Monday, 2 May 2016

Black Moon "Enta Da Stage" (1993)

Brooklyn based Hip Hop trio Black Moon may of beat Wu-Tang's "36 Chambers" claim to the first low-fi, gritty Hip Hop record even if only by a couple of months. Of course there are always precursors to such ideas emerging and Wu-Tang's demo tape date back to 91 but on occasions where their classic debut is discussed this record may get a mention, which is how I found my way to it. Unfortunately its not aged well, it didn't sell at the time and the groups trajectory declined with exception to 99s "War Zone" having some moderate success. Although the groups debut "Enta Da Stage" may not be well remembered it is definitely a must listen for any fan of east coast 90s Hip Hop.

Although a trio it is mainly rapper Buckshot Shorty who dominates the audio waves with a predominantly braggadocio rhyme style and easy to follow flow. There's plenty of gun play and street talk with little socially conscious substance but Buckshot is the sort of rapper who draws you in with his flow and entertains with violence, slang and lifestyle provado world play. Behind him an array of grimy beats with hard grooving drum loops, deep sub baselines and string arrangements coming together to conjure an urban atmosphere of danger. At times they have a slightly Jazz vibe with horn and flute samples but never for a relaxing or soothing moment, the record is always on edge, no thanks to Buckshot's aggressive delivery.

There's not a bad beat on the record but its not without its flaws. There was a time I couldn't put down this album, however over time the lack of insightful lyrical substance and rigid nature of the loops made it tire somewhat. Although the beats are tight there is little variation through the course of a song, with a couple of samples dropping in or out the songs they mostly remain the same for the duration of, which gets tiring after many listens.

This isn't true of every song though, a couple numbers are just timeless and credit to the sample selections, the chemistry is on point, its the composition and variation that lets it down. The mixing style is fantastic too, much of the gritty urban atmospheres comes from the narrow ranges the samples are squeezes into, filling much of the low and mid section. There is also some fantastic hooks from the group who throw together catchy group shouts in the choruses. "Enta Da Stage" has its place in history however for me It falls a little short in places of preference but not to focus on the negatives its a fantastic record well and truly worth your time.

Favorite Songs: Who Got Da Props, Buck Em Down, Make Munne
Rating: 8/10

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