"Born and Raised EP" by Smif-N-Wessun on iTunes

6 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

The two-man Brooklyn group Smif-N-Wessun debuted on Black Moon's landmark 1993 debut, Enta Da Stage, before dropping their own classic Dah Shinin' two years later. Key players in the Boot Camp Click collective, they've been at it ever since, overcoming changing tastes, inconsistent production, and name changes (they were known as Cocoa Brovaz for a while thanks to lawyers from a certain gun company). Despite the ups and downs, they've always maintained a hardcore following at home and overseas, earning lots of props for their 2011 effort Monumental with Pete Rock. While they've always been reggae fans and have injected some earlier material with a touch of the islands, on Born and Raised they embrace it fully, collaborating with Jahdan, Jr. Kelly, and Junior Reed on the single "Solid Ground." If you're looking for the murky beats and BK gun raps of their early days, you may be disappointed. But if you're down with the reggae, this is an excellent change of pace. It's a short but sweet gem from two of Bucktown's finest.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The two-man Brooklyn group Smif-N-Wessun debuted on Black Moon's landmark 1993 debut, Enta Da Stage, before dropping their own classic Dah Shinin' two years later. Key players in the Boot Camp Click collective, they've been at it ever since, overcoming changing tastes, inconsistent production, and name changes (they were known as Cocoa Brovaz for a while thanks to lawyers from a certain gun company). Despite the ups and downs, they've always maintained a hardcore following at home and overseas, earning lots of props for their 2011 effort Monumental with Pete Rock. While they've always been reggae fans and have injected some earlier material with a touch of the islands, on Born and Raised they embrace it fully, collaborating with Jahdan, Jr. Kelly, and Junior Reed on the single "Solid Ground." If you're looking for the murky beats and BK gun raps of their early days, you may be disappointed. But if you're down with the reggae, this is an excellent change of pace. It's a short but sweet gem from two of Bucktown's finest.

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About Smif-N-Wessun

Part of Brooklyn's talented Boot Camp Clik, the powerful tandem of Smif-n-Wessun got their start on Black Moon's classic debut, Enta da Stage, in 1993. Rudeboy MCs Tek and Steele made their presence felt on the cuts "U da Man" and "Black Smif N' Wessun." In early 1994, the crew scored a massive underground hit with "Bucktown," a reference to their violence-plagued Bedford-Stuyvesant stomping grounds and "home of the original gun clappas."

Their debut LP, Dah Shinin', followed soon thereafter, unleashing more heavy artillery from the military-minded BCC. With a canvas of dark, gluttonous beats provided by the gifted Beatminerz production squad, the duo expanded the limits of harsh-sounding, neck-snapping hip-hop by adding a melodic element. The crew released their album during the heyday of one of the most influential independent hip-hop labels of the '90s, Nervous Wreck Records, which many other indies (Rawkus) have patterned themselves around. Their recording moniker alone, Smif-n-Wessun, implies violence, but the weaponry they deploy is also of the verbal variety. Tek and Steele both possess signature flows, the former a bit more straight-laced while the latter showcases West Indian influences. Dah Shinin' is a focused album with a sharp, compacted sound that still contains depth, albeit strictly from the dark side.

Forced to reincarnate themselves after a legal battle with the Smith and Wesson firearm company, the duo resurfaced in 1997 as Cocoa Brovaz, a reference to their heritage and also to their marijuana fixation. Their second album (and first as Cocoa Brovaz), 1998's The Rude Awakening, was a more sprawling and chaotic venture, as well as being a shade more frighteningly dark. Since 1998, the two partners have released a few singles, including "Super Brooklyn," which features a superbly innovative use of a sample from the old Super Mario Bros. Nintendo game. ~ Michael Di Bella

  • ORIGIN
    Brooklyn, NY

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