Enlist in this boot camp: Reliable Records

· Oct 3, 2001 Tweet

Before Roc-A-Fella, before the No Limit Soldiers blew up, before the Cash Money crew made the world yell “bling bling,” there was a loose collective of rappers and producers that never seemed to reach the success that their aforementioned hip-hop successors have. The Boot Camp Clik, a rugged group of young men hailing from the central and eastern neighborhoods of Brooklyn, N.Y., released a collection of classic albums that never achieved notoriety on the Soundscan or Billboard charts but defined a generation of hip-hop fans who were growing up in the midst of West Coast gangster-isms and future Puff Daddy jigginess.

While it is hard to define who actually makes up the collective know as B.C.C., there are affiliates, family members and current and former associates who have inspired the grungy beats and well-crafted rhymes that filled albums by Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, Da Beatminerz and others. It is often hard to sift through the good, the bad and the mediocre work on the members’ resumes, but there are a few gems that are still on record store shelves, just waiting for their time to teach hip-hop history to fans who ignored the work the first time around.

Da Beatminerz: Brace 4 Impak (2001)

The production group known as Da Beatminerz have often been considered the nucleus of the Boot Camp Clik. Known more on the underground hip-hop scene for their deft turntable work than their ability to use live keyboards and instrumentation, the group lead by Mr. Walt and DJ Evil Dee released Brace 4 Impak to much critical acclaim in summer 2001.

Although primarily known for working with East Coast artists, the album finds the quintet of producers venturing into other parts of the country in search of talent, which it finds in Midwesterner Lord Tariq and West Coast acts Jayo Felony and Ras Kass. Standout cuts include a Beatminerz reunion with Black Moon on “Devestatin’ . . . That’s Us” and “Open,” a duet with Pete Rock and former Soul II Soul member Caron Wheeler.

Though the album’s hooks are mundane at times, Da Beatminerz still manage to impress with heavy drum patterns that recall the early-’90s hip-hop era.

Black Moon: War Zone (1999)

After label woes with Nervous Records, who also claimed for a period that they owned the rights to the group’s name, Buckshot, Five Ft. and DJ Evil Dee left the label known more for its house music releases than its hip-hop ones, only to fall into another dysfunctional relationship with Priority Records.

Now under their own label name, Duck Down Records, but still distributed by the record industry powerhouse, the trio lacked the classic beats that made them underground favorites only a few years before.

However, with appearances by everybody from fellow Brooklynites M.O.P. to MTV’s “Real World” graduate Heather B, to Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip, the group proved that they still had the drive to try to make an impression on a nation of listeners that had all but forgotten about them.

Smif-N-Wessun: Dah Shinin (1995)

Before ever receiving flack for their name, being sued by the well-known gunmaker and having to change their moniker to the Cocoa Brovaz, Tek and Steele, otherwise know as Smif-N-Wessun, made their mark on the hip-hop map with their hardcore attitude and nihilistic wordplay over carefully crafted beats. Almost exclusively produced by Da Beatminerz team, this fifteen-track LP brought the classic Brooklyn anthem “Bucktown” to the ears of fans across the globe, and solidified the duo as one of the most prominent groups in ’90s hip-hop.

Black Moon: Enta Da Stage (1993)
After making noise in 1992 with the independent release of the single “Who Got Da Props?,” the trio released Enta Da Stage as the first Boot Camp Clik album. Largely unknown outside of New York City, the group gained underground notoriety with the impressive production work from DJ Evil Dee and the distinctive flow of Buckshot Shorty. Eventually releasing “I Got Cha Opin” and “How Many MC’s” as singles after the album made waves in the hip-hop community, Black Moon set a standard for new groups with a gritty, jazz-influenced sound that was not only original but also extremely enticing to beat-heads. Undoubtedly one of the best albums ever produced by the Boot Camp Clik community, Enta Da Stage has gone down as a hip-hop classic.

Other reliable records: Cocoa Brovaz, Super Brooklyn (2001); Various Artists, Boot Camp Clik, Greatest Hits — Basic Training (2000); Various Artists, Boot Camp Clik: For the People (1997); The Crooklyn Dodgers, Crooklyn (1994).


This article was published Oct 3, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Oct 3, 2001 at 12:00 am


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