, in 1993. Rudeboy MCs
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.