gets the lone solo joint on Da Storm, and it’s backed by a bleak but effective Mr. Walt backdrop. Starang displays why he’s Gunn Clappa number one, as he gets off competent bars over the course of the song’s three verses. Rock makes a subtle appearance on this one, dropping a few adlibs, but graciously, he doesn’t spit bars and steal the show from his Fab Fav bredrin. I like this record, but it doesn’t hit with anywhere near the magnitude of a hurricane.

Danjer – Other than a few adlibs towards the end of the song, Starang Wondah sits this one out and lets his partners in crime thug it out over a mellow instrumental. The more I listen to the album, the more I become a fan of Louieville Sluggah’s medieval theatrical rhyming pattern. He sounds like a hood Shakespeare. This was a decent way to follow-up “Hurricane Starang.”

Elements Of Da Storm – Drawn out overly dramatic soliloquy to set up the next track…

Da Storm – Based on the ominous music in the previous interlude, I was expecting to get smacked in the head with some dark and hard boom-bap. But instead, DJ Evil Dee drops an instrumental so dry they could have titled the song “Sahara Desert.” And our indigenous firearms applauding hosts following Evil Dee’s lead, spewing verbal eczema.

Wild Cowboys In Bucktown – As soon as I saw the tracklist on the back of the jewel case, I predicted this would be a Sadat X collab record. Sadat continues his extensive cameo streak, as he and his sidekick, Sean Black show up and join forces with O.G.C. for this decent but easily forgettable cipher session.

God Don’t Like Ugly – God don’t like ugly and I don’t like this song. From the Buckshot/Lord Jamar concocted instrumental to the mundane rhymes, this was boring as shit.

X-unknown – Nothing to see here, folks.

Elite Fleet – O.G.C. is joined by the Representativz (who I first heard on Heltah Skeltah’s “The Square (Triple R)” on the Nocturnal album), MS and Bad Vybez (which might be the most pessimistic alias in the history of hip-hop) for this Magnum Force cipher session, which ironically is missing the two foundational pieces of the Force, Ruck and Rock. Starang Wondah easily outshines his crew on this one, and Supreme’s calmingly somber backdrop was cool, but way too peaceful to back a posse cut.

Flappin’ – I’m a huge fan of Madlib’s production work, so it was a pleasant surprise to see his name in the liner notes as a co-producer for this track (with E-Swift getting the other credit). The duo cook up a darkly serene instrumental that matches the feel of the rest of Da Storm’s sound, as O.G.C. rehashes the same topics they’ve already covered in great detail during the rest of the album.

Based on the album title, the album cover artwork and the fact Da Beatminerz were responsible for most of the production, I was expecting Da Storm to be chock-full of bleak hardcore street rhymes backed by dark gutter instrumentals. You know what they say about books and their covers. The same rule applies for albums. On Da Storm, Starang Wondah is the obvious standout on the mic with Louieville Sluggah and Top Dog being his serviceable sidekicks. But when all the other groups in your crew (Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah) can do what you do better, it’s hard to stand out in the crowd. The bigger issue with Da Storm is the production. The album is burdened by bland and boring beats and O.G.C. aren’t talented enough emcees to overcome the monotony or breathe life into the mediocre music that supports their bars.

Ultimately, O.G.C. fails to bring the storm as advertised in the title and the album gets stuck in the calm. No thunder, lightning, strong winds or torrential downpour. Just grey skies, rain clouds and drizzle. Which makes for great sleeping conditions, not so much for an entertaining hip-hop album.

-Deedub

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5 Responses to Originoo Gunn Clappaz – Da Storm (October 29, 1996)

  1. Kham says:

    Whenever your posts are formatted like this I already know it won’t be a good read. In this one, many song reviews are hollow and incomplete and there’s no background information on the album whatsoever. I prefer the more descriptive inserts and ofc it’s not my blog but it’s not as good as usual

    • deedub77 says:

      Kham – Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Looks like I accidentally posted a rough draft. I just updated it with the final draft. Feel free to check it out again and thanks for reading the blog! I appreciate your support!

  2. willmiami76 says:

    The first time I heard No Fear was on a DJ Camilo mixtape called “The Extraditables” back in 1996. Coincidentally it included MOP’s Stick To Your Gunz and Brownsville on it. I believe what hurt the album aside from it being so boring and bad. Was that the video for No Fear was pulled from rotation on MTV, BET, The Box. Because there’s a scene that they throw The Notorious Big off stage. Duck Down apologized for the video to his family and the Hip Hop community after his murder. OGC released an second album in 1999 or 2000 called The M Pire Strikes Back. I do remember they had a song and video with Mobb Deep. I remember seeing on BET Rap City a few times around that time. I lost interest in BCC/Duck Down records after Heltah Skeltah’s Magnum Force album in 1998 and Black Moon’s War Zone in 1999. The quality of their projects went dowhill. I didn’t start checking for them again until the mid 2000s with the Chemistry alblum by Buckshot/9th Wonder and Sean Price’s Monkey Barz album. I found The Representativez album a few years ago in the used CD bin and bought it. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a good album.

    • deedub77 says:

      I’ve never seen the video for No Fear. I didn’t know Boot Camp had beef with Bad Boy. Interesting….Monkey Barz was dope!!

      • willmiami76 says:

        Monkey Barz was definitely a great album! I believe I read about that story and Duck Down apologizing in the mid 2000s on a website. I had never seen the video before. Until I got the Duck Down DVD with all the videos. You can find the video on Youtube but they blur out the part where they throw Biggie off the stage.

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