Once upon a time in Hip-Hop history the Boot Camp Clik was one of the hottest cliques in the industry. 1993's "Enta Da Stage" started The Book Camp revolution, as Black Moon's debut album was immediately hailed an underground classic. Classic joints such as "Who Got Da Props?", "How Many Mc's" and "I Got Cha Open Remix" helped bring back the East in a time when the West was all but dominate. Another key factor in their early 90's dominance was Smif N Wessun. Their 1995 debut "Dah Shinin" added to the Duckdown legacy as Tek & Steel became underground legends over night. A variety of other members would soon follow, most noticeably Heltah Skeltah and OGC. However, as the years passed The Boot Camp Clik fell into hard times. Both of Blackmoon's and Smif N Wesson's sophomore efforts failed to capture the same aura as their debut classics and were quickly forgotten. And besides a somewhat memorable group album, the family soon fell into obscurity for years to come. Now in 2002, B.C.C. attempts to make a comeback in an industry which has all but forgotten them. Can the Boot Camp really regain their status in the Hip-Hop industry? Can they really resurrect their sounds of the past? All these questions and more are answered on "The Chosen Few".
Even though most of the industry has slept on and forgotten the Boot Camp, true hip-hop heads have eagerly awaited their return. While they have released a few solid albums the past couple years, what fans really wanted was the crew to reunite and form as one. And while the original roster has changed since its early days, the Boot Camp is indeed back and with a hunger not seen in years.
Don't think the Boot Camp hasn't heard the cries of them falling off, they are well aware of it. Most of "The Chosen Few" directly attacks these accusations as they get right into the controversy from the beginning of the album. The lead single "And So" attacks the critics who labeled them as all but done and all the radio stations that won't play any B.C.C. joints. The Curt Cazal produced track is brilliantly done, including a nice sample for the hook. Each emcee brings a raw intense aura about them addressing their own personal situations with the record business. The track is definitely the best we have seen from Boot Camp in years.
Most of the album deals with the same essence, as Boot Camp keeps it grimy and rough for the most part. The Alchemist produced "Let's Get Down 2 Bizness" is vintage B.C.C. material as is "That's Tough", "Whop His Ass", "Had It Up 2 Here", "Just Us" and "Daddy Wanna". The production is solid throughout the album's entirety as Da Beatminerz, Bink, Coptic and Ty Deals lend their production credits for the album. Besides "And So" and two standout tracks featured on the album are the newly found B.C.C. anthem "Welcome To Bucktown USA" and "The Chosen Few". Just like in years past "Welcome To Bucktown USA" is another theme song for the Boot Camp Clik, as it mirrors their past sounds better than any other track featured on the album. Producer Coptic steals the show with his production on "The Chosen Few" as he puts forth the albums finest cuts, as seen on this track and on "The Chosen Few". Utilizing the same Gene Chandler sample that Hi-Tek used for the Reflection Eternal album, "The Chosen Few" is a raw, on the edge of you seat ride through Bucktown.
The only time when the Boot Camp get in trouble on "The Chosen Few" is when they try and go in a different direction and force the issue with more radio friendly joints. Both "Ice Skate" and "Let's Roll" are uncharacteristic moves for the Boot Camp as they tend to sway away from the B.C.C. formula we all love. The Hi-Tek produced "Ice Skate" is definitely a big disappointment as Tek hooks the Boot Camp up with some sub par production that really never helps the track get off the ground. Uninspired lyricism and a case of the lame hooks disease also contribute to both tracks overall downfall.
While its been years since we have witnessed the Boot Camp Clik in its prime, "The Chosen Few" is proof that they haven't lost a step in this rap game. With record company politics, delays and misfortunes its unfortunate that the B.C.C. never was able to fulfill their legacy as one of Hip-Hop elite crews. But with "The Chosen Few" the Boot Camp Clik prove that no matter the set backs, no matter the obstacles, they are going to keep putting out great music. While the Boot Camp will never be able to regain their dominance of the early 90's, they are not about to call it quits and will die trying to get back to the top.