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About Smif-N-Wessun

In an era of mafioso personas and cinematic styles, the duo Smif-N-Wessun perfected a less glamorous strain of New York gangsta rap with a grittier, pared-down sound. Members Tek and Steele, both born in Brooklyn in 1972, first appeared together as guests on Black Moon’s 1993 boom-bap opus Enta Da Stage; their own acclaimed debut, 1995’s Dah Shinin’, builds on that album’s playbook of street threats and muted jazz loops (“Bucktown”), with the addition of winkingly violent rasta affectations (“Sound Bwoy Bureill”). Pressure from the group’s gun manufacturer namesake forced them to release their 1998 follow-up, The Rude Awakening, under the name Cocoa Brovaz. They collaborated for several years with New York’s Rawkus label but wouldn’t release another album until 2005, kicking off a diverse run of records that includes full-length collaborations with Pete Rock (Monumental) and 9th Wonder (The All), as well as 2013 reggae EP Born and Raised, which harkens back to their roots.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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