Throw Ya Gunz

Last updated
"Throw Ya Gunz"
Throw Ya Gunz.jpg
Single by Onyx
from the album Bacdafucup
B-side "Blac Vagina Finda"
ReleasedNovember 27, 1992
Format 12" single, CD single, cassette, airplay
Recorded1992
Studio Apollo Studios (NYC)
Genre hardcore rap, gangsta rap, East Coast hip hop
Length3:16
Label JMJ Records
Rush Associated Labels
Chaos Recordings
Songwriter(s) Fred Scruggs
Kirk Jones
Tyrone Taylor
Chylow Parker
Producer(s) Chylow Parker
Onyx singles chronology
"Ah, And We Do It Like This"
(1990)
"Throw Ya Gunz"
(1992)
"Slam"
(1993)
Music video
"Throw Ya Gunz" on YouTube

"Throw Ya Gunz" is the first single by American hip hop group Onyx from their debut album, Bacdafucup . It was released on November 27, 1992 by JMJ Records, Rush Associated Labels and Chaos Recordings. The song signifies the Jamaican tradition of a gun salute as a show of respect to the men on the mic.

Onyx (hip hop group) hardcore hip hop group from New York, United States

Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, consisting of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz. Founded in 1988 by Starr, Sonny Seeza, and the late Big DS, the group has released seven studio albums in the US, one collaborative album, and one EP. Eight of the group's singles have been in the top ten of the Billboard charts, with the group's debut album, Bacdafucup, having been certified as platinum.

<i>Bacdafucup</i> 1993 studio album by Onyx

Bacdafucup is the debut album by American hip hop group Onyx, released on March 30, 1993 by JMJ Records, Rush Associated Labels and Chaos Recordings. The album was produced by Chyskillz, Jam Master Jay and Kool Tee.

JMJ Records American record label which was founded in 1989 by Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay from Run-D.M.C.. The label released such artists as The Afros, Fam-Lee, Onyx, Jayo Felony, Suga and 50 Cent.

JMJ Records was an American record label which was founded in 1989 by Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay from Run-D.M.C.. The label released such artists as The Afros, Fam-Lee, Onyx, Jayo Felony, Suga and 50 Cent. The label folded in 2002 after the murder of its founder. For 13 years of its existence, JMJ Records has released 6 studio albums and about 25 singles. JMJ Records is currently run by Jam Master J'Son, the oldest son of the legendary Jam Master Jay.

Contents

Produced by Chylow Parker, "Throw Ya Gunz" was a success and made it to four Billboard charts, including #1 on the Hot Rap Singles for two weeks. The song achieved even greater success in the UK, where it peaked at #34 on the UK Top 40 in 1993.

Chyskillz American record producer, beatmaker, DJ, rapper

Chylow Parker, known by the stage name Chyskillz, was an American record producer, beatmaker, DJ, hardcore rapper, and a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The song was used as a promo for the 18th season of the American animated sitcom South Park. The song was sampled by more than 50 rap artists including Jeru The Damaja, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Vinnie Paz and A$AP Mob. "Throw Ya Gunz" is featured in a 1993 Forest Whitaker's award-winning HBO drama Strapped and in a 2003 video game Def Jam Vendetta .

<i>South Park</i> (season 18) season of television series

The eighteenth season of the American animated sitcom South Park premiered on Comedy Central on September 24, 2014 with "Go Fund Yourself", and ended with "#HappyHolograms" on December 10, 2014, with a total of ten episodes. The season featured serial elements and recurring story lines, which The A.V. Club noted as an experimentation with episode-to-episode continuity, in which the episodes "explore the consequences of the boys' actions [week to week], allowing the plots to be motivated in part by their attempts to dig themselves out of a hole".

An animated sitcom is a subgenre of the sitcom that is animated rather than live action.

The Notorious B.I.G. American rapper

Christopher George Latore Wallace, known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Original version

The original version was not available on any of Onyx's studio albums. It was recorded featuring a little-known New York's rapper Tek-9 and was called "Wake Up Dead, Nigga". Tek-9 had the opening verse and some hook on Jamaican on the second demo version.

The song was recorded in the studio of NYC's legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, as well as seven other songs from Bacdafucup .

Apollo Theater United States historic place

The Apollo Theater is a music hall located at 253 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. It is a noted venue for African-American performers, and is the home of Showtime at the Apollo, a nationally syndicated television variety show which showcased new talent, from 1987 to 2008, encompassing 1,093 episodes; the show was rebooted in 2018.

Lyrical content and message

The song signifies the Jamaican tradition of a gun salute as a show of respect to the men on the mic. Def Jam/RAL director of A&R Traci Waples says, "The phrase isn't about violence; it's a way to salute hip-hop". (from Billboard magazine - May 15, 1993)

In 1995, in an interview on BET's Teen Summit Sticky Fingaz explains the meaning of this song: "Throw Ya Gunz" is a salute to hip hop. Just like in the army. Because this is war out there. So we are army. We got a 21-gun salute to all the people who is dead. It's not about pro-violence. I'm not saying throw your guns and shoot the next brother, i'm saying throw your guns in the air. They think a gun is a violent instrument, which is not. Guns don't kill people! People kill people!

Black Entertainment Television (BET) is an American pay television channel that is part of the BET Networks division of Viacom Media Networks, a unit of Viacom. It is the most prominent television network targeting African American audiences, with approximately 88,255,000 American households receiving the channel. The channel has offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Teen Summit is an American talk show for youth that aired on Black Entertainment Television (BET) from September 16, 1989 to August 31, 2002. In recent years it has returned as a very occasional special to the network's schedule.

Despite the fact that the song is dark, the music is jazz-based. The foundation of the song is the oft-used Bob James, not to mention the frequent horn stabs. But the album would turn that jazz sound on its head. [1]

Radio

In November of 1992, the single was delivered to radio, and although it was getting played, program directors "were complaining" about the profanity and violence in the lyrics. Julie Greenwald, Lyor Cohen's assistant, remembers that time: [2]

"...Nobody wanted to play [the video], but the places it did get played, it was so reactive, and so potent. We circumvented it with the vinyl out on the streets and with the video at the local video outlets, and we got such major response off that, and we knew that we were developing something so cool."

Hip hop editor Dart Adams wrote an article about Onyx, where he remembered the first appearance of a song in radio rotation: "Throw Ya Gunz" spread like wildfire on the airwaves, starting on college Rap shows then to mixshows and regular rotation on the major radio stations. The video went from being played just on "Rap City" to playing on almost all of the BET video shows except for "Video Soul". As the song got more popular, a backlash occurred coinciding with when it finally was released commercially in late November 1992. Due to pressure from parents groups and others still reeling from the recent Warner Bros./Cop Killer Controversy & the L.A. Riots that happened the previous Spring, BET opted to blur out the guns in "Throw Ya Gunz". [3]

Funkmaster Flex was one of the first djs who played "Throw Ya Gunz" on his show Friday Night Street Jam on the radio Hot 97. Especially for this show, Onyx recorded a promo jingle for the radio. [4] [5]

The song also played on The Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Show before the single was officially released. [6]

WPGC-FM (95.5), Washington's top-rated radio station, rejected Onyx's hit single "Throw Ya Guns in the Air" and no longer plays songs that could be construed as advocating violence. [7]

Music video

The music video was Diane Martel's directorial debut, [8] and was chosen by Method Man and Redman as their #1 favorite rap video of all time. [9] [10] The video was shot in South Jamaica, Queens, NYC. Russell Simmons was the first rap CEO to appear in his artist's video. In the video shooting were used a real guns, which Jam Master Jay brought to the shooting: Tec-9's, Mac-10's and other guns. The music video begins with a group of people running on the beach. Onyx performs on the beach and in a darkened room. A large group of people dance with the song. [11] Sticky Fingaz came up with idea to use Plexiglas during filming the video. The video was premiered on The BOX on December, 1992. [12]

In 1993, in an interview with the magazine Hip-Hop Connection, Sonny Seeza told how difficult it was to act in this video: [13] [14]

"...When we were doing the video for "Throw Ya Gunz" it was a real cold New York night of about 30 degrees (30 °F = -1 °C), explains Suave, but everybody still came out to represent. At the end of the night it was freezing so we all just started slamming. It turned into one big slam - the adrenaline built up, the warmth built up and the love built up. And that’s why the next song we brought out was "Slam".

The video can be found on the 2008's DVD Onyx: 15 Years Of Videos, History And Violence and on the 2009's Def Jam's DVD Def Jam 25: VJ Bring That Video Back.

Appearances

On April 25, 1994 Onyx was nominated for five awards on The Source's "1st annual Source Awards" at the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden, but the group walked out of the building without nothing. Therefore, during performing the song "Throw Ya Gunz", Sticky Fingaz shot it up literally on stage. After this show security guards rushed him, looking for a gun, that they would never find. Incident was captured on the amateur camera. It was non-televised, but "Yo! MTV Raps" and "Video Explosion" was there and showed some excerpts on TV.

Onyx performed the song live on the UK TV-show "The Word" aired on November 19, 1993.

"Throw Ya Gunz" was performed live on the Def Jam Recordings 30th Anniversary Concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on October 16, 2014.

The song was performed live on the concert Yo! MTV Raps: 30th Anniversary Experience at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on June 1, 2018.

Legacy

Fredro Starr knew that the song will be successful: [15]

"...With that beat on "Throw Ya Gunz", I knew it was going to be a serious record. I knew it would be big, a hip-hop anthem, because that's what we made it for. We planned it out. It was for the streets, it was energetic, and it was grimy. That single went gold, so Def Jam was very happy about that."

In 1993, in an interview for NBC News about gangsta rap, Russell Simmons quotes the Sticky Fingaz's lines from "Throw Ya Gunz": The fact that there's a lot of gangster records right now, there's a lot of voices from people who had no voice before. Sticky Fingaz said 'I hate your guts and I hope you die, my name is Sticky Fingaz my life is a lie'. I want you to feel it in your chest, i want you understand he is a third generation forty projects, he's dead man. Maybe if they do jobs there, they wouldn't be an angry, but in the meantime he might rob you, that's a reality that white Americans has to live with, that's a reality that kids and boys just beginning to understand.

In 2010, Fat Joe share the story about how he first heard the Onyx's song "Throw Ya Gunz" in Club 2000 in Harlem, NYC, saying "it was one of the most classic hip-hop events I've ever been to". [16]

The song was used as a promo for the 18th season of the American animated sitcom South Park. A visionary creative director Robert Sosin told why he chose this song: [17]

"...For the South Park campaign of 2014, we wanted a clear simple message to get people to tune in and a visual theme that could unite creative across many platforms. The message I came up was HEADS UP and the image was the iconic South Park heads. For this promo spot we used 298 different heads from South Park and licensed Onyx's track "Throw Ya Gunz", and then designer Brandon Campbell was able to take my direction of "Think fallen leaves on top of a speaker, rippling as they are moved by the bass waves" and turn it into this club banger."

The song was sampled by more than 50 rap artists including Jeru The Damaja, Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Vinnie Paz and A$AP Mob. [18]

The song is featured in a 1993 Forest Whitaker's award-winning HBO drama Strapped and in a 2003 video game Def Jam Vendetta . [19]

Accolades

In 1999, Ego Trip's editors ranked the song in their list Hip Hop's 40 Greatest Singles by Year 1993 in Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. [20] In 2003, The Source Magazine placed the song in their list Top 151 Rap Songs of All-Time. [21] In 2008, Time Out's editors put the song in their book 1000 Songs to Change Your Life. [22] In 2010, Robert Dimery included the song in his book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download. [23] In 2010, Complex put the video on the song in their list The Biggest Arsenals in Rap Videos. [24] In 2011, XXL placed the song in their list Top 250 Rap Songs of the '90s. [25] In 2016, XXL put the song in their list 50 Violent Rap Lyrics That Will Make You Cringe. [26]

PublicationCountryAccoladeYearRank
Ego Trip United States Hip Hop's 40 Greatest Singles by Year 1980-9819998
The Source Magazine Top 151 Rap Songs of All Time2003144
Time Out 1000 Songs to Change Your Life2008*
Robert Dimery1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download2010*
XXL Top 250 Rap Songs of the '90s201151
XXL 50 Violent Rap Lyrics That Will Make You Cringe2016*

Single track listing

A-Side

  1. "Throw Ya Gunz" (Radio Version) - 3:17
  2. "Throw Ya Gunz" (LP Version) - 3:14
  3. "Throw Ya Gunz" (Instrumental) - 3:17

B-Side

  1. "Blac Vagina Finda" (LP Version) - 3:13
  2. "Blac Vagina Finda" (Instrumental) - 3:10

Personnel

Charts

Weekly charts

Chart (1993)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100 [28] 81
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks (Billboard) [29] 61
US Hot Rap Singles (Billboard) [30] 1
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales (Billboard) [31] 24
US Radio Rap Singles ( Gavin Report ) [32] 11
US Gavin Rap Retail Singles ( Gavin Report ) [33] 4
US Top 30 Rap Singles ( Cashbox ) [34] 2
UK Top 40 [35] 34
UK European Hot 100 Singles ( Music & Media ) [36] 79

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