The History Of Sacramento Rap (Part Three, The Fall)
Written By First Degree The D.E. & Jimmy Blog For Fahrenheit Insight
Note: To prepare for part three of this series, First Degree The D.E. and Fahrenheit Insight’s Jimmy Blog sat down with Black Market’s Cedric Singleton and Fahrenheit affiliate Unc Imo. The purpose was to learn more about the fall of Sacramento rap, and what we can do to get back on top.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Twelve
What goes up, must come down.
During Sacramento’s rap peak in the 90’s, people were working together. Artists were on labels, labels and artists worked together pioneering a genre, and crews were hitting the road, spreading the word. After the dust had settled, Brotha Lynch Hung emerged as the new King of Sacramento rap music.
It was then that a plague rolled into Sacramento. That plague was ego. The ego plague would lead to the fall of Sacramento rap music as we knew it. In the 90’s, Sacramento’s big dog record label was still Black Market Records.
Although Black Market was selling thousands of units partnered with Priority Records, the Black Market/Priority relationship had gone sour. Fortunately for Ced Sing and Black Market, another major record label, Tommy Boy Records, had interest in distributing Black Market music. Tommy Boy Records wanted to go all out for Brotha Lynch and Black Market Records.
“Tommy Boy was ready to go, radio, they were prepared to do a movie, they were ready to do all of these things to promote Brotha Lynch. During that crucial time, he decided he doesn’t want to do the deal, cuz other people are spittin in his ear, saying we can do better for you,” Black Market’s Cedric Singleton reflects in anguish on The Fahrenheit Hour Urban Talk Show. Ced also accuses Priority of putting distrust of Black Market in Lynch’s ear.
Brotha Lynch Hung thought he was ready to run a record label. Boy, was he wrong.
“Now, this is where the third part of the series, The Fall Of Sacramento Rap, will start, with this very moment.” painfully cries First Degree The D.E. on The Fahrenheit Hour.
Brotha Lynch began thinking Black Market was taking advantage of him. A year after signing a 5 year deal with Black Market for big money (wanna find out how much, Fahrenheit Hour with Ced Sing), Lynch wanted out.
“My problem with Lynch is you signed a deal. and if you didn’t want deal, you should just turn in your records (4 more) and you’d be free to go, like X-Raided did,” Ced Sing rationalizes. Ced explains he’s given Lynch hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, later in the Fahrenheit Hour episode, Ced admits mistakes.
“I was there when he (Lynch) signed and got a check for (find out on Ced Sing’s feature on The Fahrenheit Hour).” First Degree reports.
Many people don’t understand that during this time, Ced Sing was in his 20’s, early 30’s, and was still wet behind the ears. “A lot people thought I knew about the music business like I know now, I didn’t know then, a lot of thing I had to learn.” Ced admits on The Fahrenheit Hour. “A lot of information I got from my attorney was actually bad information.” However, the damage, or perception of damage, was already done.
“If Brotha Lynch’s career had a turning point, that was his turning point,” reflects Cedric Singleton about Lynch’s refusal to participate in the Tommy Boy deal
Sacramento Rap History, Part Thirteen
Brotha Lynch was ready to move on from Black Market Records. Lynch Hung had decided he didn’t need Black Market and wanted to start his own label with manager, Art B. They did and called it Siccmade Musicc. Lynch and Art were co-owners. Based on Broth Lynch’s name, they got nation-wide distribution by Ground Level. With all that was going on in Sacramento’s music scene, Siccmade Musicc was a serious factor. However, things weren’t the same as they were.
During Sac rap’s peak, there was unity and deals were getting made for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, it was a more profitable, pre-download era in the music industry, however, the money was coming from the people and the new, world-wide interest of Sacramento rap. Around this time, C-Bo left AWOL, X-Raided left Black Market, Hollow Tip left High Side, and Fahrenheit was doing it alone. It was a local disease of division. However, there was a new rap family in Sacramento, the Siccmade family.
The Siccmade Family
The Siccmade crew included Brotha Lynch, Art B, Phonk Beta, Zigg Zagg, C.O.S., Sicx, P-Folks, Loki, Big Reg, Tall Can G, D-Dubb, E Moe, and more. They ended up releasing 15 albums with both Ground Level and IDN, based out of New York. They enjoyed success, but it was a fraction of the income Black Market was achieving in it’s heyday. Siccmade was bringing in tens of thousands of dollars, selling cds, and occasionally, doing shows. With Phonk Beta still on the beats, the Siccmade sound was still in tact, with albums like Head Drama and Brotha Lynch Hung’s “Lynch By Inch”. Lynch’s transition from Black Market to Siccmade appeared somewhat smooth, at first.
In 2001, Siccmade artist Triple Sicx, was charged and convicted of child molestation. Sicx’s actions were an embarrassment to Siccmade and caused division. However, the Siccmade machine rolled on.
Brotha Lynch’s “Lynch By Inch” was Siccmade’s most successful album
After burning bridges with Art B and IDN, Brotha Lynch started Madesicc Musicc. He had to change the name of his label because Art B was 50% owner of Siccmade. Current day, Madesicc is Lynch’s label. Their main artists include a reboot of Loc To Da Brain, with members G-Macc, 8 Ball, Da KAT, and Hyst. Other artists include Calico 101, Devious, Loco Ricc, Vamp Loc, Nicci Blacc, and Tanqueray Loc. The label has released a G-Macc’s “Opera/Angels & Demons”, however, Madesicc Musicc has released only a fraction of the albums Siccmade Musicc released.
Every Brotha Lynch label project has gotten worse and worse. The Madesicc/Siccmade brand is popular, yet has become watered down. Now-a-days, several entities from near and far, “claim” the Madesicc brand, even if their music isn’t own by Madesicc Musicc. Part of this is due in part to Lynch’s hard time saying no to people.
During Be Gee’s recent #Be40 event in Elk Grove, Ca, an impromptu round table of Sacramento rap history was formed. This round table included Cedric Singleton, First Degree The D.E., Death Trap’s Dalvin Pipkins, and the Fahrenheit Insight. As you can imagine, may topics were discussed, including Sacramento’s glorious rap history. Brotha Lynch was also brought up. At one point in the discussion, round table members discussed the shady things Brotha Lynch had done to each of them. It was a very eventful, funny conversation.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Fourteen
As the writer of his own destiny, and no longer under the protection of the Black Market machine, Brotha Lynch gained a reputation of being difficult to deal with. In the Sacramento streets, Brotha Lynch was becoming known for being soft and started to get dissed on songs. Some of the artists dissing Lynch in songs were T-Nutty, Smigg Dirty, M Sane, and Chill Bola. Lynch’s business partners also found it hard to work with him. However, many fascinated local “artists” came around Lynch, just to do so. There was always a lot of people wanting to be around Lynch. Lynch was still the king. However, he was a difficult one.
First Degree The D.E. remembers Lynch’s ex-wife Zigg Zagg saying during a San Diego show, “Brotha Lynch can be your greatest asset, and your greatest crutch,”
“Tryin to throw him shows and what not, he’d act like a child, riddled with anxiety. The dumbest things happened on the road, because of Lynch” First Degree The D.E. states. “It was that point that the secret was out. The king of Sacramento was an idiot.” First Degree declares to Fahrenheit Insight. “Having the king of Sac be an idiot was bad for business.”
For those that knew, Brotha Lynch Hung was exposed. For those that didn’t, everything was the same. Despite the rumors, Lynch fans were still fanatic.
“It got the point were we’d all be together, on the road, meeting or whatever, and as soon as Kev (Brotha Lynch) left the room, everyone would talk bout how dumb he was,” First Degree reminisces. “I can remember driving to a Strange Music video shoot for Lynch. We were already late, in a new city, Strange Music’s Travis O’Guin whining on the phone, and Lynch suddenly needs Spiderman Band Aids. Travis O’Guin in panic mode, threatening to cancel the video and Lynch’s deal, and Lynch is demanding we make a stop for some damn Spiderman Band Aids at a strip mall. It was one of those many times where I had to wake him out of his stupidity, for the sake of the city.”
First Degree goes on, stating that Brotha Lynch always complained about people using him. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. Perhaps Brotha Lynch is trying to help everyone. Perhaps he is the one using his friends.
“He was so afraid of everything. I remember being at a show with Lynch and members of the Madesicc crew. A Black fan with a quirky scar on his eye, came up to us and said, ‘are you Brotha Lynch and First Degree?’ He then pulled out a Planet Zero CD. I said yes, and we chatted a minute. He then turned to Lynch and Lynch pretended not to be himself. Lynch was hiding behind his friend, giving a fake name, practically shivering. It was very odd. If this had been a juggalo, Lynch would have embraced him. But Lynch is afraid of everything,” First Degree The D.E. adds.
Black Market’s non-Lynch, Lynch album EBK4 debuted at #4 on Billboard, even thought Lynch didn’t directly participate in it’s creation
Although Brotha Lynch had left Black Market, Black Market continued releasing Lynch albums. Prior to Loaded in ’97, Brotha Lynch signed a 5 year deal with Black Market, and Ced intended to follow through, with or without Lynch. The first of the non-Lynch, Lynch albums was EBK4. Despite being pieced together by Black Market, it debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts! Black Market went to make 5 or so more Brotha Lynch albums this way, including greatest hits albums, achieving mild success compared to the past.
On Fahrenheit Hour, Cedric Singleton explains that he got the songs for the post-Lynch, Lynch albums by buying songs Lynch had done for other people.
Brotha Lynch has always suspected Black Market got songs by taking them in an armed home invasion that occurred at Lynch’s house. According to witnesses, five or six armed, masked men entered Brotha Lynch’s house. Lynch jumped out of the window, leaving everyone behind. The men tied everyone up and stole all the reel-to-reels and ADATS (tapes used for recording) they could find. Lynch has stated that he’s heard songs taken in that robbery on Black Market non-Lynch, Lynch albums. Brotha Lynch’s ex-wife Zigg Zagg has since released a song about the incident, scolding Lynch for jumping out of the window and leaving them behind.
After setting off on a mission to own his music, Brotha Lynch ended up owning very little. His label Madesicc, has released only released a few albums in several years of existence. Even with Art B. and E Moe’s resurrection of Siccmade Musicc, Brotha Lynch is not involved, recently tweeting on Twitter, “This nigga emoe3000 a foo! Naw he not talkin to me he talkin to First Degree the DE”
Sacramento Rap History, Part Fifteen
In C-Bo’s second act of his career, he looked to expand his horizons in L.A.
As with Brotha Lynch, in the late 90’s, C-Bo broke away from his label, AWOL, and formed his own, West Coast Mafia Records. West Coast Mafia successfully released 25+ albums, including releases from C-Bo, Mob Figaz, Ms. Marvaless, Yukmouth, and more. Managed by Nuchie from Meadowview in Sacramento, C-Bo was constantly on the road, promoting, doing shows, and making big money. C-Bo enjoyed a successful transition from AWOL to his own label, until the trials.
During this time. C-Bo went to jail for a parole violation, stemming from anti-police lyrics. On rap site HipHopDX, C-Bo said, “I went through that. It’s already in the book. It’s already written. That can never be an issue, it’s a First Amendment right. They already tried me. They can’t try nobody else, ’cause it’s already been done.”
In 2012, C-Bo went to jail again, this time in Kansas, stemming from a marijuana sales conviction. Although West Coast Mafia Records had success releasing many albums, running the business, dealing with cases, and jail trips took its toll on C-Bo and West Coast Mafia Records. However to this day, C-Bo boasts of being part of 2.5 million record sales. That is a lot. West Coast Mafia Records has been a bigger success than Brotha Lynch’s, post-Black Market, labels.
In 2001, David Weiner, working at JCOR Records, pulled off one of the greatest Sacramento rap feats of all time, a Brotha Lynch, C-Bo album. The two weren’t in the studio together when the album was made. It reached #79 on Billboard charts. It featured a young, hungry Tech N9ne
Sacramento Rap History, Part Sixteen
Strange Music’s first Brotha Lynch Hung album “Dinner And A Movie” enjoyed a somewhat successful release. It was a chance to bring national attention to the Sacramento sound again. Instead, Brotha Lynch went with Strange Music’s sound. Brotha Lynch was managed by First Degree The D.E. at the time, as stated in the inside cover of the album
Next came what many call the official end of Sacramento rap. “I feel bad because I had a part in it,” First Degree The D.E. admits. “I helped for the city of Sacramento, though.” Brotha Lynch signed with Strange Music.
In 2009, Brotha Lynch reconnected with David Weiner, now Vice President of Strange Music. Strange Music is a record label based out of Kansas City, Mo, owned by Travis O’Guin and Tech N9ne. Strange Music got its start by tapping into ICP’s fan base, called juggalos. Juggalos are known to be grudge, rowdy Caucasians, not your typical rap audience. On many occasions, Tech N9ne has mentioned that he grew up idolizing Brotha Lynch’s music. After unsuccessfully trying to sign Lynch for many years, Strange was able to sign him in 2009. It was the beginning of the end for Sac.
By this time, Brotha Lynch’s work ethic was really bad, and Strange Music’s demands were high. After being signed to Strange Music for six months, Brotha Lynch still hadn’t submitted any songs to them, despite several attempts from Strange. In addition, Loaded and Season Of The Siccness were involved in bankruptcy (which Ced Sing later regrets) and had been taken off the shelves.
This lead to Brotha Lynch, Loki (Lynch’s manager at the time, one of many of Lynch’s career), Dave Weiner of Strange, and the Davis bankruptcy lawyer asking First Degree The D.E. to manage Brotha Lynch to help get things going. First Degree accepted the challenge, the two agreed on 20%, and D.E. got the ball rolling. He drove Brotha Lynch to Kansas City several times and did what had to be done to get Dinner and a Movie out. He also frequently met with the bankruptcy lawyer and successfully got Loaded and Season back on the shelf, with both Lynch and Ced Sing getting a piece. Although Dinner And A Movie didn’t enjoy the success prior Lynch albums did, it still did rather well.
The First Degree/Brotha Lynch relationship became rocky due to, what First Degree claims, a breach of the managing agreement. Many have chimed in. As a result, ‘First Degree Brotha Lynch beef’ is a popular search on Google. “He asked me to manage him, he was supposed to pay me 20%, I got him paid, he disappeared. That’s the root of the problem, that’s Brotha Lynch,” declares First Degree The D.E. to Fahrenheit Insight. This lead to the release of FU4’s comical single, Lynch Roast. “You won’t pay me my money, but your fans will!” sings First Degree The D.E. in Lynch Roast.
“Stop tellin’ people I owe you,” Brotha Lynch demands of First Degree The D.E. through social media.
Brotha Lynch went on to release three albums with Strange Music, all pretending to be a serial killer. To the juggalos, the albums were great. The traditional Lynch fans were left behind claiming the album sounded too fake, and lost the Sacramento sound. These traditional Lynch fans were disappointed because the new sound was not consistent with his career. Smooth, hard-hitting, soulful Phonk Beta beats were replaced by rocky, loud Strange Music beats. Lynch’s flow was precise, but even more fake. The Brotha Lynch we all knew was lost in the name of “progress”. Sacramento had officially lost its identity.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Seventeen
First Degree The D.E. and Pooman Dre worked magic together on “The Big Black Bat” album
Fahrenheit Records fought to keep the tradition of Sacramento music alive. Their members included First Degree The D.E., Be Gee, Soupbone, Crucial Point, Pooman Dre, and M Sane. As of now, they have released over 40 albums world-wide, more than any other label in Sacramento’s enriched history. After Planet Zero, Damn That D.E., FU1, and The Big Black Bat, First Degree The D.E. left long time Bay Area producer Pooman Dre behind, once again following the Sacramento mistake of thinking he could do it himself. Many say The D.E.’s music got too weird, lost quality, and became hard to follow after that. Also, M Sane abruptly retired after just a few albums. However, Fahrenheit Records was still on the rise. First Degree and Fahrenheit’s success in the 2000’s can be attributed to the 100+ shows First Degree performed nation-wide with Bay Area legends Andre Nickatina, Equipto, and Smoov-E.
Although Fahrenheit Records has rebounded nicely in recent years, First Degree has gotten more controversial and racially charged. First Degree The D.E.’s last solo album “Super Black, The Voice Of The Voiceless” has a song named, “Listen Up, Ya Honkey!” He calls it a guide to racial respect. “Believe it or not, its about folks showin’ respect and getting’ along,” First Degree explains. Fahrenheit has since gotten into producing urban news, online radio, and continues to release albums. However, Fahrenheit Records has never caught up to the success and notoriety of First Degree The D.E., the artist.
“A lot of people believe that they could be their own record label, and with that lead to the decline of music in Sacramento. You look at the artists that were able to achieve the greatest level of success, those were artists that were on record labels.” Black Market’s Ced Sing summarizes.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Eighteen
Oh, what could have been.
On Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour, First Degree The D.E. sums up the Sacramento music roller coaster experience. “Everybody started going in their own directions (the fall), and when the rise happened, everyone was working together, and thats what I’ve learned in this process.”
On his appearance on the Fahrenheit Hour, Ced Sing wonders out loud why Brotha Lynch left his home label to go to other labels, “and eventually become Tech N9ne’s fuck boy.” declares First Degree The D.E. on the the episode. Ced then suggests that he could understand if Lynch was trying to own his own music, but he wasn’t. Had the Tommy Boy, Black Market, Brotha Lynch connection come together, the possibilities in the region would have been endless. To this day, Brotha Lynch has little to show from all the albums he created since leaving Black Market.
Why do we fall, so we can get back up.
Although Sacramento music is not in the lime light anymore, there is still hope. Fahrenheit affiliate Unc Imo suggests the movers and shakers in Sacramento get on the same page together. He also asserts to, “help in your community because thats your village.”
“Im ready to get it going again,” Ced Sing declares. After doing humanitarian work in 60 countries, Ced is ready to get back into the music saddle. He states that experiences in Africa changed him. “I love Sacramento, (and) even though I have beef with Brotha Lynch. Its hard for me to say something bad about him, because without him there would be no Black Market . At the end of the day, Brotha Lynch’s life’s better, and so is mine.”
Black Market’s Cedric Singleton thinks Sactown rap is on the come-up again. First Degree The D.E. also predicts Sacramento rap will bubble once again in the near future, if the nerve centers start working together again. “It goes back to what I was saying’, people working together and it being true and it being real. Lynch catering to juggalos or what ever they call themselves, that is not real. That is not true.” First Degree manifests on The Fahrenheit Hour.
A good start to the re-rise of Sacramento music would be a new Phonk Beta produced Brotha Lynch Hung song. That’s were it all began, talented Sacramento artists, working with Sacramento producers, giving birth to that Sacramento sound.
However, to truly resurrect Sacramento’s musical legacy, new trails must be paved, like the pioneers did before them.
Does the make of the man (or woman) behind the music matter?
Sacramento rap history has too many missed opportunities. Don’t miss opportunities over ego.
As individuals, Sacramento rap will fail. Let the tales of Sacramento rap music serve as a lesson to the world. Working together breeds success. Like birds flocking.
Sacramento rap history is valued world-wide. Just about every hip hop lover in the world has discovered Sacramento rap at some point. Let’s keep it that way.
For this article, Fahrenheit Insight documented Brotha Lynch Hung’s career and labels, C-Bo’s career and labels, Black Market Records, and First Degree The D.E.’s Fahrenheit Records because they are Sacramento’s longest lasting, most consistent artists and labels in the history on Sacramento rap music. However, there are many others that had their hand the history of Sacramento rap music, which leads us to ask…
Who will be the next king of Sac?
Other contributors to Sacramento rap history include…
T-Poe, Cris Crump, Brent Stafford, Jeff Dixon, Waynee Wayne, Thick And Thin Studios, Paradise Studios, Daniel Hubbard, Marky Mark & Livewire Studios, Walter & City Hall Records, Pooman Studios, J Dubb, Teabone, Debonair, Nick Peace, St Nick, Lavish D, W.I.L.L., Jackie Moore & Sactown Raps, Curbside, United Nations, G Idez, Foe Loco, Young Meek, Who Put Sac On The Map and Black Armor Records, Twamp Dog, Shagzilla, Polo, Smigg Dirty, Blackjack, Young Bop, Bread, GP The Beast, Thomas & Robin Gonzales, Push, Big O, C-Dubb, Bueno, Brown Hustlas, Mozzy, Lavish D, Tony Endz, Liq Sto, Flossalini, Skanless, Lil Pig, Young Jayda, Young Ridah, PCP, Dub Sac, Big Ron, Crisis, D-Dubb, CRISIS, Royal Mixxers, Nasty Train, Big Ron D, Beat Boyz The CUF, DJ Eddie Edul, DJ Brain Tedlos, Don Blanco, The Sactown Blood and Crips, and more.
Fahrenheit Insight’s “The History Of Sacramento Rap” thrives to be the most accurate account of Sacramento rap music ever. Thank you for being a part.
First Degree The D.E. “Fahrenheit Collectibles, Brotha Lynch Hung & First D.E.” OUT NOW Digitally, In Record Stores 11.18.14!
United Nations 8.19.14
Phonk Beta 10.21.14