Onyx is back with Wakedafucup!
The original “always hollerin'” crew (Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, and Sonny Seeza) has returned, minus Sonny Seeza, with an updated sound for 2014! And I’m completely blown by that. More specifically, I hate how the update was implemented. This entire album is produced by Snowgoons, a group of German producers who make hardcore East Coast hip-hop. Some people really love Snowgoons. I’m not one of them. Their beats often sound similar to each other, and there’s usually very little variation within them. While somebody like Rza is a master of making a beat that feels like two or three in one, Snowgoons will just make one four-bar loop that never significantly changes. And a LOT of their drums sound exactly the same.
Suffice to say I’m not really a fan of theirs, especially when paired with Onyx. My favorite Onyx album is All We Got Iz Us, which was the perfect balance of the 90s rugged but jazzy downbeat aesthetic with Onyx’s high-energy delivery. Wakedafucup has all the yelled vocals of yesteryear but the beats are yelling at me too. Sonically there’s very little negative space, ie open areas that allows the yelled vocals to stand out. So the vocals just compete with the instrumentals. And there are no basslines, which are a big part of what made AWGIU so good!
Not only aren’t these beats what I want, but they don’t seem to be what Onyx needed, because the rappers all sound awkward on them. Instead of Snowgoons making beats specifically for this album, it seems like Onyx just picked some average Snowgoons material and tried to force themselves onto it. And they failed. I’d post lyrics but what I’m pointing out is really of an issue in how the rhymes sound, not what they’re saying. Anyway the rappers sound bored. Yeah, they’re still doing the yelling, but they don’t seem excited to be rapping. They’re going through the motions, especially on songs like Trust No Bitch and Hustlin’ Hours, with their well-worn topics.
Wakedafucup sounds like a mixtape meant to raise awareness for the real Onyx album. It lacks all the depth of AWGIU, where the American establishment was criticized for creating an environment where people like Onyx felt forced to commit crimes in order to survive. Instead, crime and negativity are simply celebrated on Wakedafucup. This, plus the awkward flows and gangsta-by-the-numbers beats makes for a very uninteresting, extremely disappointing comeback from Onyx.
Highlights: (the most decent of the bad bunch)
- We Don’t Fuckin Care ft A$AP Ferg and Sean Price (Ferg out-spits EVERYONE! Sean Price clearly wasn’t paid enough for his verse)
- Boom!! (best verse from Sticky on the album)
- One 4 Da Team ft Reks (along with We Don’t Fuckin Care, one of the few beats that works well)