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|Origin||South Jamaica, Queens, New York|
|Jam Master Jay, Agallah|
|Big DS (deceased)|
Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, founded in 1988 by Fredro Starr, Suavé (also known as Sonny Seeza) and the late Big DS. Sticky Fingaz joined the group in 1991.
The group released seven studio albums in the US, one collaborative album and one EP. Eight singles of the group were in the top ten of the Billboard charts. The group's debut album, Bacdafucup (1993) was certified as platinum due to their smash rowdy hit "Slam".
Onyx was nominated for "Favorite New Rap/Hip-Hop Artist" at the American Music Awards and won "Best Rap Album" at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1994, for the album Bacdafucup. Their follow up, All We Got Iz Us, was critically acclaimed, recognized by Vibe as one of 1995's best-produced hip hop album. In 1998, the group dropped their last Def Jam album, Shut 'Em Down, with features from Wu-Tang Clan, DMX and 50 Cent.
Onyx began to make the first demos in the basement of B-Wiz with drum machine beats from an SP-12. In 1989, Onyx signed Jeffrey Harris as their manager, who helped them secure a contract with the label Profile Records. In 1990, at York Studio in Brooklyn, they recorded their first single, Ah, And We Do It Like This, which was released to low sales on April 25, 1990 on Profile.
Fredro Starr, Big DS and Sonny Seeza met Jam Master Jay in a traffic jam at The Jones Beach GreekFest Festival on July 13, 1991. Jay give them about two months to get a demo, but Suave and Big DS they didn't make it to the studio because they were stranded in Connecticut. So Jeff Harris, the manager of Onyx, asked Fredro to come to the studio with his cousin, Kirk Jones, who at the time was doing a solo career under the name Trop and working in the barbershop making a thousand dollars a week cutting high school. Fredro and Sticky Fingaz made two records, "Stik 'N' Muve" and "Exercise".
In 1991, despite the reproaches from Fredro, the Onyx's music producer, B-Wiz, sold his drum machine SP-12 and went to Baltimore to sell crack, and eventually he was killed in Baltimore. Thus, all Onyx records were lost. The group needed a new music producer and Neek The Exotic introduced DJ Chyskillz to the group Onyx in 1991.
In 1993, Onyx released their debut album entitled Bacdafucup. The album was produced by Chyskillz, Jam Master Jay and Kool Tee. Bacdafucup is a groundbreaking hip-hop album, that brought to hip-hop slamdancing, stage diving, rapping the grimy voice and the bald head fashion. The album features three the Billboard singles "Throw Ya Gunz", "Slam" and "Shiftee". Their breakout single, "Slam", which received heavy airplay on both radio and television (MTV and BET), leading the song to reach #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Slam" was certified Platinum by the RIAA on August 10, 1993. It proved to be a commercial success. The album marked the group's highest debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at #10. Bacdafucup was certified Platinum by the RIAA on October 25, 1993. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Albums.
Big DS left the group in 1994 to start a solo career. Big DS founded his own label Illyotic Music and started producing music. After recording a few demos, Big DS sent them to Jimmy Iovine, co-owner of Interscope Records, in the hope of signing a contract with his label for the release of the album.
In 1995 Onyx founded its own label Armee Records, distributed through MCA Records. Contracts were signed with the artists: Gang Green, All City (Greg Valentine and J. Mega), Panama P.I. and Choclatt (Jared Crawford).
In April 1995, Marvel Music, a short-lived imprint of Marvel Comics, released a comic book "Onyx: Fight!", written by Karl Bollers (author), drawn by Larry Lee (illustrator), and based on an idea by Onyx - a post-apocalyptic wasteland of New York City where Onyx forms an underground rebellion.
Onyx returned in 1998 with their third album Shut 'Em Down, which featured appearances from Onyx's affiliate X-1, DMX, a then unknown 50 Cent, All City, Mr. Cheeks, Wu-Tang Clan, N.O.R.E., Big Pun and others. The album was produced by Keith Horne and Self, with help from DJ Scratch of EPMD, Bud'da and Latief. The album features three the Billboard singles The Worst, Shut 'Em Down and React. The album marked the group's highest debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at #10. The album sold 500,000 units. "Shut 'Em Down" is the last album, released by Onyx on the Def Jam. JMJ Records as well as Onyx was officially removed from Def Jam on "Black Thursday" - January 21, 1999 - because the label PolyGram, who in 1994 purchased 50% of Sony's Def Jam, was sold to Seagram on December 10, 1998.
In 2001, Onyx made a deal with Koch Records to release one album Bacdafucup Part II, the sequel to their debut LP "Bacdafucup". The album was produced by Davinci, DR Period, Havoc, Self, Ant Boogie, Co-Stars, Scott Storch. The album consisting of 12 new tracks and included a return to their biggest hit with "Slam Harder", DR Period track uses a sample of the theme song from the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter" to introduce the song and provide melody throughout. The song "Feel Me" was recorded on the night of September 11, 2001 and dedicated to the events that happened that day.
In 2003, Onyx returned with Triggernometry, an album consisting of 10 new tracks and 11 stories from the life of the group Onyx, told by the group members themselves in the gap between the songs. All the songs were produced by one producer Kronic Tones, who had already produced 7 tracks for Fredro Starr's second solo album "Don't Get Mad Get Money".
Onyx released a 16-track collection of previously unreleased songs Cold Case Files through Iceman Music Group on August 19, 2008. The collection features underground singles, lost studio recordings from the group's first three albums, and appearances from Method Man, deceased Onyx affiliate X1, and Gangreen. Fredro's younger brother and frequent guest artist, Whosane, archived most of the unreleased tracks.
After the duo of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz postponed the release of the album Black Rock, they began working on recording a new album called CUZO. On October 31, 2012 fresh from touring overseas, Onyx released the video on YouTube from their first single off of the new album CUZO entitled "Belly Of The Beast", the video was directed by Kevin KJ Johnson. Onyx was going to release CUZO album on September 5, 2013, but the album is still unreleased.
In August 2012, Onyx also released their second compilation album, titled Cold Case Files Vol. 2. The album is unique in that it is only available from OnyxDomain.com; as the purchase is digital, all proceeds go to the group.
In 2011, Fredro Starr connected backstage with DJ Illegal who performed with his group Snowgoons and M.O.P. at the club in Munich, Germany. At that time, Snowgoons working on a new album Snowgoons Dynasty and they asked Fredro to be on their album. So DJ Illegal sent Fredro a beat for the song "The Legacy", which immediately liked the member of Onyx and he asked Snowgoons to send him some more beats. After listening to some new music, Fredro offered producers: "Let's just do an album". Onyx released their first album in over a decade, Wakedafucup, through Goon MuSick on March 18, 2014. The album is entirely produced by Snowgoons. The album features guest appearances from Sean Price, Papoose, Cormega, Reks, Snak The Ripper and ASAP Ferg. WakeDaFucUp was named by XXL as one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014 in "THE 25 BEST HIP-HOP ALBUMS OF 2014".
In 2014, X-Ray Records (a division of Cleopatra Records) released a compilation of Onyx's unreleased songs called #TURNDAFUCUP. The release include a modern trap style of production and up-tempo EDM beats mixed with their classic old school hard core hip hop sound. The collection mainly contains songs that were recorded for an unreleased album CUZO produced by Agallah, Audible Doctor and DJ Cutz. It features line-up of guest appearances by Busta Rhymes, Raekwon (of Wu Tang Clan), Myster DL, Ras Kass and Ill Bill. It also contains two bonus tracks: re-recordings of classic Onyx hits Slam and Last Dayz. HipHopDX gave the release three stars out of five.
In 2015, Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr came back with Against All Authorities, a statement about the current status of the US. They recorded a 6 track EP protesting against racial injustice and police brutality. The whole album was produced by Canadian producer Scopic and features appearances by Sick Flo, Ras Kass, Jasia'n and Canadian rapper Merkules.
Snowgoons launched via Kickstarter campaign a new project Onyx vs. M.O.P. on November 22. The release of a new collaboration album was estimated roughly to drop for spring 2016, via Goon MuSick and Major Independents. During the campaign, Fredro Starr and Billy Danze recorded on the video their calls to the fans of both groups. But the project did not get the necessary amount to record the album and eventually was canceled on December 18, 2015. For this time Snowgoons have collected about $10,000 of $30,000 goal and 186 backers.
In 2017, Onyx teamed up with Dutch hardcore hip hop group Dope D.O.D. to release a collaboration album Shotgunz In Hell. Onyx first met Dope D.O.D. at the "Urbano Festival" in France on June 29, 2012, where performed both groups. After the performance Dope D.O.D.'s Skits Vicious hooked up with Onyx's Fredro Starr and exchanged phone numbers. Fredro Starr remembers the day he first heard the group Dope D.O.D.: In the same year, both groups recorded a joint track "Panic Room" for the second album of Dope D.O.D. "Da Roach" released on April 19, 2013. The second joint track was "WakeDaFucUp", which became the title track for the next Onyx's album "#WakeDaFucUp" released on March 18, 2014. Then both groups decided to release an EP, which turned into an album. The album was produced by Dutch producers - Tjibz, Nightwatch, Peter Songolo (Jay Reaper's brother), Ezra, Bananaz, Chubeats and a Spanish producer Cookin' Soul. The album features appearances by Sick Flo, Snak The Ripper, Dope D.O.D.'s ex-member Dopey Rotten and DJ Nelson.
The beef between Onyx and 50 Cent started on Def Jam's "Survival Of The Illest" concert at the legendary world-famous Apollo Theater. The concert was held on July 18, 1998. During performing the song "React" rapper Scarred 4 Life (also known as Clay Da Raider) performed 50 Cent's verse. In a 2008 interview for AllHipHop Fredro made a comment about 50 Cent:
In 2009, Onyx was going to release an album Black Rock but the album's release was postponed because of Damon Dash, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, who together with Ohio-based rock duo "The Black Keys" with the participation of New York City-based rappers like Mos Def, Billy Danze, Q-Tip and RZA released an album called "Blakroc" in late 2009 (a collaboration of rap and rock), thus destroying the plans of Onyx. Despite all the threats from Onyx, the Damon Dash's project "BlakRoc" came out on November 24, 2009. Soon after this Onyx released a video "The Real Black Rock", in which Sticky Fingaz dissing Damon Dash, basing on a telephone conversation with Jay-Z.
|1994||American Music Awards of 1994||"Bacdafucup"||Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist||Nominated|
|1994||1994 Soul Train Music Awards||"Bacdafucup"||Best Rap Album||Won|
|1993||Onyx||Billboard||United States||Hot Rap Artists||1|
|Top Billboard 200 Album Artists||64|
|Top R&B Album Artists||20|
|Hot 100 Singles Artists||45|
|Cashbox||Top New Groups||4|