Quick Shot of That 100 Proof Bleh…Onyx – Wakedafucup

Onyx is back with Wakedafucup!

Onyx - 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)

  1. 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)
  2. Boom!! (best verse from Sticky on the album)
  3. One 4 Da Team ft Reks (along with We Don’t Fuckin Care, one of the few beats that works well)

StreamWakedafucupon Soundcloud.

11 thoughts on “Quick Shot of That 100 Proof Bleh…Onyx – Wakedafucup”

  1. The MOP collaboration with Snowgoons was the first time I heard of the Goons and thought that project was a complete dud. I was never a big fan of Onyx, but AWGIU was good. On that comment about AWGIU having no basslines, I think that album had very faint sine basslines, if my memory serves me right.

    1. Nah I meant that this album has no basslines but AWGIU had them and they made that album much better. Glad to see I’m not the only one unimpressed by most Onyx stuff and all Snowgoons songs. Their beats are so simple, maybe they need more intricate rappers to keep our interest?

      1. Thanks for the clarification. To the last comment, I say nah because imagine someone like Canibus going over Trackmasters’ beats, nothing can fix that commercial piffle (except when Trackmasters produced Nas’ “The Message” and maybe Method Man’s “Break Ups 2 Make Ups”). The same thing applies to Snowgoons, I just can’t see even intricate rappers like El-P going over some Snowgoons stuff and making it sound amazing, just can’t because as we all know, a rap song isn’t good if the beat isn’t good, (and like Max from HHID says: I don’t think anybody listens to acapella albums).

        1. Haha great minds think alike. Beats are extremely important. Given that, I don’t have any idea how so many rappers pick such bad beats! I previously thought that Trackmasters were real good on It Was Written, but looking at the credits for that album, most of the best songs, the rugged joints like Live Nigga Rap and Take It In Blood, were done by other people. Even Affirmative Action only has them as co-producers. You’re probably right about Snowgoons and intricate rappers. No one can save those beats

  2. I’ll add a question since we are on this topic of bad beat choices: What do you think of Nas? Second part to the question: Where do you think Nas will go after Def Jam? (I’m thinking MMG)

    1. ya know, I actually think MMG would be a decent fit, at least as far as beats. Ross has a talent for picking great beats, and Nas would probably sound good on some Justice League work. Other than that I’ve no idea. I’d love to see him go indie and make short LPs with people like Alchemist, Madlib, and DJ Premier. But it seems that he has no interest in indie deals.

      Overall, Nas is one of my favorite emcees. He was a huge early inspiration for me. But now, he’s totally fallen off, so I don’t look to him for Illmatic’s or It Was Written’s quality. I still somewhat enjoy his new material but it’s usually disposable,

    1. Ya’know I actually thought of you while making that conclusion. It felt like the sort of thing you’d notice. Thanks

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