BACK TO THE FUTURE: At Harpers Ferry, 5-foot, Evil Dee, and Buckshot will front a live band through Black Moon’s entire 1993 classic, Enta da Stage.
Hide your naughty daughters and aspiring MC sons: Brooklyn’s Duck Down is that kingly retrofitted, incomparably propped hip-hop label that all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to fuck with.
The jovially unique Sean Price — both as solo artist and alongside Rock as half of Heltah Skeltah — is the underground artist most likely to guest-appear on other rappers’ tracks. Tek and Steele — a/k/a Smif-N-Wessun — are go-to Brooklyn rebels with whom everyone from Talib Kweli to Raekwon is looking to rip. And Buckshot — who fronts the posse’s flagship act, Black Moon — recently recorded two joint ventures with the internationally heralded beat machine 9th Wonder and has another album in the oven with KRS-One.
After nearly two decades in a game that went from hardly facilitating inter-genre, inter-region, or even inter-crew collabos to downright sponsoring hideous style orgies (like that Tim-McGraw-and-Nelly tango), it’s only right that street-rap icons like Buckshot get to flip scripts the way he will this Saturday at Harpers Ferry. Along with his Black Moon comrades Evil Dee and 5-foot, Buck will front a live band through his entire 1993 classic, Enta da Stage.
“A lot of people think they know and understand Buckshot, but they don’t,” says Buck, who’s not so happy with my insinuating that guitars and drums are foreign objects. “This is the music I grew up with — and I grew up in a family of musicians. My birth given name [Kenyatta] means musician; music was always a part of my life.”
Although Buckshot only recently adopted a back-up band, he’s been thinking outside the hip-hop envelope for years. In 1996 — at the nexus of East Coast/West Coast hostility — he began work with Tupac on the elusive One Nation project, which for obvious reasons never came to fruition. But beyond his own hustle, Buck has branched out as the co-owner of Duck Down Records, and the raw, clothesline-your-momma rhymes for which Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun are renowned aren’t the only hip-hop g-spots the label has fingered. “We’re one of the most unseen forces in this business,” he says, reminding me that in the past two years Duck Down has signed campus-friendly hipster-hop duo Kidz in the Hall, Cypress Hill frontman B-real, and Boston power trio Special Teamz. “It’s never been about Buckshot — it’s been about bringing other groups out from under me.”
Still, I have to ask Buck why an evening of underground memories is of any interest to anyone but aging rap nerds and the folks who read their columns. Now that Duck Down is entering the next plateau of corner-friendly hip-hop (as recent Heltah Skeltah shows brimming with a new generation of misguided blunt rollers attest), one has to wonder how many back-in-the-day junkies are still around to care whether, say, Havoc from Mobb Deep shows to do his verse from “U da Man” (the way he did in New York).
“I wasn’t there when Bob Marley was on stage and doing his thing, but I still love his music,” says Buck, who I assume is comparing Black Moon to Bob Marley, which is fine with me. “Music is the language of the universe, and great music will never die out. That much, I know, will never change in the course of history.”
BLACK MOON + SMIF-N-WESSUN | Harpers Ferry, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston | April 18 at 9 pm | $23 | 617.254.9743 or www.harpersferryboston.com