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Smif –N- Wessun

Words: Johnny "Jbutters" Mann; Photography: Adam Amengual

Remember when Prince changed his name to those two squiggly lines and everybody was like what the hell is going on? Well, that’s what happened to Tek and Steele…. Okay maybe that’s not EXACTLY how it went down but work with me on this one. In 1995 we saw the second wave of troops emerge from the Boot Camp Clique as Smif -N- Wessun became synonymous with Bucktown, Tim boots stomping and ganja toking. Their debut, Dah Shinin, is heralded as a hiphop classic that takes you on a trip to the gritty Brooklyn streets introducing the likes of O.G.C. and Heltah Skeltah along the way. Fast forward a couple years later and the group gets a new deal, a new label, and a crisp new lawsuit courtesy of everyone’s favorite gun company over a little trademark infringement. They drop the name to avoid a suit, resurfacing under the moniker of Cocoa Brovaz, only to be met with more problems. Some fans thought Cocoa Brovaz was a different group, while others just didn’t vibe with the new name. Even though the music was still strong, something was missing. Within that name was the essence of the group and it was stripped away. Couple that with a lackluster marketing campaign and some bad press and you have a formidable crew forced into the background. Now after a two year bid on the Rawkus shelves they return, to restore their name and solidify the legacy of Smif N Wessun.

“For the record because we ain’t signed to no label right now we running with [Smif –N- Wessun],” Steele declares proudly. “When the album comes out we’ll go with Smif N Wess. We’re gonna retire Cocoa Brovaz. That’s one of the major things that had people fucked up. We already had that name because we were the niggas who supplied Black Moon with the weed. So we rocked with that but in our hearts we were never really comfortable with it.”

Magazine:Elemental Magazine
Date: February 09, 2004