On any given day, while listening to music—whether sitting at my desk at work or driving to wherever in my car—chances are I'm listening to underground/independent Hip-Hop. It's not to say it's the best music in the world, but it's what suits me. However, don't get it twisted, underground/Indie is not synonymous with "substance" or "good". Like any genre of music, there is a fair share of greatness, mixed with complete and utter useless garbage.
In any regard, my recent focus has been on AOL Radio's '90s Hip-Hop channel. What Hip-Hop fan knows anything about anything can deny that the late '80s through late '90s were the shining moment of Hip-Hop? If they're intelligent, no one will deny that. In fact, they would probably get filled with nostalgia at the brink of discussion and start name-dropping their favorite artists and songs from the golden era of music (actually late '80s - mid '90s).
With that being said, I have reacquainted myself with one of my favorite groups of all time, Onyx. In the same respect as the Wu-Tang Clan, Onyx helped to pioneer East Coast Hardcore Hip-Hop with their debut album, Bacdafucup. The entire narrative of the album focuses on stick-ups, robberies, flexing your artillery muscles, and of course, the occasional sex talk.
Now, with the exception of Onyx and a very limited few, I've never been a huge fan of gang vocals in rap music, because most people have no real clue how to execute it properly, but Onyx get it done like a hardcore punk band, which is why they were able to team up with a band like Biohazard on more than one occasion (Judgment Night, Slam). When the chants come in at the end of a line delivery, it's not just to sound loud, or because members think they don't get enough mic time. No. The gang vocals not only add to the passion and energy of the crew, but they reinforce the brutal messages in the lyrics, adding extra emphasis to their dark, grimy street tales.
17 years later, Bacdafucup is still a gem, albeit others who followed over the years have attempted to one-up their predecessors. Few are memorable, but those mad face bald heads will forever be legends.
Do yourself a favor and listen to Bacdafucup, whether it's your first time or you're revisiting the album. Give yourself an opportunity to relive 1993. But as a fair warning, it is an extremely unrelenting, aggressive album.
Onyx - Throw Ya Gunz
Onyx and Biohazard - Judgment Night