“Move BACK motherfuckers, the Onyx is here
My name is Sticky Fingaz, I’m the nigga in ya nightmare
Forget the crowd cheers, I live off fears
It’s the BEAST in me, even the music couldn’t soothe me
It’ll take, more than U-Haul if you’re tryin to move me
See, I wrote the rhyme, but it’s the weed talkin
ALL YOU BICH-ASS-NIGUZ BEST JUST KEEP WALKIN!”
In 1993, the commercial side of rap music got a little more grimey, and the underground side of rap music got pushed to a level of hardcore never seen before. True, this description also fits the surprising success of “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” like a glove, but for all their bravado the Clan never shaved their heads bald while brandishing pistols and stomping a big Timb’ style boot in your face. For Onyx, that’s just the COVER of their seminal debut album “Bacdafucup.”
With a recently minted distribution deal for his independent (or some might say vanity) label JMJ Records, Run-D.M.C.’s own Jam Master Jay was looking for a group to be the next BIG thing, and in Onyx he struck gold in a big way. The conception of Onyx at first seems predictably industry for what even today still gets labelled “gangsta rap music”: describe violence, talk a lot of shit, and try hard as hell to scare the parents of rebellious children from the hoods to the burbs. Two things made Onyx different though: the infectious chemistry of putting Big DS, Suave, Fredro and Sticky Fingaz together; and the HEAVY BOOM of the bass bottoms provided by Jay himself along with his co-horts Chyskillz and Kool Tee.
Some people might have been skeptical at first. Many may have even slept on their infectious (and extremely macho) first single “Throw Ya Gunz,” but these angry rappers who called themselves Da Mad Face Invasion simply couldn’t be ignored any more when “Slam” hit the charts. Long before Ludacris had people throwing ‘bows, Onyx was encouraging full-fledged riots with this raucous cross between hip-hop and a mosh pit. It’s a measure of this song’s popularity that even MTV icons Beavis and Butthead paid tribute to it by rapping the chorus in the introduction to “Bounce” off “The Beavis and Butthead Experience.” More memorable than the chorus itself though was the third verse by Sticky Fingaz; one which made such an indelible impression it had fans anticipating his solo album for nearly a decade afterward:
“I’m a B-Boy, standin in my B-Boy stance
Hurry up and gimme the microphone before I bust in my pants
The mad author of anguish; my language, polluted
Onyx is heavyweights (AND STILL UNDISPUTED!)
It took the words right out my mouth to walk a mile in my shoes
I’ve paid so many dues, I feel used and abused and umm..
so confused, umm excuse me, for example
I’m the inspiration, of a WHOLLLLLE generation
And unless you got ten Sticky Fingaz it’s straight imitation
A figment, of your imagination – but But BUT WAIT IT GETS WORSE!!
I’m not watered down, so I’m dyin of thirst
Comin through with the scam, foolproof plan
B-Boys make some noise, and just, JUST SLAM!”
Plenty of quality highlights like this abound on this eighteen track album, with phrases that are sure to be stuck in your head long after listening – always the mark of a quality album. Who can forget Suave’s introduction in “Throw Ya Gunz” when he says, “It’s time to get live, LIVE, LIVE LIKE A WIRE! I SET A WHOLE CHOIR ON FIRE!” Then of course there’s Fredro Starr’s classic explanation of their chrome domes on “Atak of Da Bal-Headz”: “What’s the matter with my BRAAAAAAAAIN? I can’t think clear, oh it’s the hair! Run and get the razor gotta make it dissapear. THERE!! Now I got an open mind.” For the stick to ya mind like mashed potatoes to ya ribs flavor, it’s hard to top the almost ludicrously over-the-top machismo of “Blac Vagina Finda.” Sticky Fingaz raspy growl and nasty lyrics command your total attention:
“It’s not everyday you get to be a genuine witness
of the nineteen ninety-two, annual, FUCK FEST
So take off your bra, show your breasts and move your dress
Yo what’s the matter hooker, cat got your tongue?
Or do you want my tongue to get your cat and get you strung?
When bitches get dick they don’t know how to act
And once you go black, you never go back
I don’t discriminate and just leave it at that
I’m just one, stinky kinky, slim not slinky
Fiddle with your clitoris then pop your pussy with my pinky”
Misogynists should probably be glad Sticky Fingaz cares so much about the female orgasm, but they’ll probably still be disgusted by the fact Onyx treat all women like sex objects; proven by lines like “Praise the Lord, cause even nuns get stuck!” The timid or easily offended probably shouldn’t have picked up an album with a parental advisory on it in the first place though, and Onyx repeatedly earn it with stories that would be rated R in theatres: guns, sex, drugs and violence are praised throughout – all of those traditional hallmarks of American entertainment. The dirty little secret that’s really not so secret is that people enjoy living vicariously through the fictional accounts of notorious criminals, and Onyx embraces that truth to the hilt. So much so, in fact, that a few tracks with weaker beats fail just because the movie/novel/album drags on a little too long, like a gangsta movie that’s one reel too long. Towards the end you’ll want to skip songs like “Stik ‘N’ Muve” and “Shiftee” although the conclusion is redeemed by the braggadociously silly “Phat (‘N’ All Dat)” and the comedic fellatio of “Da Nex Niguz” as illustrated by this lament of frustration from rapper Suave:
“Was buggin when she started suckin fuckin peppermints
Blow jobs got better? (How the hell ya miss those hits?) I know but
then I got the shock that almost blocked me like an obstacle
My girl lips locked a niguz cock, like a popsicle
Quick – my man flipped the silencer tip
Now let that dumb bitch go to hell, and suck on the devil’s dick
Yep, you knew money felt the chill
He should have ate that pussy then it coulda been his last meal
So don’t let my girl suck ya dick
Even if she’s suckin the next niguh dick (oh shit!)”
For the most part, the plusses on this album are many for fans of hardcore rap, with Sticky Fingaz providing the needed comic relief if and when things get too serious. Other than the six unnecessary skits and a couple of throwaway songs that don’t hold up to the high standard the group themselves set, “Bacdafucup” is a solid debut album for Onyx from beginning to finish. The curse that would plague this group for the rest of the 90’s was that after such a classic debut, it got increasingly hard for them to catch lightning again. Forget that for the moment though, and if you’re a fan of the good ol’ ultra-violence, cop this album if you haven’t ALREADY done so.