Onyx are the hip-hop act who named themselves after a black stone. Clever, but just who are the bald-heads with knives?
In 1989 Onyx formed out of Queens, NY and consist of Fredro Starr, Sonee Seeza (then known only as Suave) and Big DS. They released their first single under Profile Records titled Ah, and We Do It Like This but sadly to not much success. Two years later is when fate struck.
Onyx inked a deal at Def Jam for an EP after Throw Ya Gunz was released. The song was such a hit that Onyx was promised an album and in 1993 they delivered Bacdafucup to the hip-hop world. Incredible hits such as Throw Ya Gunz, Shifftee and of course the Slam collaboration with Biohazard brought Onyx to huge heights of success, and Bacdafucup quickly climbed the hip-hop charts. Slam was the #5 single of the entire year and the album went on to quickly sell two million copies. Onyx also had higher scaled recognition, winning Soul Train’s Rap Album of the Year Award and at the same show keeping underground recognition with their raunchy live performance usually consisting of carrying 45′s and bullet proof vests.
Two years later, Big DS was no longer in the group and rumours circulated that he was either in jail or kicked out of the group. It was two years since Onyx had released anything and all the fans were waiting. A lot cooled down over two years as the thick-minded MTV jockey just assumed Onyx were another “Tag-Team” never to show up again. But in 1995 Onyx decided underground props were way more important than commercial success, and that was very apparent on their 1995 album All We Got Iz Us. Not one radio friendly song on the album and not one video suitable for MTV, Onyx knew their true fans or newly gained underground fans would flock to them, and they did.
Selling 500 000 copies, a simple minded person sees that as a cut and almost as a letdown. Onyx saw it as an underground group having a Gold record. Respect was way more important than fame. The album was a critical success especially with fans who loved the new lyrical skill Onyx acquired over those two years. Instead of a rap group who releases half-assed albums every six months, Onyx wanted to take it easy and concentrate, which led to great rewards. All We Got Iz Us is an underground classic thanks to the singles Last Dayz and the dreary video for the single All We Got Iz Us that only BET would play late in the day… if you were lucky.
With another few years wait, Onyx finally released their third album titled Shut ‘Em Down. After many delays and track changes, the album was released with a huge underground and commercial success. The Onyx fans loved the B-sides to the album, and the radio listeners loved React and Shut ‘Em Down, which featured DMX, just as much as they loved Slam five years earlier. The sales and even the style were in between that of the first two albums, being a true Onyx and hip-hop fans’ dream.
Since then, Onyx released another three albums that have all received equal amount of accolades from fans and artists alike. The sophomore to their debut album titled Bacdafucup Part II was sadly much less successful and received mixed, if not negative, reviews. The album showcased the few well-received tracks such as What’s Onyx, Hood Beef and Slam Harder (the follow-up to Slam), but even they seemed to lack the essence of what was once Onyx.
The group released two more album titled Triggernometry and Cold Case Files Vol. 1; the first album showcases tracks such as Stick Up, Def Scams, Over and Street Is Us, while Cold Case Files contains the singles See U In Hell Pt. 2, Evil Streets Remix featuring Method Man and I’ll Murda U featuring Gang Green.
Onyx are one of the very few hardcore hip-hop acts even left in the industry, and the crew knows being in a class of their own means success on so many levels. The true fans of hip-hop readily wait to hear what Onyx is bringing this year and in the future… and they will not be let down.