The Boot Camp Clik is, without doubt, one of the signature crews of the 1990s alongside the Wu-Tang Clan and many other collectives, ushering in a hard-edged style that has slowly remerged in recent times. Leading the charge for the BCC 25 years ago was the duo of Smif-N-Wessun with their debut album, Dah Shinin’, one of the brightest examples of wintertime corner boy music ever created.
The emergence of Duck Down Music as a record label after serving as a management company for the groups Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun was cemented with the release of Tek and General Steele’s Dah Shinin’, a menacing and relentless boom-bap affair that still holds well today. Helmed by the sprawling production crew Da Beatminerz, Smif-N-Wessun burst on the scene on the heels of the 1994 single “Bucktown” with the Brooklyn rappers sounded at home over crackling drums and dusty loops.
The appearance of Clik crew members Rockness Monsta, Ruck aka the late Sean Price, Starang Wondah, Louisville Sluggah aka Hennyville, Top Dog, and Buckshot gave the album the necessary lyrical balance and grit that defined the times. But it was the chemistry and notably strong bond between Tek and Steele was undeniable, as heard on the Dah Shinin’s closing track “P.N.C.”
With their distinct, Jamaican patois-tinged verses, Smif-N-Wessun and the BCC went on an unstoppable run that year culminating into the release of The Fab 5’s “Blah” single and its b-side “”Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka” becoming a smash hit. The following year, the Fab 5 split into two groups, Ruck and Rock with Heltah Skeltah and Starang, Louisville and Top Dog forming O.G.C. with both crews dropping their respective debuts in 1996.
However, credit should be rightly given to Smif-N-Wessun’s bone-chilling debut that set the tone for the Clik and we’re happy to report that the duo is still active and released the incredibly solid The All in 2019 with production from longtime Clik collaborator 9th Wonder and The Soul Council.
Although the East Coast is going through an unusually warm spell in 2020, when it surely gets brick outdoors again, put on Dah Shinin’ and watch the landscape get grittier by the second.
Listen to Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’ below.