The group of early pioneering rap artists known as Onyx would get their start in the city of Brooklyn New York in the year of 1988. They would form an alliance with one another and begin recording beats and rhythms that were put to words in a new music genre that had begun taking the east coast cities by storm.
Rap, or hip hop, as it is also known, had started to take hold as an up and coming style of music shared by many in the more urban areas at the time although it has become a household genre of music of the present. After they would get their rhythm and style, the group would start recording their music in the late 1980’s and be one of the major contributors to the hip hop world of today.
The group would create their first single in 1990 called Ah, and WE Do It Like This, which was a jazzy album set to voice but was said to be nothing like what they would ever release in the future. The single would gain them radio play around the United States and would get name out to many. Also, they would begin doing performances in support of their singles as well as for the demos and EP’s that they had made along the way.
Not since the primal unified chants of 1992's potent "Throw your Gunz," has a group, so convincingly, been able to capture the raw rage of ghetto angst and translate It into a musical relevance for the world to see than Onyx. Started off in the chairs of a small Queens barber shop in '91, the beginnings of a new rejuvenated Hip-Hop renaissance were well underway. From collaborating on rhymes while cutting hair to battling potential contenders on line at such clubs as the Building and Red Zone, Onyx honed and developed their collective talents at every opportunity they had, a practice which eventually caught the discerning eye of the legendary Jam Master Jay.
Complete with an album's worth of material, Onyx were introduced to Jay and subsequently signed to a record single at JMJ Records, which extended to an EP, and ultimately led to the climactic producing of Bacdufucup Selling over two million copies, Onyx 's debut album forcefully grabbed the industry by its reigns and steered it Into new grounds of Hip-Hop potency. Receiving wide-spread industry adulation for their spirited and reveling music, Onyx captured Soul Train 's Best Rap Album honors that year by beating out Dr. Dre's would-be classic The Chronic and slamdancing themselves on stage to accept their award.
Riding the amazing success of Bacdafucup, Onyx spent the next two years on tour, showcasing their unparalleled and uncompromising energetic stage show for millions of newly-dedicated fans. Performing along side the likes of Hip-Hop greats such as KRS-ONE and Run-DMC, Onyx was quickly boosted into an elite level of stardom usually reserved for the most revered and tenured of artists. Overwhelmed by their newly-found fame and success, coming off the high of touring and being embraced around the world, the group felt the need to put things back into perspective. As Sonee explains: "The fast pace of the rap game had us all wild and not really thinking.
Right off the tour we came back and that's when you saw the realness around you again. We all had to sit back and think and get things clear." A realness which was captured in Onyx's introspective and dark follow-up gold album All We Got Iz Us. Manifested in the sophomore LP's first single "Last Days," a matured Onyx presented an ominous outlook at everyday reality that not only reflected the group's grounded perspective but provided for uncoated, hard-to-swallow truths throughout the industry. In between recording the second album, Onyx's charismatic panache and believable grittiness were recognized by outside industries as well, as the group's acting avenues began to flourish.
Aside from appearances by Sticky and Fredro in such major releases as HBO's "Strapped," and Spike Lee's "Clockers," Sticky was featured in the Hughes Brother's "Dead Presidents," while Fredro starred in the Rhea Pearlman/Danny De Vito directed "Sunset Park," as well as two fall seasons along side Brandy on UPN's successful sitcom " Moesha. " .
The group would release the album called All We Got Iz Us in 1995 and would be listed as the best rap album produced of that year according to VIBE magazine. The record did not fair commercially as well as their first but it would be claimed as generally successful in the total number of albums sold. Just before the release of the album, one of the original members would leave the group due to conflicting efforts of microphone time and the group would now consist of only two rappers.
After the album, the group would not release another record for quite some time although they would make some appearances in movies of the late 1990’s such as Sunset Park and Dead Presidents. Onyx returned in 1998 with their third album Shut ‘Em Down, which featured appearances from a then-unknown DMX, The Lost Boyz, Raekwon, Method Man, the late Big Pun, Noreaga and a then-unknown 50 Cent. This album found critical as well as commercial success. The underground scene loved the B-sides to the album and radio listeners liked songs such as “React” and the eponymous “Shut ‘em Down”, the latter featuring DMX. After Shut ‘Em Down, Onyx left Def Jam and temporarily split up for solo releases.
Both Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr released solo albums in late Spring 2001 gaining lukewarm success. They reunited in 2002 with Bacdafucup Part II released on Koch Records, where they released the song Slam Harder which was a sample of the show “Welcome back Kotter”. The song was basically welcoming them back. Followed by the 2003 release Triggernometry on D3 Entertainment. Both albums met with mediocre reviews and sales, but in a refreshing change from typical musicians, Onyx themselves admit to not liking both albums compared to their earlier releases and they actually tell their fans at live shows to not buy them. In other news, there has been a low-level argument between Onyx member Fredro Starr and 50 Cent. According to the Rap News Network, 50 Cent started a confrontation with Fredro Starr at the 2003 Vibe Awards. In a 2003 interview Fredro Starr explained, “50 Cent basically started shit with me, started a scuffle, and a bodyguard broke us up. He’s a punk. He’s disrespectful to Jam Master Jay ever since he passed. Fuck him. I’m doin shit with some ex G-Unit members now. 50 ain’t shit.” In an interview with the Source magazine, Fredro Starr said that 50 Cent had been disrespectful towards the Onyx rap group even though Onyx had given him his first breakthrough on a song called “React” from the 1998 album, Shut ‘Em Down.
In the summer of 2006 Fredro released a project known as Yung Onyx.
In June 2008, Onyx released their debut DVD: “Onyx: 15 Years of Videos, History and Violence”. The DVD contains every Onyx video digitally remastered with optional commentary, all solo videos, and over an hour of rare footage all the way back from 1992.
A new Onyx album, titled The Black Rock, was rumored for a 2006/2007 release but did not surface. Black Rock is now scheduled for a late 2009 or early 2010 release.
In late September 2009, members of Onyx expressed their contempt for the Black Keys work BlakRoc.
Onyx performed in August 2012 at the 13th annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. Onyx also performed in 2009 at the 10th annual Gathering of the Juggalos.
In August 2012, Onyx also released their first "new" album in years, titled "Cold Case Files: Vol 2". The album is unique in that it is only available from OnyxDomain.com; as the purchase is digital, all proceeds go to the group.
On October 31, 2012, Fresh from touring overseas, ONYX released the Official Video on YouTube from their first single off of the new album "CUZO" entitled, "BELLY OF THE BEAST". The Video Was Directed by: @KevinKJJohnson and featured on MusikReform.com
In 2013, they were featured on fellow American rapper ASAP Ferg's debut studio album, Trap Lord.