Open main menu

Onyx (hip hop group)

  (Redirected from Onyx (group))

Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, founded in 1988 by Fredro Starr, Suavé (also known as Sonny Seeza) and the late Big DS. Sticky Fingaz joined the group in 1991.

Onyx (hip hop group).jpg
Background information
OriginSouth Jamaica, Queens, New York
Years active1988 (1988)–present
Associated actsJam Master Jay, Agallah
MembersFredro Starr
Sticky Fingaz
Sonny Seeza
Past membersBig DS

The group released seven studio albums in the US, one collaborative album and one EP. Eight singles of the group were in the top ten of the Billboard charts. The group's debut album, Bacdafucup (1993) was certified as platinum due to their smash rowdy hit "Slam".

Onyx was nominated for "Favorite New Rap/Hip-Hop Artist" at the American Music Awards and won "Best Rap Album" at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1994, for the album Bacdafucup. Their follow up, All We Got Iz Us, was critically acclaimed, recognized by Vibe as one of 1995's best-produced hip hop album. In 1998, the group dropped their last Def Jam album, Shut 'Em Down, with features from Wu-Tang Clan, DMX and 50 Cent.

Onyx first popularised crowd slamdancing and stage diving in hip hop.[1]




The group was formed in 1988 by Fredro Starr and his schoolmates Suavé (also known as Sonny Seeza) and Big DS. Big DS came up with the name for the group, he named it after the black stone Onyx.[2]

Onyx began to make the first demos in the basement of B-Wiz with drum machine beats from an SP-12.[3] In 1989, Onyx signed Jeffrey Harris as their manager, who helped them secure a contract with the label Profile Records. In 1990, at York Studio in Brooklyn, they recorded their first single, Ah, And We Do It Like This, which was released to low sales on April 25, 1990 on Profile.[4][5]

Fredro Starr, Big DS and Sonny Seeza met Jam Master Jay in a traffic jam at The Jones Beach GreekFest Festival on July 13, 1991.[6][7] Jay give them about two months to get a demo, but Suave and Big DS they didn't make it to the studio because they were stranded in Connecticut.[8] So Jeff Harris, the manager of Onyx, asked Fredro to come to the studio with his cousin, Kirk Jones, who at the time was doing a solo career under the name Trop and working in the barbershop making a thousand dollars a week cutting high school. Fredro and Sticky Fingaz made two records, "Stik 'N' Muve" and "Exercise".[9]

In 1991, despite the reproaches from Fredro, the Onyx's music producer, B-Wiz, sold his drum machine SP-12 and went to Baltimore to sell crack, and eventually he was killed in Baltimore. Thus, all Onyx records were lost.[10] The group needed a new music producer and Neek The Exotic introduced DJ Chyskillz to the group Onyx in 1991.[11]


In 1993, Onyx released their debut album entitled Bacdafucup. The album was produced by Chyskillz, Jam Master Jay and Kool Tee. Bacdafucup is a groundbreaking hip-hop album, that brought to hip-hop slamdancing, stage diving, rapping the grimy voice and the bald head fashion.[12] The album features three the Billboard singles "Throw Ya Gunz", "Slam" and "Shiftee". Their breakout single, "Slam", which received heavy airplay on both radio and television (MTV and BET), leading the song to reach #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Slam" was certified Platinum by the RIAA on August 10, 1993. It proved to be a commercial success. The album marked the group's highest debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at #10. Bacdafucup was certified Platinum by the RIAA on October 25, 1993. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Albums.

Big DS left the group in 1994 to start a solo career. Big DS founded his own label Illyotic Music and started producing music. After recording a few demos, Big DS sent them to Jimmy Iovine, co-owner of Interscope Records, in the hope of signing a contract with his label for the release of the album.

In 1994, Onyx started working on a new album All We Got Iz Us.[13] While the second album was much less successful commercially, it proved to be a critical success.[citation needed]

In 1995 Onyx founded its own label Armee Records, distributed through MCA Records.[14] Contracts were signed with the artists: Gang Green, All City (Greg Valentine and J. Mega),[15] Panama P.I. and Choclatt (Jared Crawford).[16]

In April 1995, Marvel Music, a short-lived imprint of Marvel Comics, released a comic book "Onyx: Fight!", written by Karl Bollers (author), drawn by Larry Lee (illustrator), and based on an idea by Onyx - a post-apocalyptic wasteland of New York City where Onyx forms an underground rebellion.[17]

Onyx returned in 1998 with their third album Shut 'Em Down, which featured appearances from Onyx's affiliate X-1, DMX, a then unknown 50 Cent, All City, Mr. Cheeks, Wu-Tang Clan, N.O.R.E., Big Pun and others. The album was produced by Keith Horne and Self, with help from DJ Scratch of EPMD, Bud'da and Latief. The album features three the Billboard singles The Worst, Shut 'Em Down and React. The album marked the group's highest debut on the Billboard 200, peaking at #10. The album sold 500,000 units.[18] "Shut 'Em Down" is the last album, released by Onyx on the Def Jam. JMJ Records as well as Onyx was officially removed from Def Jam on "Black Thursday" - January 21, 1999 - because the label PolyGram, who in 1994 purchased 50% of Sony's Def Jam, was sold to Seagram on December 10, 1998.[19]

Later careerEdit

In 2001, Onyx made a deal with Koch Records to release one album Bacdafucup Part II, the sequel to their debut LP "Bacdafucup".[20] The album was produced by Davinci, DR Period, Havoc, Self, Ant Boogie, Co-Stars, Scott Storch. The album consisting of 12 new tracks and included a return to their biggest hit with "Slam Harder", DR Period track uses a sample of the theme song from the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter" to introduce the song and provide melody throughout.[21] The song "Feel Me" was recorded on the night of September 11, 2001 and dedicated to the events that happened that day.[22]

On May 22, 2003 Big DS died in the hospital in Queens after receiving chemo as a result of lymphatic cancer at 31 years old.[23][24][25]

In 2003, Onyx returned with Triggernometry, an album consisting of 10 new tracks and 11 stories from the life of the group Onyx, told by the group members themselves in the gap between the songs. All the songs were produced by one producer Kronic Tones, who had already produced 7 tracks for Fredro Starr's second solo album "Don't Get Mad Get Money".

Onyx released a 16-track collection of previously unreleased songs Cold Case Files through Iceman Music Group on August 19, 2008. The collection features underground singles, lost studio recordings from the group's first three albums, and appearances from Method Man, deceased Onyx affiliate X1, and Gangreen. Fredro's younger brother and frequent guest artist, Whosane, archived most of the unreleased tracks.[26][27][28]

After the duo of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz postponed the release of the album Black Rock, they began working on recording a new album called CUZO. On October 31, 2012 fresh from touring overseas, Onyx released the video on YouTube from their first single off of the new album CUZO entitled "Belly Of The Beast", the video was directed by Kevin KJ Johnson.[29] Onyx was going to release CUZO album on September 5, 2013, but the album is still unreleased.

In August 2012, Onyx also released their second compilation album, titled Cold Case Files Vol. 2. The album is unique in that it is only available from; as the purchase is digital, all proceeds go to the group.

In 2011, Fredro Starr connected backstage with DJ Illegal who performed with his group Snowgoons and M.O.P. at the club in Munich, Germany. At that time, Snowgoons working on a new album Snowgoons Dynasty and they asked Fredro to be on their album. So DJ Illegal sent Fredro a beat for the song "The Legacy", which immediately liked the member of Onyx and he asked Snowgoons to send him some more beats. After listening to some new music, Fredro offered producers: "Let's just do an album".[30][31] Onyx released their first album in over a decade, Wakedafucup, through Goon MuSick on March 18, 2014. The album is entirely produced by Snowgoons. The album features guest appearances from Sean Price, Papoose, Cormega, Reks, Snak The Ripper and ASAP Ferg. WakeDaFucUp was named by XXL as one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014 in "THE 25 BEST HIP-HOP ALBUMS OF 2014".[32]

In 2014, X-Ray Records (a division of Cleopatra Records) released a compilation of Onyx's unreleased songs called #TURNDAFUCUP. The release include a modern trap style of production and up-tempo EDM beats mixed with their classic old school hard core hip hop sound. The collection mainly contains songs that were recorded for an unreleased album CUZO produced by Agallah, Audible Doctor and DJ Cutz. It features line-up of guest appearances by Busta Rhymes, Raekwon (of Wu Tang Clan), Myster DL, Ras Kass and Ill Bill. It also contains two bonus tracks: re-recordings of classic Onyx hits Slam and Last Dayz. HipHopDX gave the release three stars out of five.[33]

In 2015, Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr came back with Against All Authorities, a statement about the current status of the US. They recorded a 6 track EP protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.[34] The whole album was produced by Canadian producer Scopic and features appearances by Sick Flo, Ras Kass, Jasia'n and Canadian rapper Merkules.

In 2015, Def Jam released an 11-track compilation of Onyx's classic songs called ICON. It contains the best songs from a group of three albums that were released on Def Jam.[35]

Snowgoons launched via Kickstarter campaign a new project Onyx vs. M.O.P. on November 22. The release of a new collaboration album was estimated roughly to drop for spring 2016, via Goon MuSick and Major Independents. During the campaign, Fredro Starr and Billy Danze recorded on the video their calls to the fans of both groups. But the project did not get the necessary amount to record the album and eventually was canceled on December 18, 2015. For this time Snowgoons have collected about $10,000 of $30,000 goal and 186 backers.[36]

In 2017, Onyx teamed up with Dutch hardcore hip hop group Dope D.O.D. to release a collaboration album Shotgunz In Hell. Onyx first met Dope D.O.D. at the "Urbano Festival" in France on June 29, 2012, where performed both groups. After the performance Dope D.O.D.'s Skits Vicious hooked up with Onyx's Fredro Starr and exchanged phone numbers. Fredro Starr remembers the day he first heard the group Dope D.O.D.:[37] In the same year, both groups recorded a joint track "Panic Room" for the second album of Dope D.O.D. "Da Roach" released on April 19, 2013. The second joint track was "WakeDaFucUp", which became the title track for the next Onyx's album "#WakeDaFucUp" released on March 18, 2014. Then both groups decided to release an EP, which turned into an album.[38] The album was produced by Dutch producers - Tjibz, Nightwatch, Peter Songolo (Jay Reaper's brother), Ezra, Bananaz, Chubeats and a Spanish producer Cookin' Soul. The album features appearances by Sick Flo, Snak The Ripper, Dope D.O.D.'s ex-member Dopey Rotten and DJ Nelson.


  • Fredro Starr (born Fred Lee Scruggs, Jr., 1971) – The leader of the group. He produced the majority of the All We Got Iz Us album. He has also had an acting career with many film and television credits to his name, most notably Strapped, Clockers, Sunset Park, Ride, Light It Up, Save the Last Dance and Moesha.
  • Sticky Fingaz (born Kirk Jones, 1973) – He's the youngest member of the Onyx and was the first to release an Onyx solo album with Blacktrash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones. He also had a significant acting career, with roles including Clockers, Ride, In Too Deep, Lockdown, Doing Hard Time and Breaking Point and his role "Blade" in Blade (TV series).
  • Sonny Seeza (born Tyrone Taylor, 1970) – He is the oldest member of the group as well as the most experienced, having begun rapping in 1982, with Killah Priest at the age of 11 as a member of Taylor's older brother's hip-hop group "Cold Crash Scenes". Tyrone was known as a DJ at the battles in Ajax Park (Jamaica, New York) where he first met Fredro Starr in 1985. His debut solo album Tytanium was more a double mix-tape with old and new songs. It wasn't what it set out to be. Due to company discrepancies and them dropping the ball, he pulled out.[39] He worked on his second album Bridges from 2011 and finally released it in 2016. Seeza distanced himself from Onyx in 2008, saying "they went to Hollywood, they want to do what they do".[40]
  • Big DS (born Marlon Fletcher, 1971-2003) – Big DS came up with the name for the group and left this group in 1994 to start a solo career.[41] Big DS founded his own label Illyotic Music and started producing music. On May 22, 2003 Big DS died in the hospital in Queens after receiving chemo as a result of lymphatic cancer at 31 years old.[42][43][44]

Video gamesEdit


50 CentEdit

The beef between Onyx and 50 Cent started on Def Jam's "Survival Of The Illest" concert at the legendary world-famous Apollo Theater. The concert was held on July 18, 1998. During performing the song "React" rapper Scarred 4 Life (also known as Clay Da Raider) performed 50 Cent's verse. In a 2008 interview for AllHipHop Fredro made a comment about 50 Cent:[46]

Damon DashEdit

In 2009, Onyx was going to release an album Black Rock but the album's release was postponed because of Damon Dash, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, who together with Ohio-based rock duo "The Black Keys" with the participation of New York City-based rappers like Mos Def, Billy Danze, Q-Tip and RZA released an album called "Blakroc" in late 2009 (a collaboration of rap and rock), thus destroying the plans of Onyx. Despite all the threats from Onyx, the Damon Dash's project "BlakRoc" came out on November 24, 2009. Soon after this Onyx released a video "The Real Black Rock", in which Sticky Fingaz dissing Damon Dash, basing on a telephone conversation with Jay-Z.



Compilation albumsEdit

  • Cold Case Files: Vol. 1 (2008)
  • 100 Mad Niggaz With Gunz [Hosted By DJ Omega Red] (2009)
  • 100 Mad. Part 2 [Hosted by DJ Motion] (2010)
  • Cold Case Files: Vol. 2 (2012)
  • #TURNDAFUCUP (2014)
  • ICON (2015)
  • Cold Case Files: Vol. 3 (TBA)
  • 100 Mad. Part 3 (TBA)

Awards and nominationsEdit

In 1994, for the album Bacdafucup, Onyx was nominated for "Favorite New Rap/Hip-Hop Artist" at the American Music Awards and won "Best Rap Album" at the Soul Train Music Awards.

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
1994 American Music Awards of 1994 "Bacdafucup" Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist Nominated
1994 1994 Soul Train Music Awards "Bacdafucup" Best Rap Album Won

At the end of 1993, the US magazines Billboard and Cashbox placed Onyx on several of their final annual charts.

Year Group Publication Country Accolade Rank
1993 Onyx Billboard United States Hot Rap Artists[47] 1
Top Billboard 200 Album Artists[48] 64
Top R&B Album Artists[49] 20
Hot 100 Singles Artists[50] 45
Cashbox Top New Groups[51] 4


  1. ^ "Sticky Fingaz - Featured Interview (by Adam Bernard) [June 24, 2008]". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  2. ^ "ONYX - Interview on Kanal 4's Keynote with Trini Trimpop (Germany) (1993) (with Russian Subtitles) - 2:18". Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  3. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 305". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  4. ^ "The Year Onyx's 'Slam' Crashed Pop Radio". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  5. ^ "ONYX: Mad Men". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  6. ^ "Sonny Seeza Explains Why You Don't See Him With ONYX That Much Anymore". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  7. ^ "Fredro Starr talks Onyx, Jam Master J & Signing to Def Jam Records". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  8. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 305". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  9. ^ "I Am Hip-Hop - Conversations on the Music and Culture (by Andrew J. Rausch) (April 1, 2011) - page 179". Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  10. ^ "ONYX: Mad Men". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  11. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 305". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  12. ^ "Sticky Fingaz - Featured Interview (by Adam Bernard) [June 24, 2008]". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  13. ^ "HHC 1995 : ONYX - Bald In The UZA - page 41". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  14. ^ "Armee Records". Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  15. ^ "All City on Discogs". Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  17. ^ "Marvel Music's Strange, Brief, and Totally Doomed Rock-Comics Revolution". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  18. ^ "In the Arms of Baby Hop (by Kenneth Attaway) - page 271". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  19. ^ "Def Jam, Inc., Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and the Extraordinary Story of the World's Most Inf (by Stacy Gueraseva) - page 272". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  20. ^ "The Top 20 Rap Album Sequels of All Time". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  21. ^ "Onyx :: Bacdafucup Part II (Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon)". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  22. ^ "Sticky Fingaz (Onyx) - conducted by Todd E. Jones". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  23. ^ "Onyx Member Loses Cancer Battle". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  24. ^ "Hip-Hop Band Founder Big DS Passes Away From Cancer". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  25. ^ "Onyx on Being Paranoid and Wearing Bullet Proof Vests, Big DS Leaving Group". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  26. ^ "Onyx To Make A Comeback With New Album "Cold Case Files"". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  27. ^ "Onyx Interview: Return Of The Madface". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  28. ^ "Onyx: Cold Case Files Unsolved Murder (by BLAKCITRUS) [July 5, 2008]". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  29. ^ Onyx "Cuzo" - Belly Of The Beast. (2012-11-03). Retrieved on 2012-12-20.
  30. ^ Onyx Preview "Wakedafucup" & Recall Final Words With Notorious B.I.G., HipHop DX, 2014-02-24, retrieved 2018-08-26
  31. ^ ""ONYX: Mad Men"". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  32. ^ The 25 Best Hip-Hop Albums Of 2014 (So Far). (2014-06-30). Retrieved on 2014-06-30.
  33. ^ "Onyx - #TURNDAFUCUP". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  34. ^ "Onyx-Against All Authorities Review". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  35. ^ "Onyx - ICON". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  36. ^ "Onyx vs. M.O.P. Album produced by Snowgoons (Canceled)". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  37. ^ "Shotguns In Hell: An Interview With Fredro Starr Of Onyx (June 20, 2017)". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  38. ^ "Studiobesuch in den Niederlanden – Dope D.O.D. über Onyx, „Shotgunz in Hell" und kommende Projekte (June 26, 2017)". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  39. ^ "Sonny Seeza: It's Sonny SeeZon! @MrSonnySeeza". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  40. ^ "Sonny Seeza responds to being kicked out of platinum rap group Onyx". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  41. ^ "Onyx on Being Paranoid and Wearing Bullet Proof Vests, Big DS Leaving Group (Part 6)". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  42. ^ "Onyx Member Loses Cancer Battle". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  43. ^ "Hip-Hop Band Founder Big DS Passes Away From Cancer". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  44. ^ "Onyx on Losing Former Member Big DS to Cancer at 31, X1 Committing Suicide (Part 11)". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  45. ^ "Rap Jam - Volume One (USA) (En,Fr,Es)". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  46. ^ "Onyx: Cold Getting Dumb (by AllHipHop Staff) [August 22, 2008]". Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  47. ^ "Billboard Magazine - December 25, 1993 - Hot Rap Artists" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  48. ^ "Billboard Magazine - December 25, 1993 - Top Billboard 200 Album Artists" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  49. ^ "Billboard Magazine - December 25, 1993 - Top R&B Album Artists" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  50. ^ "Billboard Magazine - December 25, 1993 - Hot 100 Singles Artists" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  51. ^ "Cashbox Magazine - December 31, 1993 - Top New Groups" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-18.

External linksEdit