Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have both laid claim to “starting this gangsta shit” on different occasions over the years. Okay, so that’s more or less true — at least on the West Coast — but Brooklyn-based Boot Camp Clik might just be the perfect Eastern counterpart to the cats in N.W.A.
The story begins in 1992 with the formation of Black Moon — the group that would release Enta Da Stage only a year later — and takes a winding journey of collaboration to the present day, where we find Boot Camp Clik thriving in the aftermath of two decades of success. “Enta” was greeted with critical acclaim in ‘93, and the record is still considered a milestone of inspiration for some of the East Coast’s fully-burgeoned hardcore rap successes — think Wu Tang and Biggie, to name a couple.
After the assimilation of Black Moon and the duo Smif N Wessun between 1995 and 1997, Boot Camp Clik released its first, highly anticipated LP under the name and started moving out of the New York shadows into a brighter spotlight. I don’t want to sell these ferocious emcees short, though; they stuck to their guns and kept it underground as fuck, releasing a greatest hits in 2000 that basically gave the finger to commercial success and spun like a play list of dingy New York unknowns.
With roots and values as deep as that, it’s pretty easy to imagine the sound that will blast through the doors of WOW Hall on Tuesday. To put it lightly: tough-as-nails gangsta shit, the kind only a crew like this could have started.
Boot Camp Clik plays 9 pm Tuesday, April 3, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door. — Andy Valentine