Smif-N-Wessun Show Boom Bap Sounds Amazing With Live Instruments (Video)
The group Smif-n-Wessun is preparing the release of their forthcoming album, The A.L.L., and they promise it will be soon. The Duck Down Music LP is produced by 9th Wonder and his North Carolina-based Soul Council collective (Khrysis, Eric G., Kash, Amp, E. Jones, Nottz, and others). Last Friday (September 14), Heads got a first taste of the project thanks to “Let It Go,” laced by 9th. After the weekend, Heads get a premiere of another cut, “One Time.” Moreover, they get to experience it for the first time with a live band playing along. During the intimate Tiny Desk set, Tek and General Steele also perform two fan favorites from their earliest days.
Smif-n-Wessun hit the Tiny Desk with the Black-Alley Band. The musicians recreate the flavor of the mid-’90s joints with style and swagger. Meanwhile, the two MCs showcased their longstanding Boot Camp Clik chemistry and unbreakable Hip-Hip brotherhood on the new song. During the Washington, D.C. visit, Steele describes rocking with a live band as a spiritual experience, pointing out that the group’s most famous samples come from live instrumentation. Tek also admits to feeling nervous premiering “One Time” in front of an audience. Nerves aside, the resulting display from both artists is a testament to why fans continue to pack houses to see them live.
“One Time” is filled with lyrics that are a testament to the Cocoa Brovaz’ longevity. At the intro, Tek demands greater recognition for his Camp, especially when it comes to BK Hip-Hop history. He also weaves in some career-defining song titles: “When ya talk about Rap on the East Coast / How y’all leave our Clik out the convo? / Other than Chris and Shawn, who kept Brooklyn live? / My wave gang ruled in ’95 / ’92, Buckshot, ‘Who Got Da Props’ / Then the classic, Enta Da Stage dropped / ‘Powaful Impak!’ fam at 100 / I ‘Buck ‘Em Down’ if they act like they want it / How many MCs must get dissed? / Before somebody say that they sound like our Clik?” Steele then praises the Most High in allowing the troop to make it this far: “God vision is pure when your lyrics too authentic you don’t get no awards / I ain’t talking about no magazines, we in the Source / When you’re married to your team, there won’t be no divorce / That’s something you never do / Let’s get it on for the fam, and the revenue / After the song hope the fans will remember you.”
Before getting to this new music, which is the third and final song, Tek and Steel join the band in groovy renditions of hometown anthem “Bucktown,” and “Stand Strong.” Both original records were released off their 1995 debut, Dah Shinin‘. During the set, the MCs shout out Da Beatminerz’ Mr. Walt and DJ Evil Dee who produced that celebrated Nervous Records LP, a keystone in the Boot Camp discography. They also big up engineer/DJ Young Guru, who is down with the Soul Council, in addition to his longtime roles with JAY-Z and Roc Nation.
Smif-N-Wessun is one / Tek and Steele is plural / One of the few alive to have our face on the mural,” they rap. This group, who proclaim that they can never break up in their song, continue to write new chapters in their history. The fans remain grateful.