BLACK MOON with MATHEMATIK at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Friday (March 19), 9 pm doors. $24.50. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
New York City's respected rap set Black Moon give up bitter funk, heavy breaks and brutal honesty from a thug's point of view. So it's fitting that I'm talking to Black Moon's Buckshot on March 9, the same day, seven years prior, that the Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in Los Angeles.
Driving through Brooklyn, birthplace of Biggie, 2pac and Black Moon, Buck discusses the incident and his connection to it over his cell.
"I was in Brooklyn when that shit jumped off," he reminisces. "My man called me, and I was, like, -Word?' I ain't believe it. But then I found out the shit was true."
Apparently, it wasn't all good between Buckshot's crew, Boot Camp Clik (including charter members Cocoa Brovaz, Heltah Skeltah and OGC) and Notorious before he died.
"It's not rocket science. My people did some shit in the video, projecting Biggie Smalls getting thrown off the stage, and it was taken real, real hard. I didn't take it serious, but Big obviously did and sent people, and from there it was on and crackin'."
Black Moon's chances of straightening things out with Biggie were dashed forever with the legendary rapper's murder.
"It's something that's died with us. It died with the nigga death," he says.
But let it not be construed that being on a bad footing with Biggie had anything to do with Buckshot's strong connection to 2pac.
"There was probably a very few people who knew that we had beef with Biggie and felt that the disagreement had something to do with the fact that we was with 2Pac," Buck says. "It wasn't. 2Pac never even knew of the beef that we had with Big."
The union between 2Pac and Boot Camp began naturally.
"When Pac was locked up, a lot of niggas in New York was frontin' on Pac," explains Buck. "But niggas like Tek and Steele (of Cocoa Brovaz) showed 2Pac love. So when he got out of jail, the first thing 2Pac did was holla at Tek and Steele.
"And when he called them, I got on the phone and we just started kickin' it for a minute. It was instant. He was like -Yo, what y'all niggaz doin' tomorrow, son?' I'm, like, -I ain't doin' shit.' Pac was, like, -Yo, can you come out to L.A.?' I go, -Nigga, I'm out there tomorrow,' and we out.
"The minute the plane land, we go straight to the studio.
"After that, 2Pac was like, -Man, there's no way in hell I would have y'all niggas staying anywhere else beside with me. Y'all niggas come to my crib. I want you to meet my moms. I want you to meet my family. '"
Black Moon, including Buckshot, 5Ft and dj Evil Dee, have been getting people open since 93, when they dropped Enta Da Stage and sent the sound of gutter banging through the underground.
Released in 2003, Black Moon's newest record, Total Eclipse, is a dark statement of the group's gritty consistency. Buckshot's calm but menacing tone overmatching Beatminers-produced beats rekindles an atmosphere sorely missing from their 96 effort, War Zone.
Years before Total Eclipse, Buck and 2pac cut an album called One Nation. But the record has yet to see daylight, likely because of the nine-year racketeering sentence slapped on Death Row CEO Suge Knight in 1996 and the label's subsequent collapse. According to Buckshot, One Nation is finally on its way, though.
"Everybody just got they shit together, so the album is coming out," says Buckshot. "Death Row just gave us the go-ahead and said, -OK, whatever y'all wanna do. '"