Monday, February 10, 2014

The BCC Files: Black Moon's "Enta Da Stage"

Before I begin talking about Black Moon's 1993 debut "Enta Da Stage," I want to start off by saying that it wasn't this album that inspired this "mini series" respectively. One month in 2014, the album that's been in heavy rotation for me quite a bit is Smif N Wessun's "Dah Shinin." Constantly bumping that album in my always nostalgic state of mind led me to create this series highlighting the first four albums released under the Duckdown/Boot Camp Clik banner.

MCs Buckshot (then known as "Buckshot Shorty), 5FT Accelerator, and DJ/producer Evil Dee make up the 3 man team collectively known as Black Moon. While my intro is brief, I'll save all of my thoughts for the album specifically and the closing remarks.

Release date- October 19, 1993

All songs produced by Da Beatminerz (Evil Dee & Mr. Walt)

1. Powaful Impak! [The "First Stage" begins]

I always say an album is as good as its opener, and in this case, it's certainly true! I ranked this as one of the best album openers of all time with good reason. This song is well titled, featuring a dope beat, a memorable Busta Rhymes sample courtesy of the already classic "Scenario," and an energetic performance by Buckshot. I've always loved the way he starts this off. The thunder claps are expertly timed when he comes out the gate with "Blaow, here comes the Buckshot Shorty!" He also got a co-production credit for this song too.
*5 out of 5*

2. Niguz Talk Shit

"Niguz talk shit but that ain't my steel (repeat 3X)
I'm the type of nigga to put lead in ya grill!"

That hook above, plus the lyrical warning shots thrown by Buckshot tell this dope story.
*5 out of 5*

3. Who Got The Props?

"Put up, what up, BO BO BO/Suckas try to flow but they got no show!"

I'll tell you one thing: Buckshot definitely knows how to get a song started and he does a memorable job again on this classic. Why did he, 5FT, and Evil Dee get those props at the time? Well it's simple: they were dope as hell. I remember at one point this song received a great deal of radio and video play, justifiably so.
*5 out of 5*

"Kickin flava wit my life saver techniques/Guaranteed to move feets and I go on for weeks/Maybe years if my peers give me ears to fill/Lick off a shot and act ill, parlay then chill"


4. Ack Like U Want It

We get this first appearance from 5FT; he's almost as energetic as Buckshot and he does a good job on this one. Also, the beat itself is creative. Next time you decide to bump this album, listen to the beat closely and take notice of the audio "1-2 punch" that complements the hook oh so well. 
*5 out of 5*

5. Buck Em Down

More dopeness from Buckshot on this one. Energetic and inspired.
*5 out of 5*

6. Black Smif N Wessun

"Load the clip, buss lead to the head
The nappy headed dred, Buckshot, and bald head!"

I've always considered this as the introduction to Smif N Wessun. Tek, Steele, and Buckshot deliver highly dope verses over an equally dope beat.
*5 out of 5*

7. Son Get Wrec

5FT returns, solo style, with this banger. He does get wrec here, and of course representin' along the way!
*5 out of 5*

8. Make Munne [The "Second Stage" begins]

            This is about as apply titled as they come. Songs like this would become so commonplace in hip hop as the 90s continued on, but Buckshot's take is very good of course.
*4 out of 5*

9. Slave

"I hate the weak shit man it be fuckin wit my soul/I peeped how radio by tryin to take control/Tellin me to get a lil lighter on my lyrics/But if it ain't real on the mic I can't feel it"

"And I don't give a fuck what you say/Commercial rap get the gun clap every day"

One may have thought Buckshot was sort of embracing the very idea of being a "slave in the industry," and in fact it's the complete opposite, especially considering the lines above. I commend him and other artists who remain(ed) true to their sound and not changing because someone, who likely doesn't know, understand, or even care about hip hop culture, says he should "lighten up on his lyrics" (and this ignorant request to "dumb down" would become a theme, if you will, as the 90s ended). Also, while I certainly understood his point of view (and still do today), I recall this period in hip hop not being so dominated by "commercial rap" like it is has been for the last several years.
*5 out of 5*

10. I Got Cha Opin

This version is just as good as its remix, and I personally feel the latter is better. Buckshot goes on about how dope he is, and you simply couldn't front on that even if you tried!
*5 out of 5*

11. Shit Iz Real

You know, it didn't occur to me until now (even after all these years) that Buckshot may have started a trend with this song. It wasn't too long after this that "keeping it real" became one of the top priorities in hip hop, for better or worse.
*5 out of 5*

12. Enta Da Stage

Pretty good, fast paced title track. I also liked how Buckshot used some of the album's song titles to close the second verse.
*5 out of 5*

13. How Many MC's

EPMD may have sampled Grover Washington Jr's "Hydra" for "Underground" on their "Business As Usual" album first, but Evil Dee reworked it beautifully and ruggedly, creating one of the dopest and most memorable beats of 1993. Buckshot was ruggedly smooth on this classic, which also has some of his most well known lines.
*5 out of 5*   

14. U Da Man
Featuring Big Dru Ha, Smif N Wessun, and Havoc (of Mobb Deep)

Wow, the album closes with as much "impak" as it opened. Buckshot (with a reggae styled flow), 5FT, and guests Big Dru Ha, Havoc of Mobb Deep (almost 2 years before the release of "The Infamous") Tek and Steele all delivered tight verses. It was also a good decision to put Smif N Wessun on this one, knowing what they would have in store for us in 1995.
*5 out of 5*

 This is one of my personal favorite albums of all time and it has aged incredibly well. Black Moon may have been the first to set the stage for what I and others dubbed the "East Coast Renaissance." As you know, I'll always have mad love for the "Death Row era," but with hindsight being 20/20, once "Deep Cover" dropped in '92, the East Coast hip hop scene sort of took a back seat with Death Row Records on top of the industry, even with a few classics released between April '92 and October '93, respectively. Going back to Buckshot for a moment, while he has contributed a lot of very good material with the BCC, 9th Wonder, KRS-One, etc, "Enta Da Stage" will always remain his most lyrical achievement. Overall, this classic will always stand the test of time and I can't thank them enough for it.

5 stars 

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