Known as one of the most formidable emcees and hardest working men in hip-hop, Buckshot a.k.a. The BDI Thug, is the very definition of the term, “grinding.” His trademark facial expressions and laid back rhymes depict a swagger that few possess. Standing at 5’ 6”, and dubbed the five-star General of the Boot Camp Clik, Buckshot is one of the strongest and most lyrically mellifluous voices in the crew. Co-founding the legendary independent record label, Duck Down with business partner Dru-Ha, the New York native has tagged his mark on the walls of hip-hop music.
Raised in Brownsville, New York, Buckshot a.k.a. Buckshot Shorty, got his first taste of rapping in neighborhood rhyming ciphers. In high school, he befriended 5ft, DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt, who would evolve into the super production team Da Beatminerz.
In 1992, Buckshot, 5ft and DJ Evil Dee, formed the legendary Black Moon. The trio released the smash single, "Who Got Da Props?" in 1993. The track ranked #86 on the Billboard Top 100 charts, landing them to a recording deal with Nervous Records, but more notably became a hip-hop classic. Later that year, Black Moon released their first full-length album, Enta Da Stage. Buckshot’s life-like lyrics and unique deliveries, meshed well with Da Beatminerz's smooth baselines, droned intros and overall dark atmospheric production.
The album featured appearances by Havoc of Mobb Deep, as well as future Boot Camp Clik members, Tek and Steele of Smif N Wessun. The singles, "Who Got Da Props?" and "I Got Cha Opin", gained wide popularity.
During the golden era of hip-hop known to fans as, Dah Shinin' coined by Smif N Wessun’s debut, Enta Da Stage became the sound of the streets. While selling 350,000 copies, it has been hailed as one of the most pivotal and influential hip-hop albums of the mid-90’s.
In conjunction with the phrase, “always be grinding” 1994 was a busy year for Buckshot. Along side of friend Dru-Ha, the two left Nervous Records and formed Duck Down Management. That same year, Buckshot signed and over saw the creation of Smif N’ Wessun’s debut, Dah Shinin', as well as adding Heltah Skeltah (Ruck a.k.a. Sean Price, and Rock) and O.G.C.: Originoo Gunn Clappa (Starang Wondah, Top Dog, and Louieville Sluggah) to Duck Down’s roster. During the summer, Buckshot took part in the collaboration, the Crooklyn Dodgers (Buckshot, Masta Ace and Special Ed), releasing a single by the same name, on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s, Crooklyn.
Officially titled, Duck Down Entaprizez in 1996, Buckshot, Dru-Ha and Smif N Wessun began work with 2Pac on the unreleased album, One Nation. During this time Buckshot was dubbed, "The BDI Thug" by 2Pac.
"There was a Native Indian tribe, Thugla, who were wiped out with the Native Americans" said Buck. "They were the most rebellious tribe, and from that point on any slave who would rebel against the masses was considered a thug. A lot of people are stuck on their present because they don't know about their past. They're yelling thug but don't know about it."
March of 1997 marked a milestone in Duck Down history. The collective of: Buckshot, Smif N Wessun (Tek and Steele), Heltah Skeltah (Ruck a.k.a. Sean Price and Rock), and O.G.C.: Originoo Gunn Clappaz (Starang Wondah, Top Dog and Louieville Sluggah) formed the super group, The Boot Camp Clik. The world of hip-hop would never again be the same. The Clik was fierce, unmatchable in skills and techniques with their debut release, For the People. The album was a different sound heard, opposed to the previously recorded track, "Cession At Da Doghillee", which appeared on Smif N Wessun’s, Dah Shinin'. Perhaps fans were too eager to compare it to Black Moon. Never the less, For the People, contained aggressive rhymes and unique production that made it a diamond in the rough. Creating what is known as the Boot Camp Clik sound, each member’s individual talents and abilities were highlighted, with Buckshot serving as the silver lining. All that listened couldn’t help but intrigued and wonder what next in-store for the BCC. A remix for, “Night Riders” was recorded featuring Aaliyah, but the single was never released, due to conflicts between record labels.
The year, 1999 was complex for Buckshot. Black Moon released their sophomore album, War Zone. It was their first full-length album in over 5 years. Featuring guest appearances from Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, M.O.P., Heather B. and produced by Da Beatminerz, the album sold over 200,000 units. However, later that year Buckshot's solo release, "The BDI Thug", was not as warmly welcomed.
"Niggas love to stomp on your feet when you're going down the ladder, but when they see ice on you they want to pull you up only for your ice and not for you" said Buckshot.
Although it produced the hit-singles, "Breath Control" and “Boom Bye-Bye” fans were on the fence. The experimentation in sound and rhyme scheme had some hailing it as a brilliant work, while others were perplexed by the melodic rhymes and deviation from the traditional “Buckshot Shorty” sound. Regardless, as an artist and as an emcee, Buckshot has never been one to go the conventional route.
For some unknown reason, the summer seems to play an important part in Duck Down Entaprizez’s survival and rejuvenation. In July 2002, the label ended its 2 year search for a new distribution deal, inking a 3 year contract with the top ranked independent company, Koch Distribution. For the first time, Duck Down was in the fore front, entitled and holding ownership of all master recordings, as well as individual responsibility for the label’s marketing and promotion.
With the powerhouse, Koch Distribution backing the label, the Boot Camp Clik stunned the masses with their second full-length album, The Chosen Few. Singles such as, “Welcome To Bucktown USA (feat. Supreme of The Reps & Scratch of The Roots)” and “The Chosen Few: Live For This” contained more uplifting sounds, than heard on previous releases. Perhaps this was due to the production talents of Da Beatminerz, Alchemist and Hi-Tek to name a few. What ever the cause, the album sold over 60,000 copies, making it one of Duck Down’s most successful releases. Following in 2004, Black Moon came back with, Total Eclipse. The album topped off at #47 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Charts and ranked #23 for independent albums.
DJ Evil Dee mentioned to Buckshot a budding young prouder from Raleigh, North Carolina, named 9th Wonder (Little Brother and Justus League). The two collaborated to release, Chemistry, in the summer of 2005. The title itself explained the flowing relationship. Learning from mistakes of the past, Buckshot focused on a simplistic style of rhyming. Compared to the likes of Pete Rock and Large Professor, 9th Wonder’s low-fi, throwback style of production enabled the duo to take a kamikaze-styled approach, knocking out each of the album’s tracks in “One Shot One Kill”.
In an interview with AllHipHop.com, Buckshot explained, “It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t need to be complex. The more complex you make it, the more you will fail at the formula”.
The summer of 2005 also marked the re-emergence of Duck Down label to the public-eye. Chemistry was the leading release of three, for the “Triple Threat Summer” promotion. It also included Sean Price’s, Monkey Barz, and Tek and Steele dropping the Cocoa Brovaz moniker, to once again returning as Smif N Wessun with, Reloaded. In age where gimmicky commercial raps about big booty hoes and large bank rolls reign supreme, the Triple Threat releases, brought new hope to hip-hop fans, assuring them that the classic Duck Down sound had never died, rather thriving stronger than ever.
With no rest for the wicked, Buckshot and the rest of the Boot Camp Clik returned again in the summer of 2006 with The Last Stand. With an all-star cast of producers (Pete Rock, Da Beatminerz, 9th Wonder, Large Professor, Marco Polo, Ill Mind, Coptic, Sic Beats and Ken BB), it was hailed by critics as a force to be reckoned with. It marked the return of the entire Boot Camp Clik, for he first time in several years. In addition, Black Moon released, Alter The Chemistry. Laced with 70’s influenced rhythms and samples it takes a new approach to Buckshot and 9th Wonder’s, Chemistry.
To know what is in store for Buckshot a.k.a. The BDI Thug, is unknown. As the music community has seen, perseverance equals success. Buckshot’s ability to trudge the trenches, has attested the longevity in the world of hip-hop music.
In September 2008, Buckshot was hospitalized after suffering a series of seizures. His partner, Dru-Ha, said he had just returned from a three-week tour through Europe prior to the episodes. He is currently hospitalized and is in stable condition.