After nearly a three year hiatus between albums, the follow-up to Onyx’ critically acclaimed debut “Bacdafucup”, “All We Got Iz Us” was yet another foray into the dark and sometimes psychotic overtones that exemplified their lifestyle within the U.S.G. (United States Ghettos). However, unlike their debut album “All We Got..” was an extremely dark album, filled with an overabundance of uncontrolled rage that when released produced some amazing results if you loved the grimy New York feel of the mid-nineties. “All We Got..” served as the perfect soundtrack for dark, smoke-filled streets and alleyways found in the grimiest settings in New York. A sound that was fueled by sparse, murky production and the ticking time-bomb deliveries of Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr.
“All We Got…” was more of what we would grow to expect from a follow up to “Bacdafucup”: more pain, anguish, gun play and violence. However, in between their bouts with depression and frustration, Onyx managed to let us know “why U maad son?”. It all began with the phenomenal opener “Last Dayz”, a track which Eminem made even more popular with it’s usage in his film, “8 Mile”. “Last Dayz” dealt with the confusion and corruption of the ghetto’s ills over a dusty track that was hard as nails, yet very soulful. Close your eyes, one may even mistake “Last Dayz” for a Beatminerz production….however, this classic was done “in house” by none other than Fredro Starr. Following the same pattern as the aforementioned “Last Dayz”, “Most Def” is also sure to put a kink in your neck despite the somewhat lame and uninspired hook (by Onyx standards, that is). Backed by a sick track and flowing melody, laced with extra crisp drums “Most Def” was the icing on the cake when matched with the crew’s razor sharp lyrics.
Even though the majority of the album is packed with straight heat-rocks, it’s not to say that it didn’t contain a few minor missteps the first being “Shout”. Quite honestly, “Shout” may have found itself amongst better company had it appeared on an album that dropped nearly two years later, Onyx’ “Shut Em’ Down”. Make no bones about it, the track did have a solid beat…but again, the hook was fairly corny and boring when compared to trendsetters like “Throw Ya’ Gunz” and “Slam”. Of course, there’s also “All We Got” which isn’t that terribly bad, but again, it’s the chorus maaan!! It may even have been a case of the standout tracks being so superb that it did tend to make some of the weaker representatives that much more noticeable. “All We Got Iz Us” still shined due to the direction of the neck-snapping, bone-rattling production despite these minor flaws.
Lyrically, Sticky Fingaz and Fredro were on top of their game with this opus. While Sticky did indeed play the ringmaster, it’s not to say that he didn’t have ample backing form Fredro and Suave. Even this time around, the yelling and screaming slightly diminished but their trademark gravely, strained voices didn’t. That element, along with tracks that contained waaay more substance than those featured on their debut, truly demonstrated the group’s level of maturity and continued ability to separate themselves from the rest of those “HAARDCORE ACTS”.