— At the top of 1995, underground Hip-Hop duo, Smif-N-Wessun, set the tone for Brooklyn, NY’s merciless Hip-Hop scene with their debut album, Dah Shinin’ .
After creating significant buzz with their debut as a featured act on Black Moon’s classic Enta Da Stage album, Smif-N-Wessun was ready to fly on their own. This prompted the duo, individually known as Tek and Steele, to hit the studio from 1993 to 1994 and record the album that became known as Dah Shinin’.
Dah Shinin’ has become very well known partly due to Smif-N-Wessun’s hardcore lyrical content. Tek and Steele, using hints of Jamaican patois, paint vivid pictures of their gun-toting, drug-slinging, weed-blazing shenanigans in ways that make it difficult to question their authenticity. From home invasions to cyphers on the block, Smif-N-Wessun covered it all. Still though, behind the abrasive lyrics, you can hear the story of two true Brooklyn natives as they hustle their way to the top in a particularly hostile environment.
In regards to the phenomenal production of Dah Shinin’, the inventive Bushwick-based team of producers known as Da Beatminerz are the heroes. While Smif-N-Wessun absolutely delivered lyrically, Dah Shinin’ was packed with gritty and ominous instrumentals that flawlessly matched Smif-N-Wessun’s vigorous style. Da Beatminerz, consisting of DJ Evil Dee, Mr. Walt, Rich Blak, and DJ Paul were able to achieve this sound using deep, smooth basslines and refined jazz samples.
Smif-N-Wessun also got help from a number of other notable underground artists, many of which were frequent collaborators. In fact, Da Shinin’ was the official launching pad for the legendary Hip-Hop supergroup known as the Boot Camp Clik which included its leader, Buckshot, and groups, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C. (Originoo Gunn Clappaz). Various members of BCC such as Top Dog, Buckshot, Rock, and Starang Wondah appear on a few tracks including “Wontime”, “Sound Bwoy Bureill”, “Next Shit”, “Home Sweet Home”, and “Let’s Git It On”. However, the entire Boot Camp Clik can be heard on the crew cut, “Cession at Da Doghillee”.
With 300,000 copies sold and a peak of #5 and #29 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums and Billboard 200 charts respectively, Dah Shinin’ didn’t receive immense commercial success. This is largely due to being overshadowed by recent releases from artists like Notorious B.I.G, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas. However, Dah Shinin’ is widely recognized as a hip-hop classic. It has even been recognized as THE quintessential Brooklyn album—even beating out B.I.G and Jay Z for that title. As blasphemous as that may sound, if you ask many BK natives they would tell you themselves, that Dah Shinin’s production, dialogue, and overall vibe matched that of the borough at the time. The opening track, “Timz N Hood Check” is a perfect example of just that.
Enjoy the full album and music videos above and don’t be afraid to delve into more music from the entire Boot Camp Clik. You won’t be disappointed.
Written by DJ Robinson