Black biker clubs existed in the five boroughs well before New York rappers began adopting their style. Sometime during the 1990’s, black biker swagger became all the rage. The trend reached its zenith in the late 1990’s with the rise of the Ruff Ryders camp. Now, such imagery has nostalgic value as it harkens back to the last true era of NY hip-hop prominence. Seeing as how Pete Rock and the Boot Camp Click never really left that era (at least not in a spiritual sense) it makes perfect sense that black biker chic would serve as the motif for their new video “Night Time.”
“Night Time” is the latest clip from Pete Rock and Smif N Wessun’s surprisingly strong collaborative LP Monumental. It features Buckshot on the hook, which of course is not designed for current urban radio playlists. Muffled acoustic guitars strum a traveling groove over pulsating drums. The track possesses the exact ambience that its title suggests. It also has a slightly folksy reggae vibe, which is enhanced by presence of Tek and Steele. Tek opens with a sing songy 2Pac style flow that sounds like it could have been lifted from 50 Cent’s “Get out the Club.” It’s equally as misogynistic as that song, but Tek’s exuberance makes it go down easy. Steele follows up with something a bit more traditionally Bucktown. Pete Rock finishes with a verse much better than anything he ever dropped with CL Smooth. Over all the song has a nice, breezy swing to it. It’s reminiscent of classic BCC, only more intricately produced and executed.
The visuals are flashier than anything BCC would have done in the 90’s, but the HD camera adds just the right touch of grime. Tek, Steele, and Pete Rock are shown congregating riverside with their Black biker brethren. The bright lights of the Manhattan skyline dot the background. Tek sports shiny 360 waves with a Rick Ross beard and a studded leather vest. General Steele rocks Brooklyn style military fatigues and shades. The perpetually young Buckshot delivers the hook from behind the wheel of his whip. Style wise, the clip is basic to the point of being primative. However, the milieu is fitting, and goes hand in hand with the song itself.
Smif N Wessun are now ambassadors of a forgotten era. They continue to pay homage, never forgetting their roots as part of the “Hoodies and Timbs” contingent of New York Hip-Hop. Pete Rock has never lost a step creatively, and his jazzy grooves fit the BCC like a glove. Who would have ever thought that the chocolate Boy Wonder would complement the Cocoa Brovaz so well? If nothing else, the current era has shown that collaborative LP’s are a worthwhile endeavor for New York’s elder statesman.