Rebel Noiz

Rebel Noiz

Monday, October 14, 2013

Legends of Hip Hop #5: Onyx, the True MCs of Hardcore

Onyx is an East Coast hardcore Hip Hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York. They are now a three piece group but formerly were a four piece group, consisting of Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, and Sonsee (the former member Big DS, left after their debut album).

When you think of Onyx, they really brought a new dynamic to Hip Hop with their aggressive and animated fire filled style of spitting. If you didn't know Onyx in the 90s, you didn't know real and true underground Hip Hop. They used aggressive Jazz East Coast style beats mixed with scratches that they helped pioneer as staples of the East Coast. They represented the realness of life that surrounded them in New York, they were true innovators that were ahead of their time.

The Beginning...

In 1988, Onyx was formed and two years later (in 1990), they released their first single, Ah, And We Do It Like This. They met while working as barbers. When Onyx came together, they honed their skills and their performance act in local clubs and they got noticed by Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay. Jam Master Jay of Def Jam gave them a chance to present a demo, but at the time, Big DS and Sonee Seeza were in Connecticut. Soon after, Fredro Starr called up his cousin, Sticky Fingaz (who is from Brooklyn). After he joined, they came out with the track, Throw Ya Gunz (which was included on their debut album Bacdafucup). Jam Master Jay eventually signed them to his label, JMJ Records (under Def Jam)and even helped them out with the production of their first album.

Bacdafucup to 2003...

The deal under Def Jam, was a recording deal and as promised they recorded their debut album, Bacdafucup, released in 1993. The album was well received by the Hip Hop community, it went platinum and was given much radio play and MTV attention through the hit single SlamBacdafucup also beat out Dr. Dre's smash hit album, The Chronic that year at the Soul Train Music Awards for Best Rap Album. With the enormously popular Slam, Onyx decided to do a remix with the heavy metal band, Biohazard (which helped bridge the gap between heavy metal and Hip Hop). This gained them even more notoriety in the music world and helped influence this fusion as a successful art form hybrid with in music for years to come.
Big DS left the Strapped group because of creative differences during the recording of their second album, All We Got Iz Us. In 1995, they dropped their second album, which was a critical success. It showcased their raw talent behind their self-developed hard hitting hardcore style. The magazine, VIBE listed All We Got Iz Us, as one of the best produced albums of 1995 and one of twenty albums everyone Hip Hop fan should own.

Onyx took a little break from music for a bit and got into the world of acting. They appeared in many TV and movie projects, Spike Lee's Clockers, the Rhea Pearlman and Danny Devito's Sunset Park, and Dead Presidents (as far as their TV projects are concerned, they appeared in HBO's Strapped, Brandy's hit series Moesha, FX's The Shield, and CBS's CSI:Miami).

Onyx returned to the studio in 1998 to release their third album, Shut 'Em Down. It gained critical and commercial success due to their style meshed with many big names in Hip Hop such as, Method Man, DMX, Lost Boyz, Raekwon, Big Pun, Noreaga, and the unknown artist, (at the time) 50 Cent (many people in the mainstream side of Hip Hop don't know that Onyx were the first ones to give 50 Cent his first big break). The album drew a lot of its success from the two smash hits, React and Shut 'EM Down (featuring DMX). Shut 'Em Down was the last album they released under Def Jam, and they took their time coming back with their next album in 2002 called, Bacdafucup Part II. They released this album along with Sa'ad Part 4 (that same year) under Koch Records.

2004 and Beyond...
In 2003, they released Triggernometry and it was promoted in radio interviews and it was around that time when Onyx and 50 Cent had a little confrontation because of 50 Cent's disrespect towards Fredro Starr at the 2003 Vibe Awards. Fredro Starr talked about it in an interview with Source magazine in which he told them about his disappointment towards 50 Cent disrespecting him when they gave him his first breakthrough.

In 2008, they released Cold Case Files: Murda Investigation followed by Cold Case Files Vol. 2 (in 2012). Cold Case Files Vol. 2 is unique because it is one of the first albums to be released by a group without utilizing an outsourcing distribution system (a record company or label), they released it digitally on their domain This gave them the ability to keep all of the proceeds themselves. This year (2013) they also released Energy Beats, which is a collection of remixes, live mixes, and a few original songs as well. You can also find each member doing solo projects on the side but as a group, they have always stayed as one.  To this day, Onyx is still relevant in the Hip Hop community because they are unified and never stop showing the world their interpretations of life within their brand of Hip Hop.

Here are some of their links around the internet, check it out:

Facebook link:

Soundcloud link:

Their Official Website link:

Youtube Channel link:

The Link to the Song That Started-It-All link:

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