A quarter century may not seem like a long period of time compared to a lot of things — the history of the United States, the length of human civilization, or (especially this one) the age of our universe. It is however just long enough that if somebody didn’t upload a review of Gunslinguz “We All We Gott” to the internet, it may seem like the group was fabricated out of whole cloth. I even entertained the idea that somebody invented the group as a parody of Onyx given the spelling of their group and album name — the unnecessary “-uz” instead of “-ers” at the end being a dead giveaway. As usual though Discogs proves this 1995 release is real, although it’s remarkably thin on information about who the Gunslinguz are or why they exist at all.

The mystery only deepens when you find there’s no official upload of “We All We Gott” by either the artists themselves or their label Durdee Mack Records. In fact there’s a better than 50% chance that any audio clip I post in this review could wind up broken if the actual copyright holders challenge the versions currently on YouTube, which are so low budget they were made with a trial version of Movie Maker and bear a large watermark for it on every thumbnail. I’ve reviewed some fairly obscure rap albums that somehow made it to retail before now, but the Gunslinguz rank high on the tier list of “whoo da fukk is dis” (to spell it like they spell their own tracks).

Despite seemingly hugging Onyx’ nuts in print, listening to the group made me think of Black Moon with lines like “step to da stage, a big nigga ’bout to gat ‘cha.” In fact the phrase “budget Black Moon” might be the best description of the Gunslinguz. Instead of the Beatminerz you had DJ Ready Red and E. Money doing the production. Rap historians will recognize that Ready Red was one of the original members of the “Ghetto Boys” before their more famous Bushwick/Willie D/Scarface lineup. Sadly he passed away of a heart attack in 2018 so another person who could have illuminated us about the history of this group or his own more famous one isn’t around to do so.

Rappers Bigg Cy and (Bigg) Trigga seem perfectly competent. Songs like “Dreams (Getten Paid)” don’t jump off the page with charisma and personality, but do give us a little more insight into who they are. “It’s real on the Island” makes me think they’re from Staten Island, and if not they’re definitely NYC denizens. The one and only recognizable cameo from anyone on the entire album is Big Ruck a/k/a the late Sean Price on “One Mississippi,” and the amount of shoutouts to Duck Down and Boot Camp on the track confirm the Black Moon comparison was accurate.

The final piece of the puzzle is that the album was seemingly recorded and mastered at Hilltop Studios in Brooklyn. So now we know for certain who the Gunslinguz are, where they hail from, and we even know that “We All We Gott” was released sometime in 1995 — even though they repeatedly mention “ninety-four” in the lyrics. Here’s the one thing we don’t know though — WHY. Why did the rap world need a budget Black Moon with rappers not named Buckshot Shorty or 5ft? Why did one group recording in Brooklyn feel the need to be a carbon copy of another one from Brooklyn? I get that “Who Got Da Props” and “How Many MCs” would have inspired imitators, but without that Beatminerz touch or Buckshot’s charisma, it’s just an inferior version of a better product. It’s like buying generic cereal and noticing that it just doesn’t taste the same. It’s not BAD but it’s definitely not better.

Gunslinguz :: We All We Gott
5.5Overall Score