"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not A Blogger's Boot Camp Clik Week Part I: The Videos

If there was ever a collection of emcees that benefited less from the holy Wu-Tang Clan being gifted to the earth by the creator himself (in this case, the almighty RZA), it has to be the Boot Camp Clik. For those of you that choose to listen to "regional" rap music or those who listen to musical refuse, the mighty Boot Camp Clik was a collection of diverse Brooklyn-based underground emcees consisting of the members of Black Moon (Buckshot, 5 Ft, & DJ Evil Dee). Smif-N-Wessun (Tek & Steele), Heltah Skeltah (Rock & Ruck/Sean Price), and O.G.C. (Starang Wondah, Top Dog and Louieville Sluggah).

From 1993 to roughly 1997, the Clik had a string of near-classic albums that helped define the sound of New York underground hip hop for a generation. Boot Camp Clik fueled by the dark, gritty production of Da Beatminerz and using Jamaican parlance and slang made some of the hottest records of their generation that nobody outside of the six white dudes who bought Canibus' first LP paid much attention to. Black Moon's Enta Da Stage, Smif-N-Wessun's Dah Shinin', Heltah Skeltah's Nocturnal, and O.G.C.'s Da Storm are some of the best records to have never truly attained canonization as '90s rap classics as their counterparts in Wu-Tang achieved. It seems somewhat tragic that because of the sonic similarities these groups share that one group would be pushed as the saviors of New York hip hop while the other would toil in relative obscurity on Koch Records their entire career. So this week, I'm gonna honor the kids from Duck Down records and post some of my favorite videos and review some of my favorite albums in tribute. Yes, yes, y'all!

Black Moon - Who Got Da Props?

The classic. "Who Got Da Props?" is probably the most famous of any B.C.C. songs as it was the song that burst them onto the national scene in 1993. It's built on a minimalist but eerie Ronnie Laws jazz sample and features heavy, earth breaking drums that compliments the in-your-face rugged style that Buckshot was using at the time. The video is in the tradition of the great low-budget gang of dudes rhyming on the corner, yelling at the camera style that every hardcore rap video used from approximately 1992 until Puffy discovered speed boats, caviar and Dennis Hopper.

Smif-N-Wessum Feat. Rock - Wontime

The video for Smif-N-Wessun's ode to the criminal justice system is the Cocoa Brovaz homage to the classic Kubrick film their debut album was named after, The Shining. The song features some of the most dark and menacing production that Da Beatminerz ever crafted and Tek & Steele kind of destroy their verses on this song.

Heltah Skeltah Feat. O.G.C. - Leflaur Leflah Eskoshka

In the tradition of cheap remix videos everwhere, the Fab Five perform this posse-cut banger in front of the nothingness of a white background in some studion in L.A. What I particularly love about this video is the concept of Heltah Skeltah/O.G.C. as some ultra-hood version of a Motown '60s soul group complete with fucked up choreography and mic stands. Rock kinds of destroys the chorus on this one.

O.G.C. - No Fear

I got to say this video is one of the strangest videos in all of B.C.C.'s discography. Why O.G.C. are dressed like long shore-men and are rapping in front of the a lighthouse has to be one of the great mysteries of hip hop along with who killed Pac and Biggie and why Jay-Z inexplicably gets a pass from the hip hop media for collaborating with R. Kelly on spectacularly awful albums...twice(!!). I haven't the foggiest idea what strain of weed they were smoking when the video treatment was written but the song is pretty bad-ass, anyway. I guess this would be Boot Camp's low-budget Gravel pit then. Weiiirrrd.

Smif-N-Wessun Feat. O.G.C. - Sound Bwoy Buriell Heltah Skeltah -

This video is like an apocalyptic park jam that happens to be inhabited by mutant Jamaicans waiting to catch major wreck. I have to wonder though. Is it a requirement for entrance as a member into the Clik that one must have dreadlocks? And if so, how the hell did Dru-Ha get in? This song's a true classic, though.

Heltah Skeltah Feat. Vinia Mojica - Therapy

Sean Price dressed up like an evil mutant geeky doctor? That's all I'm gonna say about this one. Awesome.


tray said...

Dah Shinin's in my personal canon, and I generally get the sense that Enta Da Stage is in most everyone else's (not mine though). But Dah Shinin... it's really better than some of the more traditional canonical albums, like Reasonable Doubt, for instance. Their chemistry was ridiculous. Too bad their comeback sucked. I guess that's what happens when you collaborate with 9th Wonder weedcarriers.

DocZeus said...

Yeah, I like Dah Shinin' more than Enta Da Stage, too. I think I like "Nocturnal" more as well but I won't comment further until I write about them later this week.

Jordan said...

2 Smif n' Wessun videos and neither is Bucktown? I don't understand your logic.

DocZeus said...

"2 Smif n' Wessun videos and neither is Bucktown? I don't understand your logic."

Patience, grasshopper.

tray said...

Nocturnal's very good, but the guy who's not named sean price (I forget who's Ruck and who's Rock) annoys me, and the beats don't have that classic Beatminerz sound, they're a little smoother. Whereas Enta Da Stage is a little too barebones for me on the production end.

DocZeus said...


See I love Rock's voice (Ruck is Sean Price). It's so deep and gravely and menacing that every word he says seems twice as interesting. I'm of the opinion that it might be the G.O.A.T. voice in hip hop.

Next to Paul Barman, of course. Just kidding.

txcaddyking said...

Da Shinin gets dropped in the CD player at my house about once a year. One of my favorite albums/CDs ever. I am not sure if it is because of the time in my life that it reminds me of or that it is that great. "I aint coming home till Nevuary".

tray said...

See, I don't find it menacing, I just find it gravely and laughable. He sounds like he should be playing the Loch Ness Monster in some cartoon for 5-year-old kids. And about the Rock/Meth comparison, Buckshot's the Method Man for them. He does great hooks. Look at Cession at the Doghillee (or however they spell that patois nonsense).