When we hear Onyx, most of us think: “Slam!”. And they’re right. But to me, and a few B.Boys who were too young at the time Slam has been released, we’re more likely to say…
“awwww that shut ’em Down Album man!!! It was the bomb! No one could fuck with it at the time!”
Back in 98′, no internet, French and poor. Too poor to buy magazines (I was 12, I was not working), the only thing I had at the time was a radio able to record, and to copy cassettes, but I could not record CD’s with it.
So, the last option was the multimedia library of Roubaix (poor city in France). Thanks to the fact it was a poor city, they considered the people from there was fan of rap music (and… they were right actually), and had loads of good shit. I was into French rap only at that time, but one day, as I was diggin’ in their crates, I found that CD with these black dudes dressed as soldiers… I was like “man, they going to rap or to do war?”. Simple: when Onyx come on the mic, it’s the same as a bunch of soldiers doing an assault! On the back: a fuckin angry and strange face. I was fed up with the tupac and biggie jiggy tracks you know (girls on chorus never been my thing), I was looking for raw Hiphop.
So, just because of the cover I copped that, there could not have any R’n’B shit or love songs on it. Neither any “I’m a rich motherphuker and you can suck my dick” kind of tracks, like Diddy used to do (and still does…) …
Back home, I went to the CD player of my dad, putn my headphones on and played it and… 18 tracks later I knew I would not listen to French rap a lot… It was nearly over… This album really made me become a addict to US rap. I mean, the first proper track was that:
You know, sounds like they recorded it straight form the street, behind a burning dump. Then you have “Street nigguz” which was my shit as teen hanging out in the streets with his crew, high most of the time and having to deal with police. Beats were as violents as their lyrics, and the atmosphere was just as dark as Roubaix’s streets… I remember, as I did not have any CD player, only my dad had one, I had to wake up an hour before anyone else, get my headphones, and then I was free to listen to the album properly! And one of the most crazy track was that one:
The beat is dope, all the rappers are dopes, but the dopest thing is the ping pong game between Sticky Fingaz and Method Man at the end of the track. I used to listen to this part every day… I passed the album to my friends, they all went crazy and copped it too. I still don’t understand why this album is so underrated in the hiphop community.
Another heavy feat was the one with DMX
It works so well that, sometimes I wonder how good would have been an entire album of DMX/Onyx… Anyway, everything was there for a teen growing up, and passionated by Hiphop: hate against cops, the streets, the narcotic stuff (we could criticize the impact of hiphop on youth regarding this point, but i won’t do). Their was only one thing which would make debate in my crew, after we watched the video of React, in which some white people get their ass beat up by black people and Onyx: Are Onyx against white? OF course they were not, but we did read some stuff saying so, and the video could have been confusing, but they were not. Just have a look at their last album, with who they collaborated…
I really miss this raw hardcore hiphop, when pussies could not step in… But we still can play our good old records, and be glad we lived this period, we’ve been lucky to have it as “new stuff”!