Black Bane Puts Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Brotha Lynch On Notice With New Video
First Degree The D.E. takes on the Black Bane persona and looks to raise the thought, talent, and purpose in today’s rap music
By Fahrenheit Insight’s Jimmy Blog
Just when America needs answers, The D.E. provides. In a quest to bolster hip hop consciousness, Sacramento rapper First Degree The D.E. calls out rap heavy weights Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Brotha Lynch in new video, “Black Bane”, which can be seen HERE.
First Degree The D.E. is a world renowned entertainer/activist and pioneer of Sacramento rap, has performed over 100 shows across the USA, and is responsible for 55 projects in all. In addition to his uplifting message in the recording booth, First Degree is an active participant in South Sacramento community. The label he owns, Fahrenheit Records, had sold over 80,000 units world-wide , consists of artists stretching the West Coast, and enjoys a 20 years history of quality, thoughtful, diverse music. Fahrenheit Records operates an award winning, world-wide online radio station called Fahrenheit Radio, and owns and operates 14 websites, including FirstDegreeTheDE.com, Sacramentorap.com, Californiarap.com, and USrapnews.com.
The Fahrenheit Insight caught up with First Degree during the “I Wear Black Cuz Its Just My Style” video shoot at the 49er’s stadium in Santa Clara, CA. It was a cloudy evening with thousands of raucous, optimistic fans tailgating in the Levi Stadium paring lot for Monday Night Football’s opening of the 2015 season. The D.E. gave us insight into the history and purpose behind Black Bane, and what it means to be a street vigilante. Who is First Degree Black Bane?
Over his 20 year rap history, First Degree has put on many masks to deliver his message. This includes RoboDE, Blackulem, Shlumpulicious, and Super Black to name a few. Being Fahrenheit Records’ 55th project, the first thing The Fahrenheit Insight wanted to know about Black Bane was what the difference between it all the past First Degree characters.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” First Degree explains. “Like the other recent characters I’ve portrayed on albums, I was told by the universe to take on this persona. I don’t just sit around and decide, ‘I’m gunna do this, or I’m gunna say that.’ God an His universe instructs me to do so, and I oblige.” He then went on to lay out the purpose of Black Bane.
First Degree The D.E. went all out to detail the characteristics of Black Bane. He explained tat unlike the other characters he’s portrayed, Black Bane sees the world as a grey area, meaning there’s no definitive good or bad, just perspective. “Black Bane is a street vigilante. Once he’s locked onto a goal that’s just, he affiliates with the good and the bad in order to fulfill that purpose. He’s purpose is just, his means are questionable to some.”
Long time Brotha Lynch producer Phonk Beta goes all the way live with his production on First Degree Black Bane
When asked about Black Bane’s purpose and goals, First Degree related Black Bane’s vision of a fair society in which opportunities flow equally across all social and economic levels, the people are informed and inspired, and doing his part to help shed the effects of Jim Crow and return the people to the regalness that is within them. “This is what he calls fighting for the people. Black Bane just takes aggressive means and plays the role only he can play, in order to get the job did,” First Degree The D.E. asserts. He concludes, “To deliver this message, I relied on the Great Phonk Beta and challenged him to remind the people what makes him great, and he succeeded with an unbelievable array of superior, live shlumpage.”
When we got in the lab we asked ourselves how we can make this one bigger and better. We achieved that goal with thought, soul, effort, talent, time, patience, and purpose.
The Fahrenheit Record was given a copy of the First Degree Black Bane singles in preparation of this article. They include “Black Bane”, “I Wear Black Cuz Its Just My Style”, and “Say Serra”.
First Degree Black Bane through the eyes of Oji
The first single is the title track, Black Bane. It starts with First Degree and The Celebration (his kids), telling the story of Black Bane to a dark, aggressive, piano driven, Phonk Beta beat. The first line, “The cost to be boss, atroc-it-ties, that most can’t handle, that’s that’s why you boss, that’s why you bump my blamble, that and rap scandal” provides immediate insight into the mind of Black Bane. The chorus is a daunting 8 bars of dark singing, thunder, and whipping. Black Bane’s lyrics are hard, political, and thoughtful, “Not affected by ISIS, that’s way far, the man’s cookin books here, that’s on our radar.”
The First Degree Black Bane video is another genius animation from Fahrenheit’s Oji, filled with good guys, bad guys, and all in between. The ultra creative video details the many faces and duties of Black Bane and his allies. In addition, the video includes Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Brotha Lynch. When asked why they were included in the video, First Degree explains, “Oji and I saw this video as an opportunity to remind rap’s division leaders to have purpose in their music, before its too late. I’m in cahoots with Lynch as we speak, collaborating on Strange Music’s ‘Kevlar’ album, and that ‘Black Bane Part 2, The Underestimated Villan'”. The D.E. asserts, “its time for the Brotha Lynchs, the Phonk Betas, and the First Degrees to get back together in unison and continue this legacy we’ve created.” He finishes his thought by including that Brotha Lynch was on his way back from Kansas City laying vocals for Strange Music’s Strangulation 2 album, and would will be back at work the Sactown vet as soon as he gets back.
In this single, First Degree raps, “(I’m) banned from Strange Music Inc.” When asked to elaborate, The D.E. declined, citing that it wasn’t the time and a desire to move forward. Why did he put the line in the song, The Fahrenheit Insight wonders.
NFL Network films part of the First Degree The D.E. “I Wear Black Cuz Its Just My Style” video shoot, 49er Stadium with Empire Row
I Wear Black Cuz Its Just My Style
The second single from the Black Bane album is a dedication to West Coast 90’s rap pioneers and the influence it had on world-wide American culture. ‘I Wear Black Cuz Its Just My Style’ is a 90’s style Beta beat with live pianos and live guitar played by L.A.’s Eric Otis. The sound is a nice, unique mix between old school west coast sampling, a live Curtis funk band, and the Straight Outta Cmopton movie. The song’s title and theme came from a 90’s rap group consisting of The D.E.’s good friend Big Ron and Live Wire from the L.A. area.
The “Wear Black’ video was being shot at 49ers Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California the day of this interview. An official 49er’s tailgating pep rally, thrown by Arevalo Production’s Empire Row, served as the back drop. It was a nationally televised Monday Night Football game and the unveiling of the 49ers’ new black uniforms. It was a wild event, filled with Fahrenheit fans and 49er faithfuls alike. The scene is sure to jump off the camera as soon as the video is completed and released.
The third Black Bane video is the most musical, lyrical, and entertaining of the bunch.” Say Serra” is a finely-crafted First Degree hit with its own sound and racially controversial lyrics that will have the streets buzzing for some time to come. This single has a hard, groovy, big production, live sound that has never and will never be duplicated. Once again, Phonk Beta is on the beat and live pianos, and Eric Otis is on the live Spanish guitar.
The Say Serra video is all D.E.. First Degree gets close up, entertains, dances, and delivers his unique brand of poetry, “That video’s gunna be up close and personal to leave no doubt what I’m sayin!” Oh boy.
When asked how one picks singles for the album, First Degree reiterates that he is a vessel of the universe and does what it instructs him to do. He also points out that local publication Sacramento News and Review leaked and reviewed one of the songs, ‘The Fahrenheit Record’, HERE. The article included reporter Raheem Hosseini’s funny individual experience with the informative song. The Fahrenheit Record mentions many Sacramento area reporters, and several of them, including the KCRA’s Edie Lambert, Kevin Riggs, and Sacramento Bee’s Chris Macias started the buzz by posting about the song on their Facebook pages.
D’Angelo Black Messiah played a roll in developing First Degree Black Bane
When asked about what, if any, outside musician provided influence for Black Bane, First Degree bared a big grin and explained that the D’Angelo Black Messiah album was the first album in ten years that stimulated his mind. “D’Angelo is the greatest singing and producing entity of all time. I have never heard such funky, sticky, risky, smooth, forward thinking, live music ever. Michael Jackson is the best dancer ever, Phonk Beta is the best rap producer ever, and D’Angelo is the greatest singer/producer of all time, fa sho. I’ve listened to that album 100 times already.” First Degree goes on to justify that D’Angelos latest album Black Messiah is “gleaming with purpose” and “stimulates those that understand”. The D.E. states that Black Messiah is the reason he reached out to Phonk Beta and Eric Otis for live instrumentation.
First Degree also sites the current urban struggle, and a second meeting with hip hop legend Rakim that had influence on his new direction.
If the people take to the Black Bane album like the listeners that this reporter has witnessed, the West Coast rap game will have a new bar to try to live to.
First Degree Black Bane hits stores world-wide October 20, 2015. Live First Degree Black Bane performances will take place in the Seattle and Denver areas in December of 2015, with more locations to be announced. The album is produced by Phonk Beta, with additional production by Oji and Sultan Mir. Fahrenheit Records is distributed by City Hall Records and The Orchard.
More information can be found at FirstDegreeTheDE.com
Fahrenheit Records’ 55th album, First Degree The D.E. “Black Bane” brings purpose to the underground rap game and hits stores October 20, 2015