On January 10, 1995, Smif-n-Wessun released its debut album, Dah Shinin’, via Nervous Records. Managed by Duck Down’s Buckshot and Dru-Ha, the duo sold 300,000 copies of the album, a noteworthy success for the indie release.
Last week, the duo celebrated the album’s anniversary with a show at S.O.B’s in New York City. As a follow-up, Smif-n-Wessun is slated to have another performance in honor of Dah Shinin’ in Connecticut with DJ Doo Wop on January 24.
Having made their rap debut on Black Moon’s 1993 album, Enta da Stage, Tekomin Williams (Tek) and Darrell Yates (Steele) solidified the prominence of the Boot Camp Clik (Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun, O.G.C., Heltah Skeltah) with Dah Shinin’.
“Before the process, we knew nothing about recording records and stuff like that,” Smif-n-Wessun’s Steele says regarding the duo’s recording experience prior to working on Dah Shinin’ during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “Just the learning process was amazing to us. We came in as soldiers. We was young. We was hungry. Hip Hop was explosive…but, the process–I think we fell in love with the process.”
The album peaked at #59 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the biggest song off the album, “Bucktown,” witnessed most of its success in the underground, though it did hit #1 on the US Dance Sales chart.
Twenty years later, Steele is grateful for the experience. “We’ve been working the whole time,” he says. “We still doin’ it. It’s an honor, man. It’s an honor, to say the least.”
“It don’t feel like 20 years went by because we still doin’ what we doin’,” Tek adds. “We still makin’ music.”
The album’s success did not exactly catch the duo off-guard, however.
“We already had a sneak peak at what was coming because we had been on the road, moving around, opening up for Black Moon,” Tek says. “We was already getting a little preview of how things in the industry would be. We were moving around. So, for us, we still fresh out of high school and the street, so it was nothing new to see shady characters out and people acting in certain ways.”