ONYX May Have Never Slammed If They Weren’t Stuck In Traffic With Jam Master Jay (Video)
Run-D.M.C.’s Jam Master Jay was instrumental in the development of fellow Queens, New York Hip-Hop group ONYX. Later on, Jay would ink Jayo Felony and 50 Cent, but no artist experienced more success on JMJ Records than Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz and company. Jay signed ONYX and secured the Def Jam deal that made “Slam” a top 5 anthem heard round the world.
Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz recently sat down with Drink Champs. They told fellow New Yorker N.O.R.E. and Miami’s DJ EFN just how important the late DJ/producer was to the group’s formation and trajectory. They also shared details about their serendipitous first meeting on the highway, traveling back to Queens after an annual Greek Fest college party at Long Island, New York’s Jones Beach sometime around 1990.
“We’re on the highway going home from Jones Beach, and it’s a traffic jam,” recalls Fredro at the 2:10 mark. “Mad people! So the cars is movin’ like… they ain’t even movin‘. It’s like a party. Everybody got HOT 97 on. Everybody playin’ [‘Back to Life’ by Soul II Soul]… the whole beach [together]!” He and Sticky, who wasn’t even in the group at the time, soon realized that they were stuck beside Jam Master Jay’s van. Immediately recognizing the icon, they asked him if they could smoke together.
“My mans is thinkin’ about weed, but I’m thinkin’ about a record deal,” Fredro recollects, who saw the encounter as an opportunity to impress the Rap star. “This is my chance! I got this ni**a in the traffic jam. He ain’t goin’ nowhere!” After lighting up, the 100 Mad rappers proceeded to freestyle for JMJ and they instantly formed a bond.
“We were just vibin’ with him. We from Queens, he from Queens. It was more than Hip-Hop,” says Fredro. “Jay was a real ni**a… Jay was the streets [representation] for Run-D.M.C.”
Fredro also recalled recording early demos for JMJ about a year or so later. That was before Sticky, who is Fredro’s cousin, was an official member of the group. At the time, ONYX consisted of Fredro, Sonny Seeza (fka Sonsee) and the late Big DS. When Sonny and Big supposedly missed a session, Sticky (tka “Trop”) stepped in to cover for them. Apparently, that record in particular stood out to JMJ, who instructed Fredro to sign him to the group.
Between 12:40 and 15:00, the group discussed “Slam,” their biggest hit. Jay co-produced the song and convinced his proteges to record it, despite ONYX disliking the beat and feel.
#BonusBeat: Part two of Drink Champs‘ episode with ONYX:
ONYX released Shotgunz In Hell last month with Dope D.O.D.