Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sample Set #172

Leading the strike against the West Coast’s domination of the early ‘90s, Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage is one of the earliest examples of NYC hip hop’s mid-‘90s resurgence. Prior to the release of earth shattering debut albums by the Wu-Tang Clan (and its members going for dolo), Nas and Biggie Smalls, there was Enta Da Stage – an aggressive, gritty LP fueled by guns, weed and nihilistic braggadocio. Also known as “Brothers who Lyrically Act and Combine Kickin Music Out On Nations”, Black Moon is comprised of emcees 5 Ft. Excellerator and Duck Down visionary Buckshot – both of whom provide cold-hearted verses and rowdy, posse-targeting hooks delivered with forceful ease. Don’t let their heights fool you! I mean, shit… On “Powaful Impak!”, a then-eighteen-year-old Buckshot kicked this poisonous dart: “Get on my skateboard and do a motherfuckin' driveby/”. A drive-by? On a skateboard? What’s fucking with that? Enta Da Stage’s no holds barred mentality is best described by producer DJ Evil Dee, who in the album’s liner notes wrote: “This album was done on blunted terms. Anyone who is offended by the contents of the album, FUCK YOU. Nuff said.” Evil Dee laced the majority of the album’s beats, with older brother (and subsequent Beatminerz partner) Mr. Walt providing some additional bangers such as the album’s title track, along with the classic “I Got Cha Opin”.

Contributions by Buckshot and 5 Ft. notwithstanding, what stands out most to me about this record has got to be the production. Recorded at NYC’s famed D&D Studios, Enta Da Stage’s soundscape is basement rap at its finest. The album epitomizes the aesthetic of raw boom bap, with DJ Evil Dee (and Mr. Walt) truly mastering the art of hard drums, snapping snares and low, deep basslines which can only be described as “subterranean”. Enta Da Stage was Da Beatminerz’ introduction to the world – and what a great first impression they made! The brothers’ crate digging skills are hoisted up for display, well represented by some impressive gems provided by the likes of Lee Michaels, Ten Wheel Drive, John Klemmer, The 9th Creation, Donald Byrd and Ronnie Laws – just to name a few. You can imagine it was quite a pleasure scooping these tracks up for Sample Set #172. What’s the occasion for showcasing Black Moon’s opus? Well, the group’s still around and they’ve been making the rounds, performing the album in its entirety, backed by a live band (check out this rehearsal video). Buck ‘Em Down!!! Enjoy… and turn it up!

P.S. Check out those liner notes. Notice the black and white inlay (on the bottom right side of my scans above) which specifies (a tiny portion of) the samples on the album. Notice that every Enta Da Stage track listed is spelled differently than how it should be (i.e. “Shit Is Real” instead of “Shit Iz Real”; “Into the Stage” instead of “Enta Da Stage”; “How Many MC’s” instead of “How Many MC’s…”). That can’t just be a coincidence… Or can it…?…