The more things change, the more they stay the same. Almost six years after the fervent introduction of one of music's most emphatic Rap groups, remnants of a post-bald headed hysteria and hoarse-throated deliverance left in the wake of a multi-platinum debut opus entitled Bacdafucup have continued to resurface atop Hip-Hop's ever--metamorphosing and fleeting waters.
However, not since the primal unified chants of 1992's potent "Throw your Gunz," has a group, so convincingly, been able to capture the raw rage of ghetto angst and translate It into a musical relevance for the world to see than Onyx. Started off in the chairs of a small Queens barber shop in '91, the beginnings of a new rejuvenated Hip-Hop renaissance were well underway. From collaborating on rhymes while cutting hair to battling potential contenders on line at such clubs as the Building and Red Zone, Onyx honed and developed their collective talents at every opportunity they had, a practice which eventually caught the discerning eye of the legendary Jam Master Jay.
Complete with an album's worth of material, Onyx were introduced to Jay and subsequently signed to a record single at JMJ Records, which extended to an EP, and ultimately led to the climactic producing of Bacdufucup Selling over two million copies, Onyx 's debut album forcefully grabbed the industry by its reigns and steered it Into new grounds of Hip-Hop potency. Receiving wide-spread industry adulation for their spirited and reveling music, Onyx captured Soul Train 's Best Rap Album honors that year by beating out Dr. Dre's would-be classic The Chronic and slamdancing themselves on stage to accept their award.
Riding the amazing success of Bacdafucup, Onyx spent the next two years on tour, showcasing their unparalleled and uncompromising energetic stage show for millions of newly-dedicated fans. Performing along side the likes of Hip-Hop greats such as KRS-ONE and Run-DMC, Onyx was quickly boosted into an elite level of stardom usually reserved for the most revered and tenured of artists. Overwhelmed by their newly-found fame and success, coming off the high of touring and being embraced around the world, the group felt the need to put things back into perspective. As Sonee explains: "The fast pace of the rap game had us all wild and not really thinking.
Right off the tour we came back and that's when you saw the realness around you again. We all had to sit back and think and get things clear." A realness which was captured in Onyx's introspective and dark follow-up gold album All We Got Iz Us. Manifested in the sophomore LP's first single "Last Days," a matured Onyx presented an ominous outlook at everyday reality that not only reflected the group's grounded perspective but provided for uncoated, hard-to-swallow truths throughout the industry. In between recording the second album, Onyx's charismatic panache and believable grittiness were recognized by outside industries as well, as the group's acting avenues began to flourish.
Aside from appearances by Sticky and Fredro in such major releases as HBO's "Strapped," and Spike Lee's "Clockers," Sticky was featured in the Hughes Brother's "Dead Presidents," while Fredro starred in the Rhea Pearlman/Danny De Vito directed "Sunset Park," as well as two fall seasons along side Brandy on UPN's successful sitcom " Moesha. " Having remained in the spotlight since their initial mad-face invasion In '92, Onyx has continued to master their highs in every venture they've assumed, leading up to now - the release of their highly anticipated third album entitled Shut 'Em Down.
Sharpen up your razors and prepare your lozenges, for the original shiftee, low-down, gritty and grimy triumvirate of Fredro Starr, Sonee Seeza, and Sticky Fingaz - the ardent collective known to the world as Onyx - have returned from a two-year excursion complete with a new album in tow.
Fittingly christened Shut 'Em Down, Onyx's third LIP is the inexhaustible practice to the group's fiery raucous-filled preachment and sets to finish what the first two albums have started a complete industry hostile takeover. Lending from both previous albums, Onyx extends their belligerent epithets of Afficial nastee-ism way past current trends of big will mythomania, setting the stage for their long overdue and rude awakening return as verbalized by Sticky on their first single "Shut 'Em Down":
"To all Y'all real willies / throw ya Rollies in da sky
Now all my crooks / rob them playas outside."
Two plus years in the making, a seasoned Onyx returns with their new album same as they ever were-essential b-boy fundamentalists with an unparalleled frenzied charisma that only this animated trio can bring. Developed around the musical creations Of Such producers as Self, K-Love, Budda and DJ Scratch, Shut 'Em Down marks a stylistic change from their last predominantly self-produced album, providing the ideal cinematic backdrop for Onyx's pertinent ghetto philosophies and visual street narrations. Explains Sonee about the album: "The music is all vibes, feelings and emotions.
Be it wild, or live – we’ve got a concoction of a lot of things happening." 15 tracks deep, Onyx's third album surfs the entire coast of emotional ranges, landing at such stops as the amped up "Raise It Up," a '98 throw-your-guns-ode to street constituencies across the nation, the elevating "Hydro," an up-tempo and inventive wordplay about the group's main source of inspiration co-produced by Fredro, the ominous "I Don't Wanna Die," a graphic examination in triple time of why every man wants to go to heaven but no man wants to die, and "Veronica," a visual tale of set-up and deceit cleverly developed around the conversational dialogue between Sticky, Fredro and Sonee. Says Fredro in a critique of Shut 'Em Down: "Hip-Hop is really colorful now... we're here to bring back the dark side."
In their strategic plans for total domination, Onyx rises to new found levels of creativeness while maintaining their ever kinetic vibe and overbearing presence. "We're strictly offense, never defense. We don't react to what's going on around LIS, we're just changin' things - keepin' it movin," states a matter-of-factly Sticky. And keeping things moving is exactly what Onyx are doing. Aside from being featured in the upcoming Miramax release "Ride" (including a Soundtrack appearance with Wu-Tang), the group has also been setting the foundation for their Afficial Nast record label, nurturing under their wings Such artists as All City, X-1 (Sticky's little brother), Gang Green, Buttafucco, and songstress Sunshine, all scheduled to appear on an upcoming compilation album later this year.
Sticky Fingaz is also set to start recording songs for his solo album upon completion of Shut 'Em Down.
Critical and self-analytical has Onyx been during the time in between making the new album and as such it has reflected a concerted growth on their behalf, both musically and mentally. "You can't think that anything is your height, because once you feel like you've reached your height You're eventually going to stop reaching," offers Sticky. Having pioneered a new distinct Sound in Hip-Hop six years prior, nothing has changed - Onyx is still setting the energetic and volatile pace for the rest of the Hip-Hop world to follow, one mad face at a time. As Sticky so eloquently sums it up, "Onyx is 'bout to give Hip-Hop a bloody lip!"
ONYX released an album in July 2002 entitled bacdafucup II (sales of the record unknown), also in '99 Onyx member Fredro Starr landed another role in the movie 'Light it up' and returned on the silver screen in 2001 with a role in "Save the last dance". Also both Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr released solo albums in late Spring 2001 gaining luke warm success.
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Shut em down remix | Reviewer: Nephros | 7/31/09
Shut em down remix is my best song its so perfectly written and well performed in a way that rockstar licensed in their gta installment. The whole album is actually super especially when sticky fingers adding his madness in em nice songs.
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