In the early ’90s, an unruly crew of dudes in army fatigues and Timberlands emerged from Brooklyn and made rap music a whole lot more exciting. The Boot Camp Clik was, and is, the collective of rappers from the groups Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and OGC. Together, they made a whole lot of classics without ever fully crossing over to mainstream visibility, the way contemporaries like the Wu-Tang Clan did. But the BCC had an aesthetic of their own, and their ’90s bangers are timeless. Now, they’re back.
After their great ’90s run, the Boot Camp Clik remained a force on the New York underground. In the ’00s, they made some great records and put on some great shows. I always loved going to see any BCC artist, since you could always count on the rest of them showing up for surprise appearances. But the Boot Camp Clik haven’t released any music as a group since their 2007 album Casualties Of War, and they lost their best rapper when Sean Price, otherwise known as Heltah Skeltah’s Ruck, died of natural causes in 2015. So it’s great to see the surviving members of the BCC back together in the video for their new single “Wotcha Call Strength.”
“Wotcha Call Strength” doesn’t attempt to resurrect the classic Duck Down Records boom-bap sound. Instead, Boston producer the Arcitype has given the group a bright, synthy beat, and all seven rappers, as well as Sean Price protege Ruste Juxx, go in and talk their shit. All of them can really, really rap. In the video, we see that they’ve all got grey in their beards and lines on their faces, but that only reinforces the impression that these are veterans who do not have patience for your bullshit. Watch it below.
“Wotcha Call Strength” is out now on Duck Down. The Boot Camp Clik show the video at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, and that’s where they’ll perform 8/5 at the Rock The Bells festival.