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Training Daze 

The drills and thrills of Boot Camp Clik

Wednesday, Jul 26 2006
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With raw street tales and creative, sampladelic beats, Boot Camp Clik is to Brooklyn what Wu-Tang Clan is to Staten Island. But if that East Coast hip-hop metaphor doesn't register way out west, suffice it to say that this eight-member supergroup of sorts — comprising Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and Originoo Gun Clappaz — is an indelible influence to the New York hip-hop underground.

After enjoying minor radio/club play and national exposure that peaked around 1995-1996, the collective's momentum appears to have slowed by the late '90s, when urban music as a whole suffered and many major labels shuttered their black music departments. A big blow came when Smith & Wesson (America's classic creator of rifles, handguns, and tactical firearms) told Smif-N-Wessun (Brooklyn's classic creator of songs about rifles, handguns, and tactical firearms) to cease and desist with the similar-sounding moniker. Rappers Tek and Steele later regrouped as the Cocoa Brovaz, but the name didn't really stick.

2006 appears to be the year of the Clik, with a packed release schedule of new, well-received albums that display a renewed sense of drive — particularly from OGC's Sean Price, who is about to drop his second solo album Jesus Price Superstar. Buckshot teams with 9th Wonder from North Carolina's Little Brother, a hotly tipped producer who has also worked with Jay-Z, for the album Chemistry. On songs like "Ain't No Comparison," Buckshot claims his collective's rightful place of influence in East Coast rap. It is a true shame that more people don't recognize that, in his words, trying to be like the Clik is like comparing "a Porsche 911 to an A line [subway]." Meanwhile, the entire Boot Camp Clik joined together for the recently released The Last Stand, making nice with their classic producers Da Beatminerz as well as longtime fans like producers Pete Rock and 9th Wonder. Despite that title, the collective appears to be down for the duration and ready for military action.

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Tamara Palmer

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