by Cedra Walton
If you ain’t down for your hardcore hip-hop….If you ain’t down for some straight up street shit…If you ain’t down for the United States Ghetto…And if you ain’t down for the ruff, rugged and raw…Then my friend, you betta “Bacdafucup,” ‘cause the Onyx is here!
Straight outta the ghetto lockdown, takin’ the mic from wackass wanna be hardcore rappers, and rippin’ it with the rage of four hundred years of black people’s struggle, here comes the muhfukin’ originators of a new sound in hip-hop: Sticky Fingaz, Suave Sonny Ceasar, Fredro Starr and the Big DS.
Back in 1989 the group (minus Sticky) had a single out on Profile Records that didn’t make much noise, but in ’90 things changed. First Sticky joined the group, then they met Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC, who believed in the grimy sound so much that he signed them to his label, JMJ, which is distributed through Columbia. They went back into the studio and, according to Big DS, they’ve “had the shit rollin’ ever since.”
The group’s logo, the “madface,” personifies the black man’s animosity towards society. What these brothers do is to channel all their angel and frustrations into their lyrics and bring it out in their live show. If stage performance was a crime, then Onyx would be mass murderers on the mic. You wouldn’t want to miss an Onyx show. It’s enough to make you and yo’ mama “Throw Ya Gunz In the Air.” You may even find yourself joining in on some hip-hop slam dancin’.
By Cedra Walton – Photography by Chi Modu
“Onyx is the motherfuckin’ original forerunners of the real grimy shit. All of them other niggas that’s tryin’ to come out with the morerfuckin grimy, raspy voice sound, them niggas is bullshit, cause we the originators, straight up. And you motherfuckin’ carbon copies always get thrown in the garbage and the motherfuckin’ original stay in the file box. So, remember that.”
“Onyx is coming through with the mad face from 1993 to forever – ‘til the day you die, thieves of hip-hop. We’re stealing it, we’re selling it, so keep your windows and your back doors locked, ‘cause here come the bald heads with the glocks.”
“Yo, I knew I was going to be a rapper, word up. As soon as I heard the Sugar Hill Gang, as soon as I head, “Skee bop a bee bop Scooby doo, guess what America? We love you.” Remember the first Sugar Hill joint that came out? It was “Rappers Delight.” As soon as I heard that, I knew I was going to be a rapper, because I knew every word in it. I have a good memory. You know what I’m saying?”
“United States Ghetto, it explains itself yo! We’re from New York but we’re in LA and it’s still the ghetto. You go to Washington, it’s ghetto, everywhere it’s ghetto, so everywhere, everybody can relate to our music because we ain’t saying nothing different, you know what I’m saying? In fact, that’s the ghetto politics, we don’t represent the USA, we represent the USG. It’s just the United States Gheto; it’s the color of Onyx. You got the USA and we got the USG. We ain’t really from the USA because we really ain’t got no props in the USA, so we relate our shit to the USG.”