Heh. I blew out my first speaker to this song.
Black Moon, the “Bucktown” (Brooklyn) crew of Buckshot, the 5 FT (…dude was really five feet?) Accelerator, and DJ Evil Dee had a lot to prove when they released their debut, Enta da Stage, in 1993. First, they had to establish themselves as a badass hardcore rap group. Second, they had to put their city back on the map, as NYC rap had fallen out of favor after the West Coast’s arrival in the rap game. Third, they had to outright infuriate the people responsible for Oxford English Dictionaries. They pulled off all three pretty nicely. With one record, Black Moon had become one of the defining groups of the New York rap renaissance, cemented the hardcore rap genre, established a notable rap collective known as the Boot Camp Clik, and produced one of most critically acclaimed rap records of the ‘90s. Not bad, huh?
Enta da Stage (yeah, get used to it, they did not give a flying fuck about spelling correctly) rumbles. It is a booming show of force, a wanton glorification of NY street culture, and full of hostility, threats, and violence. There is little social commentary to be found here, as rappers Buckshot and 5 FT get money, blast fools, and assert their dominance over weak rappers, intending to prove to the West that the East was just as hard as them. The production, care of Da Beatminerz (who after this record would become the go-to guys for hardcore NY beats), simmers, with murky soul samples, muted instruments, and bass so deep it registers as seismic activity.
The first song on the record, “Powaful Impak!” is just that. This track hits you hard, like a baseball bat to the chest. Turn up your speakers and the bass alone threatens to break your bones. Using a two-note sample of Gang Starr’s “Just to Get a Rep” (in itself a sample of Jean-Jacques Perrey’s rather cheerful and quirky ‘60s track “E.V.A.”) the song is downright sinister. Most impressive is the rhymes of Buckshot, who was only 18 when he recorded this (geeze, when I was 18 I wasn’t kicking this much ass on a mic. Well, more like none), coming across as the ultimate last motherfucker on earth that you would want to fuck with. I mean really, claiming that he would do drive-bys on skateboards? Straight up end your life with his words? Goddamn, even from his short intro I’m scared of him.
For this one, turn up the speakers and stand the hell back.
Originally posted on my first blog, Emaciated Wildebeest, on February 1st, 2011.
BUT HOLD ON, it’s 2015 and I’ve got more to say about this!
I’m still amazed at just how raw and threatening Buckshot was on this track. He made a hell of an entrance for himself, his group, and NYC. Listening to this one today I’m still grinning after every line and still know every line by heart. Drivebys on skateboards? Buckshot’s spoken intro which is STILL far and away the best album open in history? That endless bass and attitude that suckers today still try to hit but can’t? This album warms my heart.