February 14, 2014

Smif-N-Wessun "Dah Shinin" (The Source, 2/95) + Response (4/95)

"After being discovered by Black Moon, and appearing on that group's Enta Da Stage album, Smif n Wessun hit headz with their single "Bucktown," a laidback mixture of rugged lyrics and moody bass. Now they return with their debut album, Dah Shinin'. While every song is appealing due to the group's talent for flowing and their ability to occasionally drop strong lyrics, the album suffers from too many Black Moon-like tracks and sing-song styles that too closely echo Buckshot on "I Got Cha Opin." They begin with a bouncy intro, "Timz N Hood Check," (one of the album's best cuts), and then leap off into criminal-minded freestyles on "Wrektime," "Wontime" and "Wrekonize." For "Sound Bwoy Bureill," they are gun-clappers killing a soundman. "K.I.M." (Keep It Movin') is traditional New York horns and echo. "Stand Strong" tells us it's mad deep in the streets and "Hellucination," despite its promising title, features 'eerie' bass that sounds more like a Spanish soap opera soundtrack."

"Their anthemic "Bucktown" is still the group's bread and butter. Using less forced deliveries, the duo evoke images of Brooklyn housing projects, jeeps cruising by, ciphers of freestyling bluntsmokers, and brothers rolling dice in Bushwick. This was the song that got everybody open; the song that led many people to think that this group's album would be the shit. Instead of sticking to this mode, they leap into tough guy BS and make their album hit a little weaker than it should've. The tracks, by Evil Dee and Mr. Walt, are too similar (dirty, plodding beats and bumpy bass) and make them sound even more like Black Moon proteges. If they were hooked up with more diversified flavors, listeners wouldn't feel deja vu and might be more satisfied." - The Source, 2/95.

Obviously, this was not one of the most favorable reviews. Is it any surprise that Duck Down's Boot Camp Clik wrote a letter to express their displeasure with the review? Let's look back at their response, too... "Over the last few weeks the Boot Camp Clik has had to answer for The Source. The question being asked: "How could Smif-N-Wessun's Dah Shinin' receive 3 mics (February 1995) for one of the phattest albums of the year and find itself with a lower rating than every other album on that page? The Source states itself "These ratings are determined by staff consensus..." yet the staff we have contacted at The Source told us that they had never heard Smif n Wessun's album. Could one Joe Charles determine all by himself, for the hip-hop community, what Da Shinin deserved? If so, it creates a serious problem because The Source is what it is titled: "the source" that tells the hip-hop community what's the haps in hip-hop. HIP-HOP, NOT RAP. By giving Smif n Wessun's Da Shinin 3 mics you are striking a blow to the head of each and every individual who lives for hip-hop. Individuals who have been craving for dirty plodding beats and bumpy bass (the essence of hip hop music production). Originu crooks who can't get enough of street reality lyrics. Originu Headz who recognize that The Source staff now knows that Smif n Wessun's album deserved, maybe not a higher rating, for that is Joe Charles' opinion, but at least a fair shake before their work is to be judged and reviewed for the masses. Joe Charles wipe ya mouf." - 4/95