Sticky Fingaz (Onyx) As one of the members of the legendary hip-hip group ONYX, Sticky Fingaz has helped pave the way for hip-hop/rock with the smash single “Slam”. Besides working with people like Jam Master Jay and introducing 50 Cent to the hip-hop game, Onyx still has one of the most recognizable sounds out today. Check out this interview as Sticky talks about the new album, working with Jam Master jay, and everything you need to know about Onyx!
interview by William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the new album? STICKY FINGAZ: It’s a lot of albums. First let me tell you about this. We’re going to start from the beginning. We just released this Onyx documentary. It’s called “15 years of Videos, History, and Violence”. It came out last month. The easiest way to get it is go to onyxdomain.com. The second album that’s coming out is called “The Cold Case Files”. Basically, it’s a collaboration of a lot of unreleased material that we just gathered up through the years. On this first volume, we’re just going to put sixteen songs and the next thing that’s coming is the Sticky Fingaz solo album which is called Stickyfingaz.com. That will be out in a month. We already shot the video for the single called “Debo the Game”. It’ll be available via Itunes in 3 weeks. Then in January, we’re dropping the “Black Rock” album which is basically a hybrid album and that’s where we’re at to date.
WHO?MAG: How did you get all those unreleased material? STICKY FINGAZ: You know what it was? Fredro’s [Star] little brother Hussein. He’s the biggest Onyx fan on the planet. He used to go to studio session and he used to always want to leave with a copy of the song. Back in the days we had cassettes. There were no CDs and things of that nature. All those tracks came from the cassette tapes and DAT tapes. On the DAT tapes, the quality is real good like analog. We had everything digitally remastered, so it sounds great. Hussein had the whole catalog and it was so crazy. On a few songs we were like, “holly sh*t! I remember this song!” I think people are going to really enjoy it, especially the true Onyx fans. And if we got some new fans from this along the way, that’s good too.
WHO?MAG: How did you guys hook up with Koch? STICKY FINGAZ: Fredro is the best person to answer this question because Fredro made Koch what it is today because before anybody heard about Koch, Fredro had a deal with them. After that, everybody else wanted to go to Koch. He had the deal when they first started. How did we hook up with them? We sort of created them.
WHO?MAG: Can you talk about your solo album? STICKY FINGAZ: Basically it’s called Stickyfingaz.com and the song I’m releasing states the whole mood of the album. It’s called “Debo the Game”. Everybody knows who Debo is and that’s what I’m about to do to the game.
WHO?MAG: Talk about the new single you have with Method Man? STICKY FINGAZ: It was for the Cold Case album. It’s basically a song we did a while ago that was never released. We remixed, but it was never commercially released. That song is a banger. It’s timeless.
WHO?MAG: How did Onyx come together? STICKY FINGAZ: Onyx was together before Sticky Fingaz got in the group. It was Fredro, Big DS, and Sonsee which his name was Suave at the time. They had a single out called “Ah How We do it Like This” on Profile records. They weren’t happy with the record label so the got off it. They started shopping for another deal. They came across Jam Master Jay and his JMJ label. He was feeling the Onyx stuff, but he wanted to hear some more material. At the time Big DS and Sonsee got stranded in Connecticut. Our manager at the time told Fredro “You and your cousin Sticky go to the studio and make something. We have to give [Jam Master] Jay some more music before we loose this deal.” We went to the studio and made a few songs, but only one song was the one that really stuck which was “Stick and Move”. Of all the songs we gave Jay, that was the one that made the album. When it came time to sign the group, he was like “Hold up! Where’s the guy with the deep voice?” I wasn’t even in the group. I was just doing them a favor and how I got abducted into Onyx. That was how Onyx became the Mad Face on the Baccdafuccup album.
WHO?MAG: How did the first single “Throw your Gunz” come about? STICKY FINGAZ: We just sat in the studio with Jam Master Jay and Chyskillz. We just drilled it man. Sometimes you pull inspiration from the sky or sometimes it something you created. It wasn’t fake. We sat there and made that song what it’s supposed to be. The same thing with “Slam”. We did “Throw your Gunz” which was a hit, but we needed something more commercial to follow up with some radio play. We were in the studio for a week and half perfecting the song “Slam” to really come up with it and make a commercial follow up. That’s still street and hood. That’s what led the movement right there.
WHO?MAG: Did you ever think “Slam” was going to be as big as it was? STICKY FINGAZ: (sighs) Nah I didn’t man. I was just a young dude from the hood that used to rap and I was nicer than everybody on the planet. I didn’t think “Slam” was going to sell 2 million records and we would go to the show and 90% of the audience would be white. They would be slam dancing. I wouldn’t think that, but that’s what happened.
WHO?MAG: How did you guys hook up with Biohazard for the remix? STICKY FINGAZ:The president of Def Jam at the time Lyor Cohen was like “Slam is real big, but I think you guys can do it even bigger than what Run DMC did if you hook up these guys Biohazard and do a rock and roll version.” We were anti at first, “Nah we’re on that hood sh*t homie. We don’t want to do no rock and roll.” We listened to him and it worked. It was a good idea. Biohazard is not your regular rock group. They’re hard. They’re like the white Onyx.
WHO?MAG: How did 50 Cent get on the song React with you guys? STICKY FINGAZ: 50 were signed to Jam’s label so Jam Master Jay would bring 50 to the studio. He was like “put young dude on record!” 50 had some skills so that wasn’t a problem. He hung around our crew a lot so it was nothing, except it was on the strength of Jam Master Jay.
WHO?MAG: Speaking of Jam Master Jay, what do you remember most about him being with you in the studio? STICKY FINGAZ: Fun, fun, and more fun. If you get the new documentary you can see a lot of our interactions with Jam Master Jay in the studio on that documentary.
WHO?MAG: You guys are involved in the Jam Master Jay movie “Two Turntables and a Mick”. Can you talk about that? STICKY FINGAZ: Jam Master Jay’s cousin Fonz is the one that produced and directed it. Actually, Fredro Starr is an executive producer of the movie because after Jay died, Fonz went to LA and was staying with Fredro. Fonz was like “I got to find a way for Jam Master Jay to live on”. Him and Fredro went on this trek to work on that movie and it turned into reality. It’s a major headstone in the life of Jam Master Jay. People need to see and go out and get it and it’ll be available shortly. It’s a big step for not just Jam Master Jay and his family, but for hip-hop.
WHO?MAG: What happened to Chyskillz? STICKY FINGAZ:He’s still around. He’s in New York doing beats right now. He probably has some beats for the new Onyx album.
WHO?MAG: Which is your favorite Onyx album and why? STICKY FINGAZ: Shut ‘Em Down because it’s the illest.
WHO?MAG: Why did you guys leave Def Jam after that album? STICKY FINGAZ: Because they didn’t want to give us no f*cking money.
WHO?MAG: How did the song “The Worst” with Wu Tang Clan come about? STICKY FINGAZ: We’ve been on tour with Wu Tang a million times. It was a no brainer. We were doing that movie “Ride” and they wanted us to do a song for it. They asked if we could do it with somebody. We said alright we’ll pick Wu Tang. We did it with them and it was poppin. Diane Martel directed the video. Yeah, it was a great video. They don’t make them like that anymore. There was a lot of action in it. It was like a mini movie.
WHO?MAG: How did you get into acting? STICKY FINGAZ:There was an open call audition for a Spike Lee movie. The line was around the block. I was like “I’m not waiting in line! Forget the whole line”. We were Onyx at the time and we had “Throw your Gunz” out. Ain’t nobody say nothing. I went in there blew the room up and got the part. I just kept doing it. Years later, I moved to LA and kept going at even harder. It’s not like we put out an album and they grabbed us and used in a movie. It kind of happened simultaneously. I put my first album in ’93 then I did my first movie in ’94; almost simultaneously.
WHO?MAG: What do you prefer more acting or rapping? STICKY FINGAZ:You know what? I can’t pick between the two. I wrote, produced, directed, and stared in my own movie called “A Day in the Life”. The whole movie is in rap, but it’s not rappers. It’s a bunch of A-list actors like Omar Epps, Michael Rappaport, Mekhi Pfeifer, Faison Love, Clarence Williams III, Fredro Starr, and a bunch of other actors. It’s crazy. It’s coming out through my production company Major Independents and Lion Gates films. It should be out in November or December.