The album turned out to be a platinum-certified smash, spurred on by the runaway success of the hit single 'Slam', which went on to become one of the year's biggest rap hits. The group confirmed that they were just as content attracting a heavy metal audience by a pair of collaborations with the N.Y.C. hardcore metal outfit Biohazard (a remix of 'Slam' credited to Bionyx, and the title track to the motion picture Judgment Night). The album even beat out such stiff competition as Dr. Dre's rap classic The Chronic at the Soul Train Awards for Best Rap Album that year.
But Onyx was unable to continue their commercial success as such subsequent albums as 1995's All We Got Iz Us and 1998's Shut 'Em Down came and went without much fanfare. The late '90s saw members Sticky and Fredro try their hand at acting, landing spots on HBO's Strapped, Spike Lee's Clockers, the Rhea Pearlman/Danny De Vito-directed Sunset Park, and Brandy's hit TV show Moesha. The various members tried to launch solo careers, but the records never connected with audiences. With the rap genre's continuous changes and shifts, they decided to try a comeback and reappeared with 2002's Bacdafucup, Pt. II.
Words: Greg Prato
Shut 'Em Down is officially the follow-up to All We Got Iz Us, but since that second album was largely forgotten, the record might as well have been a follow-up to Bacdafucup, the debut that briefly made Onyx a hip-hop sensation. Onyx haven't changed that much since then; their hardcore rhythms still hit hard, their lyrics are still profane and they still shout their lyrics as often as they rap. In short, they still make the oversized, near-parodic hardcore rap that made "Slam" a smash hit.
At the time that Bacdafucup hit the record racks and airwaves, Onyx seemed to be inventing a genre all their own: heavy metal rap. Of course, on closer inspection, it is not at all surprising stylistically, given their link to Def Jam and Run DMC, the record company and crew that introduced heavy guitar riffs into hip-hop. Onyx, though, seemed far more threateningly hardcore than Run DMC ever were, and each song on their debut album seems like a quick-triggered, menacing chip set squarely on the shoulders of MCs Big DS, Suavé, Fredro, and Sticky Fingaz. That the entire album from beginning to end circumvents almost any backlash by being so brilliantly catchy as well, is a sterling tribute to how strong a quartet Onyx truly is on this first effort. The group gives the impression that they wanted to spotlight the sort of cartoonish, directionless anger that existed in a lot of hardcore rap, and then funnel that sort of energy into songs full of singalong choruses and joyous, chanted hooks that lend a certain feeling of camaraderie to the whole album. The release is mostly co-produced by Run DMC's Jam Master Jay and newcomer Chyskillz, and its music has a tense, wired edge that amplifies the vividness of the threatening lyrics. Sonically, it has a hardcore East Coast/New York City cast, full of throbbing bass and screeching siren-like effects. The grimy urban vibe is matched by Onyx's narrative thuggery, discharged straight from the streets like pumped-up news dispatches and predating the roughneck rap trend by several years. It's hard to imagine, given the gritty content of the album, that Onyx was aiming for airplay with Bacdafucup; nevertheless, almost in spite of itself, it was so good that it earned just that.
Words: Stanton Swihart
Onyx burst onto the scene with Bacdafucup, a volatile rap album that embraced everything about thug life and told the world to slam. Unfortunately, later releases failed to live up to the lofty heights of Bacdafucup, and Onyx faded back as members evacuated and/or opted to experiment with acting and solo careers. After four years, a re-formed Onyx returned with Bacdafucup, Pt. II, an album that looks to once again grasp the hardcore rap title they helped invent. Fredro and Sticky Fingaz sound as dirty as ever as they boast grandiose flows concerning the game, the relevance of the bald legacy, and life over the group's tumultuous career. The question is, does Bacdafucup, Pt. II live up to its title? While this is not as revolutionary or edgy as its predecessor, this is surely Onyx's triumphant return. They have conformed to many of the expected trends of hip-hop, including Dr. Dre-like beats and DMX-esque rants, yet there is no mistaking the openly hostile intentions of one of rap's most cutting-edge trios. There is much here to recall Onyx's early days, including two of the album's best tracks, "Bring 'Em out Dead" and "Slam Harder," which may appear to be last-ditch retreads of past hits but are their own entities entirely. The group even treads into waters one wouldn't expect, referring to the 9/11 tragedy with more daring terms then some may like, yet the powerful thoughts delivered on "Feel Me" prove that Onyx is very serious about their terrorist opinions. Onyx may not be as offensive or aggressive as they once were, but Bacdafucup, Pt. II is easily the group's best outing since their hip-hop debut.
Words: Jason D. Taylor
A compilation of no less than 60 of the greatest Hip Hop classic tracks from the very best artists to ever hit the airwaves. Released in 2013.