|"Throw Ya Gunz"|
|Single by Onyx|
|from the album Bacdafucup|
|B-side||"Blac Vagina Finda"|
|Released||November 27, 1992|
|Studio||Apollo Studios (NYC)|
|Genre||hardcore rap, gangsta rap, East Coast hip hop|
|Label|| JMJ Records |
Rush Associated Labels
|Songwriter(s)|| Fred Scruggs |
|Onyx singles chronology|
"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. 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.
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 .
The original version, "Wake Up Dead, Nigga," featured obscure New York rapper Tek-9, and was not released on any of Onyx's studio albums. Tek-9 rapped the opening verse and Jamaican hook on the second demo version. Eventually, the tune appeared on 1993's Bacdafucup, where it was one of eight cuts recorded in the studio at NYC's legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem.
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!
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.
In November 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:
"...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".
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.
The song also played on The Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Show before the single was officially released.
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.
The music video was Diane Martel's directorial debut,and was chosen by Method Man and Redman as their #1 favorite rap video of all time. The video was shot in South Jamaica, Queens, NYC. Russell Simmons was the first rap CEO to appear in his artist's video. Real guns, including Tec-9s and Mac-10s provided by Jam Master Jay, were used. 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. Sticky Fingaz came up with idea to use Plexiglas during filming the video. The video was premiered on The BOX in December 1992.
In a 1993 interview with Hip-Hop Connection, Sonny Seeza told how difficult it was to act in this video:
"...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 DVD Onyx: 15 Years Of Videos, History And Violence and on 2009's Def Jam's DVD Def Jam 25: VJ Bring That Video Back.
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.
Fredro Starr knew the song would be successful:
"...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 a 1993 NBC News interview on gangsta rap, Russell Simmons quoted the Sticky Fingaz's lines from "Throw Ya Gunz," stating, 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 recalled 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".
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:
"...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 has been sampled by more than 50 rap artists, including Jeru The Damaja, Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Vinnie Paz and A$AP Mob.
The song is featured in Forest Whitaker's award-winning 1993 HBO drama Strapped and in a 2003 video game Def Jam Vendetta .
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.In 2003, The Source Magazine placed the song in their list Top 151 Rap Songs of All-Time. In 2008, Time Out's editors put the song in their book 1000 Songs to Change Your Life. In 2010, Robert Dimery included the song in his book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download. In 2010, Complex put the video on the song in their list The Biggest Arsenals in Rap Videos. In 2011, XXL placed the song in their list Top 250 Rap Songs of the '90s. In 2016, XXL put the song in their list 50 Violent Rap Lyrics That Will Make You Cringe.
|Ego Trip||United States||Hip Hop's 40 Greatest Singles by Year 1980-98||1999||8|
|The Source Magazine||Top 151 Rap Songs of All Time||2003||144|
|Time Out||1000 Songs to Change Your Life||2008||*|
|Robert Dimery||1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download||2010||*|
|XXL||Top 250 Rap Songs of the '90s||2011||51|
|XXL||50 Violent Rap Lyrics That Will Make You Cringe||2016||*|
|US Billboard Hot 100||81|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks (Billboard)||61|
|US Hot Rap Singles (Billboard)||1|
|US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales (Billboard)||24|
|US Radio Rap Singles ( Gavin Report )||11|
|US Gavin Rap Retail Singles ( Gavin Report )||4|
|US Top 30 Rap Singles ( Cashbox )||2|
|UK Top 40||34|
|UK European Hot 100 Singles ( Music & Media )||79|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||196|
Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, formed in 1988 by Fredro Starr, Suavé and the late Big DS. Sticky Fingaz joined the group in 1991.
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.
All We Got Iz Us is the second album by American hip hop group Onyx, released on October 24, 1995 by JMJ Records and Rush Associated Labels. The album was produced by Onyx. The album features guest appearances from rap group All City and rapper from Queens, Panama P.I.
Shut 'Em Down is the third album by American hip hop group Onyx, released on June 2, 1998 by JMJ Records and Def Jam. The album was produced by Keith Horne and Self, with help from DJ Scratch of EPMD, Bud'da and Latief. The album features guest appearances from Onyx's affiliate X1, DMX, a then unknown 50 Cent, Still Livin from Gang Green, All City, Mr. Cheeks, Wu-Tang Clan, N.O.R.E., Big Pun and others.
Bacdafucup: Part II is the fourth album from rap group Onyx, released on July 9, 2002 by Koch Records. The album was produced by Davinci, DR Period, Havoc, Self, Ant Boogie, Co-Stars, Scott Storch. The album features appearances by American rappers X1, Still Livin', Versatile, Platinum Plus, Felisa Marisol.
Fred Lee Scruggs Jr., better known by his stage name Fredro Starr, is an American hardcore rapper, record producer, actor and author, best known as a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx. Fredro Starr was discovered by the late hip hop star Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C. who signed Onyx on his label JMJ Records. Onyx went on to release three top selling albums before Fredro began his solo career. As a part of Onyx, Fredro Starr was nominated as "Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist" on American Music Awards of 1994 and won "Best Rap Album" on 1994 Soul Train Music Awards.
Kirk Jones, better known by his stage name Sticky Fingaz, is an American hardcore rapper, record producer, actor, film director, film editor and writer, best known as a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx.
Black Trash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones is the debut solo studio album by Onyx member Sticky Fingaz, released on May 22, 2001 by Universal Records. Scripted like a movie, the concept album portrays the fictional character Kirk Jones, a felon just released from prison who is now struggling to come to terms with life outside jail.
Tyrone Taylor, better known by his stage name Sonny Seeza who was previously known as both Suavé and Sonsee, is an American hardcore rapper, record producer, DJ, actor, best known as a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx.
JMJ Records is 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 was relaunched in 2017 by Jam Master J'Son, the oldest son of the legendary Jam Master Jay. The label released such artists as The Afros, Fam-Lee, Onyx, Jayo Felony, Suga and 50 Cent. The label closed in 2002 after the murder of its founder only to reopen in 2017 under Jam Master J's oldest son Jam Master J'Son. Throughout the duration of its existence, JMJ Records has released 6 studio albums and about 25 singles.
"React" is a song by American hip hop group Onyx. It was released on June 2, 1998 by JMJ Records, Rush Associated Labels and Def Jam as the third single from Onyx's third album, Shut 'Em Down. The song featured Onyx affiliates X1, Bonifucco and Still Livin' and a then unknown 50 Cent in his first official appearance on a song.
"Slam" is a song by American hip hop group Onyx. It was released on May 11, 1993 by JMJ Records and Rush Associated Labels as the second single from Onyx's debut album, Bacdafucup. The song introduced slamdancing into hip-hop.
"Shifftee" is a song by American hip hop group Onyx. It was released on August 30, 1993 by JMJ Records, Rush Associated Labels and Chaos Recordings as the third single from Onyx's debut album, Bacdafucup. The song was about being grimy and having that echo into a myriad of life situations.
"Live Niguz", also known by its censored title "Live!!!" is a song by American hip hop group Onyx. It was released on July 18, 1995 by Def Jam, Rush Associated Labels and JMJ Records as a single from Def Jam's The Show: The Soundtrack and as the first single from Onyx's second album, All We Got Iz Us.
"The Worst" is a song by American hip hop groups Onyx and Wu-Tang Clan. It was released on December 23, 1997 by Tommy Boy as a single from Tommy Boy Records's Ride and as the first single from Onyx's third album, Shut 'Em Down.
"Shut 'Em Down" is a song by American hip hop group Onyx. It was released on February 3, 1998 by Def Jam and JMJ Records as the second single from Onyx's third album, Shut 'Em Down. The song featured labelmate DMX.
Black Rock is the seventh album from rap group Onyx, released on February 16, 2018 via X-Ray Records. The whole album was produced by 18-year-old Slovenian producer Emiljo Albert Cassagrande. The album features appearances by American rappers Optimus, Skyzoo, R.A. The Rugged Man, Sick Flo, Snak The Ripper and DJ Nelson
The discography of Sticky Fingaz, American hardcore rapper, record producer, actor, film director, film editor and writer, best known as a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx, consists of 2 solo studio albums, 2 compilation albums, 3 soundtrack albums, 13 singles.
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.
Bruce David Sandlin, better known by his stage name X1, was an American rapper best known as a member of New York City-based hip hop group Gang Green and an affiliate of Onyx.