ONYX - BACDAFUCUP: What many of us "old school" HipHop heads miss from the late-'80s/early '90s HipHop era is the ridiculous amount of musical and lyrical diversity that was the norm before HipHop became a serious money making enterprise driven by marketing and record sales.

This isn’t to say HipHop is currently in terrible shape, because it’s far from that and there are plenty of skilled emcees and crews dropping quality music. However, there is a glaring lack of diversity and anyone not fitting into one of a few pre-determined, radio and marketing-friendly molds can count on poor distribution, minimal promotion, limited audiences, and relegation to permanent underground status.

Fortunately this wasn’t necessarily the case in 1993 when Onyx dropped their first album, “Bacdafucup.” Onyx, originally made up of Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz, Big DS (who eventually left the group), and DJ Suave Sonny Caeser, introduced a brand new sound and style that combined the hardcore Queens gunclap griminess of Mobb Deep, the frantic energy of Busta Rhymes, the growling aggressive rhyme styles of M.O.P. and DMX, and the disturbed insanity of Gravediggaz

But Onyx didn’t borrow from these emcees and groups, as their debut dropped before all of the aforementioned got out of the gates.

All of this was laid over the co-production work of Jam Master Jay who helped create a unique soundtrack made up of that tonal bass (hear: Diamond D “Sally Got A One Track Mind”) with horns and sounds like a creation from Pete Rock and a toned-down Bomb Squad.

And let’s not forget Sticky Fingaz is the greatest clean-up emcee to ever touch the mic. I remember people who only knew the hook to Onyx songs and the last verse where Sticky would inevitably wreck shop and leave the cut burned into your brain and dropping from your lips. Don’t believe me? Check “Slam” “Shiftee” “Throw Ya Gunz In The Air,” “Last Dayz,” etc.

I took the featured verse and the line at the bottom of this piece from “Last Dayz.”

Thinkin’ about taking my own life, I might as well / 'cept they might not sell weed in Hell

and that’s where I’m going cuz the devil’s inside of me / they make me rob from my own nationality

That’s kind of ignorant / but yo I gotta pay the rent /
so yeah, I'll stick a nigga most definite / the degenerate
if I get caught I'm innocent / cuz I don’t leave no Sticky Finga prints / for the cops, they only good if they dead / all that badge and a gun shit be going to they head

to make bread I gotta steal for sport / so I stole the show and made some pennies for my thoughts

and if this fucking rap shit don’t pay / I’ma start selling drugs around my way / Killin’ my own people in the USG / shit they gonna get it from somebody, I’d rather it be me /

besides...they can’t tax dirty money / and you can’t trust nobody, nobody / no one, no one / I’m the scorpion / and I’ll probably bite the bullet / cuz I live by the gun

“Last Dayz” was featured on the second Onyx album, “All We Got Iz Us,” a darker album that seemed to have a more serious tone, but dropped months after an explosion of classic material from Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and The Roots. Combine that with the growing presence and influence of the G-funk and you had a formula for Onyx to get overlooked.

The same has been true with regard to the other Onyx releases. Yet with all of that said, nothing can be taken away from madface crew and their contributions to the culture.