Tag Archives: Rakim

Black Bane Puts Eminem, Tech N9ne, and Brotha Lynch On Notice In New Video

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?

First Degree black bane 3First Degree The D.E. defines conscious lyricism with Fahrenheit’s 55 project, Black Bane The Misunderstood Genius Part 1

   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.”

Phonk Beta Black Bane

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 Annimated Face Oji

First Degree Black Bane through the eyes of Oji

Black Bane

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.

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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.

First Degree black bane 5First Degree utilizes green screen for the first time in Say Serra

Say Serra

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 first degree black bane 8

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

Black Bane Cover

Fahrenheit Records’ 55th album, First Degree The D.E. “Black Bane” brings purpose to the underground rap game and hits stores October 20, 2015

Rakim Sacramento Concert

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Rakim Sacramento Concert (And Why It Mattered)

Jimmy Blog For Fahrenheit Insight

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Rakim on the mic in Sacramento

The greatest MC of all time came to Sacramento the summer of 2014. Yea, I said it, Rakim Allah is the greatest of all time. It was a packed house at Harlows, filled with Sactown OGs, and OGettes. The Fahrenheit Insight was in the building and was granted exclusive access to the Microphone Fiend after the show.

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History On Rakim

Rakim was born on January 28, 1968 in New York. He was the lead half of the 80’s & 90’s influential hip hop group, Eric B & Rakim. He is one of hip hop’s early pioneers, and a smooth, intelligent rhymer. The beats he raps to are street, heavy on the drums , and perfectly old school.

During rap’s beginnings, Rakim was seen as the model MC. His ground-breakin, free-rhythm style ignored traditional bar lines, and created its own path. He is called by some “the Thelonious Monk of rap”. His New York-state-of-mind lyrics were intelligent, poetic, calm, yet strong. Rakim was often imitated, but never duplicated. His first few albums, Paid In Full and Follow The Leader, has rhymes that no MCs has or can match. He is highly respected by MTV, BET, Billboard, and has been induced into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Most important of all, he is loved by the hip hop community, world-wide.

Rakim has had eight solid releases, including “Don’t Sweat The Technique”, however these albums never reached the success of Rakim’s earlier albums.

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Rakim In Sacramento

Rakim’s show was thumping. As soon as he hit the stage, grown OGs flocked to the stage like they were teenagers. He performed some old school hits, some mid school hits, and a few new ones. “Microphone Fiend”, and “Juice, Know The Ledge”, had the crowd reciting lyrics, reminiscing on their younger years, and having a good time. Rakim rapped all his lyrics, with no background vocals, without a flaw.

In person it is confirmed, Rakim is a great MC. It was important Sacramento’s hip hop community supported this event, and that they did.

Here in Sacramento, like everywhere else, Rakim had many fans. Rakim’s number one Sacramento fan was super-producer Ace Mak. In addition to being Rakim’s number one fan, Ace Mak looks like Rakim. Ace Mak, like the rest of Sacramento’s hip hop community, was at the Rakim Sacramento concert, and had a good time. “It’s Rakim,” states Ace Mak on why he had to make the show.

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Sacramento packed the house for the Rakim Sacramento concert

“Sacramento!” Rakim chanted, getting the crowd hype.

The show was a hit. The the crowd was diverse. Good times were had. It really mattered that Rakim came to Sacramento. “Why is Rakim in Sac?” wondered Ace.

“I’m glad he is!” replied First Degree The D.E.

On stage, Rakim mentioned that he isn’t cool with Eric B. anymore. Gone are the days of Rakim being backed up by a DJ and turntables. These days, Rakim is backed up by his daughter.

“Follow The Leader felt like home,” explains First Degree The D.E. “I listened to that album over and over for three years. I can remember pulling a out a few years later and bumping it a couple more years! Before coming to this show, I pulled it out again, he can’t be matched!” declares First Degree.

“Old friends are here, lots of Blacks, Whites and all in-between, OGs, and even one of my old students are here. Its a good night for Sacramento,” declares First Degree The D.E. at the Rakim Sacramento concert.

Sacramento rap rakim sacramento concert

Local hip hop celebreties Don Blanco and Ace Mak meet with fans at the Rakim Sacramento concert

sacramento rap rakim concert

Sacramento OGs were in the house at the Rakim Sacramento concert

There are certain people that you put everything down for and go see when they come near. Rakim is one of those beings.

After the show, Rakim sat down with First Degree The D.E. and Fahrenheit Insight. During the discussion, First Degree explained to Rakim the impact he had on the city. He also thanked him for the pioneering he had done for hip hop, and told Rakim about hs Fahrenheit projects. In response Rakim stated, “Its always good to be able to come out to these cities and see the impact we had.” Rakim proved to be very personable and humble during the interview.

“I appreciate being able to be here, be a part of your legacy,” admired First Degree The D.E. to Rakim. “We love you Rakim!” First Degree The D.E. then gave Rakim his SuperBlack CD. “This is about being a super you,” he later explained to Rakim. Perhaps a connection was made.

“Thanks, I’ll check this out no doubt.” Rakim concluded. Rakim then left the building, with left over fans cheering his name.

When rap was new in the late 80’s, early 90’s, it was about informing the world on what was going on in the streets, uplifting the urban community, and informing the people. Rakim was in the middle of this information firestorm. Known as the first established Muslim MC, he rapped with a calm power, or “quiet storm”, that had a major part in raising the hip hop community. This is why the Rakim Sacramento concert was a must see.

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OGs hit the dance floor at the Rakim Sacramento Concert

It was a night for all the Sactown OGs to get together and be Sactown OGs. The power of good hip hop is a binding force. Real hip hop brings people together.

That’s why the Sacramento streets (and beyond) are buzzing about the United Nations debut, self-titled album. Word on the street is that United Nations is going to save Sacramento hip hop. Real hip hop connects people. Many in Sacramento, including many in the hip hop community, want Sacramento’s second chance on top of the rap underground again. The Sacramento rap underground will thrive again, however,  it starts with lyrics that matter. United Nations has a heavy burden to bare. Are they up to it?

 sacramento rap united nations

United Nations

In Stores August 19th!

fah movement

Oji & The Ascension Team 9.16.14

Phonk Beta 10.21.14

First Degree & Brotha Lynch 11.18.14

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