Do the math. New Yorks own Smif N Wessun has been putting in that work for a long time. Making their introduction on Black Moons Enta Da Stage, the duo hit hard with their gritty back and forth Brooklyn hard-rock swag. Tek and Steele dropped the single “Bucktown” and instantly had the underground on smash. Entirely produced by the Beatminerz, their subsequent debut, Dah Shinin, spawned several BK anthems, making their debut a certified classic. The pair would attempt to up the ante under their new Cocoa Brovaz moniker with their second release The Rude Awakening, but it would fail to live up to its predecessor.
In ’05 their third joint Smif N Wessun: Reloaded let heads know the group didnt lose their moxie. Now almost twelve calendars into the game the Boot Camp brethren return hungry. Rather than go through your standard question and answer routine we get the scoop on some of their seminal singles, a brush up on their slept on burners, and a small peek into their latest project, The Album. Black Smif-N-Wessun from Black Moon’s Enta Da StageTek: Buck [Shot] had just finished performing a show. Everybody was all hyped. We were all in the limo in the back drinking; blowing on that Hawaiian cess. Ni**as was like, Yo we need to get on a song together. We hadnt even recorded one song together; we were just doing shows together then. We [Smif N Wessun] were still opening up for them and things like that and from there we were just brainstorming like what are we going to call it? It was like Black Smif N Wessun. Black Moon and Smif N Wessun and we put it together. From there it was magic. We were so wrapped up in Beatminerz music at the time, we only felt one way about their tracks and that was good. We fell in love with a Beatminerz beat as soon as we heard it. We didnt give a f*** how it sounded. We recorded that session in an old studio. It used to be so f***ing cold in there we used to had to keep our Northfaces and Timberlands on while we were listening to it, while we were tracking the beat, when we were doing the vocals. It was rough in there, B. We used to use the piano covers to cover up for heat sleeping in the studio until the sessions got done. Steele: I tell you one thing. Once we heard that, we knew that was a Smif N Wessun track.
Bucktown from Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’Tek: Home of the Orginal Gun Clappaz. Steele: That set it all off for us. We always had that waiting in the background. Our thing was that we were always Bucktown / Bootcamp Clik, so our first song we knew we had to pop off appropriately. We had another song called All About The Cash. We came out and we was back to back throughout the whole sh*t. We had a sample that we couldnt get cleared for sh*t. So the runner up was Bucktown. We got to give Beatminerz a lot of credit because we knew they did their thing before and we knew we had to make an anthem. We wanted to include everyone around us so we went with that hook.Tek: That all describes Brooklyn. Steele: You got to remember back in that time in the 90s, Hip-Hop was explosive at that time. You had the Wu-Tang Clan, you had Onyx out there doing their thing and Loud Records was out there doing their thing. And here we come these young grimy little ni***s straight from high school. All we knew is running through those Manhattan streets, Queens streets, and running through Brooklyn streets. That was Bucktown to us. Everything was exciting to us and new to us so we just let the guns go. We did the remix with M.O.P.; one of Brooklyns finest duos. We tried to keep the energy going; we had another Bucktown [“Welcome to Bucktown USA”] on The Chosen Few album. [Bonus]
[“Bucktown” Video – Story continues below…]
Sound Boy Bureill from Smif N Wessun’s Dah Shinin’Steele: That came from my heavy influence in the West Indian Caribbean culture. When you in Brooklyn, you surrounded by a lot of different islands. A lot of us have family members from different backgrounds. That was a natural progression so we had to add that in. Tek: At one time the homosexual community was riding us about that song, pause. But anyone that speaks their mind is going to catch some flack. We been dodging and dipping bullets and sending them right back since we came out. Thats why we always in the trenches and thats why its Boot Camp.
Won On Won from the Soul in the Hole SoundtrackTek: Soul In The Hole [Basketball Tournament]. Thats right around from my way in the [Bed] Stuy in the park. We used to go to the park and Skip [To My Lou] and all of them used to come through to the Soul In The Hole. Big Uncle Ralph McDaniels shot the video for it, that sh*t was sick right there. Steele: Were trend-setters man. Shout out to Sean Cane. Nobody was able to make no beats like that since then and it needed a duo to go back and forth like how we split that beat up. Thats not average boom bap beat, nah mean? We were just going in on that and before you know it there wasnt no more beat left! Thats one of them songs that just had you energized. Actually I wish we had the video taping the room because that particular song we only had one mic. We literally did our sh*t on one mic at D&D studios. We ran things in D&D studios. Everything in D&D was crazy. That was one of the places where Hip-Hop was living. For us being in the studio with one of the greatest producers of all time Premier and Pete Rock coming through to all these places; being in that cipher with them and knowing you amongst greats you cant let nobody down. D&D was great, especially the pool games. We definitely cracked a couple of cats in the head for a couple of dollars. Big up to the dread who used to bring us that exclusive ganja.[“Won On Won” Video – Story continues below…]
Black Trump f/ Raekwon from Cocoa Brovaz’ The Rude AwakeningTek: You know that was something we laid down with the family. We werent in D&D for that session, we were at another studio. Steele: Rae[kwon the Chef] was actually there. We were burning black weed, we were burning the original black weed. We were getting toasted. We actually got some of that footage, we did the video. Son actually showed up, it wasnt a super imposed image. It was definitely an honor for us since you know Wu Tang came in the game people been comparing us to them. Were distant cousins so it was an honor to do a song with him.
Spanish Harlem f/ Hurricane G & Tony Touch from Cocoa Brovaz’ The Rude AwakeningTek: Big up to our peoples in the Barrio up, Hurricane G, the boy Tony Touch. In that video we had Rev Run, we had [Big] Pun, we had everybody! Thats when the Hip-Hop community was showing love to each other. The beef that was running around was real minor sh*t. It was nothing major like when I see that ni**a Im smashing him. Or if it was like that, you didnt hear about it, it was kept between them crews. But Spanish Harlem was crazy. We shot that video on 116th street right in the projects. We used to shut down that weed spot. [“Spanish Harlem” Video – Story Continues below…]
Super BrooklynSteele: That one we recorded in Queens. My boy DJ Rob did that beat. He played a couple of beats for us and we heard that and it was like dam thats a hit; everyone knows that one! We just figured we had to go in hard on that one. As kids we all played Super Mario [Brothers]. We made it Super Brooklyn and we kept it simple. We did the remix with Mr. Cheeks because the dude DJ Rob had a relationship with him. We got stressed out by the video game company. Thats one thing that held us back but pushed us forward at the same time. You competing with a big company [Nintendo]; you seen what they did to [Lil] Flip. Even though the song was under the radar, a lot of people heard it and we got chances to meet with a lot of big companies behind that sh*t.
Get Up from the Lyricist Lounge, Vol. 2Tek: Oh thats when we were riding in Cali heavy with that one. We flew out there to shoot to the video, production by the boy Hi-Tek. We performed that on the Soul Train they had popping off. That was a good look for your boys.Steele: I almost died ni***! I almost died in Cali that day! I was sick as a dog man. I caught a virus bug or something. I was f***ing around with my Mexican homeys, they was bringing me all type of funny corn soups and sh*t. It probably had something to do with all that Hennessy I was drinking the day before. That was our first real introduction to Rawkus Records. Super Brooklyn lead us to Rawkus [Records] eventually. We were about to get into [a deal] with Rawkus if they had kept on going. Tek: The deal was inked[“Get Up” Video – Story continues below…]
My Timbz Do Work from Smif N Wessun’s ReloadedSteele: That song is off the Smif n Wessun Reloaded album. That whole album was straight hardcore cuts. We basically were talking about we trend setting the game and coming and putting the boots up dudes asses, its just stabilizing your position. Tek: Reloaded was one of them sleepers, it did what it did. It enabled us to keep doing what we doing the only way we can do it. It was a lot of good joints on there the same way there were a lot of crazy joints on The Rude Awakening.
Stomp f/ Rock & Joell Ortiz from Smif N Wessun’s The AlbumSteele: Why we used a brother like Joel Ortiz, he got it popping in the streets and in the industry. Its only right that men of respect deal with men of respect. From then to now we show you that our game has never changed. We always continue to f*** with raw artists and him just doing its only right because he representing Brooklyn. Tek: This new album, Smif-n-Wessun The Album, comes out October 23rd [and] is off the chain. Its crazy joints on there. Steele: This is our fourth album as Smif-n-Wessun and we still with Duck Down; its family. Its officially known that we are a legendary group because a lot of groups havent lasted in this game like us and havent been consistent with the music as we have. We bringing forth the evolution of all of our experiences. Theoretically this album is like a photo album, it allows you to look back and look forward at the same time.
[Smif N’ Wessun “Gotta Say It” Video”]