Sacramento Rap History, Part One
Written by Jimmy Blog & First Degree The D.E.
First there was dance, then there was rap.
In the late 70’s, early 80’s, when hip hop as being created at block parties in Brooklyn, New York, Sacramento had break dancers. This was a time that created funky-fresh clothing, break dancing, electric keyboards, boom boxes, heavy drum tracks, and other roots of the hip hop culture. This era gave eventually gave birth to the “Breakin’” movie series, “Krush Groove”, and many more. To be the king of Sacramento in those days, you had to not only know how to pop, but survive and control a dance battle. The main DJ in town was DJ Darryl Dennis, pumping up local events. DJ Darryl was the local star, that was until The Triple Threat Three, which was DC Ray, Mike C and Captain K hit the scene. They were rappin’.
DJ Darryl Dennis, Masters Of The Mix, & Captain K’s dance single “Sweat”. Check it out HERE!
For the record, DC Ray was the first Sacramento rapper, and The Triple Threat Three was the first Sacramento rap group.
Around 1980ish, East Coast pioneers like The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Run DMC were creating a genre, defining a culture. Their messages were about fun, respect, and what was going on in the hood. DC Ray and The Triple Threat Three started around this time. As there was high school dance battles, South Sacramento became known for intense rap battles as well. “Burbank was the main battle spot, then MCs from everywhere started comin down,” reflects DC Ray on Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour Urban Talk Show. Eventually, Sacramento’s unique hip hop style was on display in alleys, house parties, DJ parties, high schools, and dance clubs in the form of freestyle rap. It was pure, urban expression. It was the stuff that created what Sacramento is now known for; hard edged, in your face reality. When the dust settled, DC Ray and the Triple Threat Three became our Sactown representatives. They were 16.
Paystyle's E-Moe getting down with DC Ray in Sacramento
During DC Ray’s recent appearance on Fahrenheit Radio’s “Fahrenheit Hour”, First Degree The D.E. mentioned the Rakim show and story they were writing for Fahrenheit Insight. “I was before Rakim!” includes DC Ray. Wow. “Back then, you had to sell your music out the trunk like Too Short,” remembers DC Ray.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Two
Once DC Ray became the King Of Urban Sac, the buzz exploded past our Sacramento borders and reached the Bay area and eventually, Los Angeles and New York. It was at this time that Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records and new rap group Run DMC were blowing up on the East Coast. Run DMC decided to take their block party on the road. That road lead to Sacramento, and in 1983, The Triple Threat Three, Whodini, and Run DMC did a show at The 2nd Level in Sacramento. It was Sacramento’s first big rap show. A 13-year-old Kevin Mann (Brotha Lynch Hung) was front row, and all the local up-and-coming MCs were in the building. The Triple Threat Three turned the party out, getting the attention of Russell Simmons. After the show, Russell Simmons told The Triple Threat Three crew about their new label, Def Jam Records. Russell Simmons offered them a contract with one catch, they had to move to New York. Two of the Triple Threat Three were in, one was out, citing the mystery of Def Jam Records. At the time, Def Jam was still an up-coming label from a coast far away. Since the members of the Triple Threat Three were a group, they stuck together and declined Def Jam’s offer. On the Fahrenheit Hour, First Degree and DC Ray reflect on how the Sacramento rap game could have been much more had they gone to New York.
Russell Simmons brought his Def Jam crew to Sacramento in 1983 in rap’s beginnings, also offering Sactown’s Triple Threat Three a contract
Run DMC, Whodini, and The Triple Threat Three set the Sactown rap scene ablaze with Sacramento’s first big rap show.
In time, DC Ray and The Triple Threat Three’s battle-proven style, grit, and lyrical emphasis had made its way to Cletus Anderson and Saturn Records in Los Angeles. Saturn Records signed The Triple Threat Three and released “Scratch Motion”. Scratch Motion was Sacramento’s first official single in stores! It was 1984. An up-and-coming DJ named Dr. Dre was on the scratch! Yes, THE Dr. Dre scratches on Sacramento’s first rap record, Scratch Motion. There were records, and they were in stores. Sacramento had a hero, much earlier in the rap game than many are aware of.
Sacramento’s first rap song, Triple Threat Three’s “Scratch Motion” You can hear HERE!
Dr. Dre of the World Class Wreckin Crew scratched on Sacramento’s first single, “Scratch Motion”
On the Fahrenheit Hour episode with DC Ray, First Degree offers, “If you ever get Brotha Lynch real drunk, he’ll tell you the story about how the Triple Threat Three/Run DMC show got him in the rap game for real! Haha. He was in the front row, yada yada yada, he fell in love with the rap game”
“I remember when he was Kevin Ice Cold, what he was going by at the time. C-Bo was just comin up, he’s always been reppin’ that name.” DC Ray recognizes. “I like Brotha Lynch cuz he always gives props bout where it all came from. Its good that there are people like yourself, D.E., to document our history.”
Sacramento Rap History, Part Three
After rocking Scratch Motion for a couple years in clubs in town and on the road, the Triple Threat Three crew needed another single. They hit the studio and created a tribute to Marvin Gaye called “We Love You Martin”. It was 1985, and The Triple Threat Three was traveling the coast, turning out shows. Other Sacramento MCs, like Oak Park’s Homicide, The Godfather, Bad Mouth C, and Young Dre D were making names for themselves as well. By this time, the hip hop culture had taken over the city. The hero of the city was on records in stores. DC Ray also had a TV show on Public Access, interviewing stars.
While DC Ray was expanding expectations with his TV show, the next generation of rappers was chiseling their rap skills at the local high schools and street corners. This time, the young generation was mainly battling at Kennedy High in South Sacramento, aka The K-House. As with the generation before it, this next breed of rap battlers would engage after school and the best from other schools would come to test their skills in the arena. Familiar names like Brotha Lynch Hung, C-Bo, Triple Sicx, Luni, Marvaless, First Degree The D.E., Be Gee, AK47, and many more were free-styling their way into Sacramento notoriety.
Sacramento’s Luni Coleone pays respect to DC Ray at a local event
The main hoods contributing to the new underground rap movement was Meadowview, The Garden Blocc (Florin Road), Greenhaven, Oak Park, Del Paso Heights, and Freeport. The Freeport area became a serious rap proving ground. Sac pioneer Ace Mak (Ace Of Spades at the time) was a producer and influenced many of the household names you know of today. “Ace Mak taught me to make beats,” First Degree exclaims. Freeport groups like Black Rage (Ace, AK, and Marvaless) and The Wicked lead the new generation rap underground. The town had something special on the bubble, their own sound, their own buzz, their own chip.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Four
In the late 80’s, DC Ray was introduced to Cedric Singleton, a young strategist from Ohio, equally hungry for the game. “Ced Sing” was starting a new label with Robert Foster called Black Market Records. DC Ray and Black Market Records came together and released Black Market’s first single, DC Ray’s “What’s The Matter With Your Life?”. At this time, DC Ray was still the only Sac rapper in stores. Black Market and DC Ray’s relationship eventually got complicated and the two moved on. To this day, there are a few things DC Ray would like to hear Ced Sing say.
Black Market’s first single was DC Ray’s “What’s The Matter With Your Life?”
During the recording of The Fahrenheit Hour, DC Ray states that he would like Ced to clean up the mess he made, admit some of his wrongs, and move forward. “I can see he is trying to make everything right now,” DC Ray defends. “But I could have signed with Atlantic Records!” He then goes on stating that Atlantic Records was interested in him. Atlantic was told DC Ray wasn’t interested. DC Ray suspects someone at Black Market told Atlantic that he wasn’t interested. “We could have done a better job with ‘What’s The Matter With Your Life’,” DC Ray also realizes out loud.
By the early 1990’s, Black Market Records was preparing a take over, They released Homicide and was building their brand. It was then that a young Dalvin Pipkins (eventual owner of Death Trap Records) walked newbies X-Raided and Brotha Lynch Hung into the Black Market office. Also during this time, Bobby T and C-Bo, affiliates with Vallejo underground up-comers E-40 and The Click, were getting their situation together and had big plans of their own. Dalvin, Be Gee, First Degree The D.E., Young Joker, and Phonk Beta were on the verge of making history as well. Colossal things were on the horizon for these rap pioneers and the city of Sacramento.
The actions of these young trailblazers later started the Sacramento rap era you think you know. Do you really know? Find out on part two of “The History Of Sactown Rap”, here on Fahrenheit Insight!
You can hear this interview with DC Ray in its entirety soon on Fahrenheit Radio and Youtube.
The History Of Sacramento Rap (Part Two, The Rise) - The Fahrenheit Record Blog
The History Of Sacramento Rap (Part Two, The Rise)
Written by First Degree The D.E. and Jimmy Blog For Fahrenheit Insight
Note: Sacramento rap history. Before writing part two of this series, The Fahrenheit Insight sat down with Black Market Records’ owner Cedric Singleton after his appearance on Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour Urban Talk Show. This was to discover the truth about the peak of the Sacramento Rap Game.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Five
Picture it, its 1992, and Northern California rap music was on the rise. Sacramento had it’s underground hip-hop king, DC Ray, but who would be prince?
Cedric Singleton, a young producer from Ohio, had come to Sacramento State University to play basketball. He ended up staying in Sac and setting up shop as a music manager and producer. He was hungry for the rap game, and had help. He started Black Market Records, put out Oak Park’s Homicide, and his vision was official. Through parties and the music scene, he met a young Brotha Lynch Hung and X-Raided. He heard their talent and decided to go all in. Little did he know the crazy stories he’d be a part of. Little did he know the impact he and his Black Market Records crew would have on our region, and the world.
Homicide’s “Knockin’ Off All Weak MCs” was Black Market’s first album
By this time, Sactown rap crews, with their own sound and serious heat, carved up rap battles all throughout the region. Bloods and Crip gangs were infiltrating Sacramento streets as well. Northern California rap had become the hottest underground rap hub in the world. Northern rap pioneers E-40 and The Click, produced by Mike Mosely and Sam Bostic, had the nation appreciating the unique, Northern California hip hop culture. Street crews like The Garden Blocc’s Brotha Lynch Hung and C-Bo, Meadowview’s Be Gee, Rup Dog, and AK47, Greenhaven’s First Degree The D.E., Crucial Point and DJ Urban Thesis (MC King at the time), and Freeport’s Ace Mak (Ace Of Spades at the time) and Ms. Marvaless ran the underground through the battle rap circuit.
Sacramento’s rap sound was hard, dark, and reality based. Music producers like Phonk Beta, Mike Mosely, Sam Bostic, Ace Mak, Brotha Lynch, and First Degree The D.E. created the musical sound. It was a quality, rich sound that many had a part of. It was a sound that made Sacramento stand out.
Black Market Records owner Cedric Singleton explains on a recent episode of The Fahrenheit Hour that although everyone ended up in different crews, on different labels, everyone felt connected. In the beginning, all of the pioneers participating in the Sacramento music game were a family, working together.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Six
After meeting X-Raided at a DJ party and hearing his “Psycho Active”, Cedric knew he had a hit on his hands. On Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour, “Ced Sing” as Cedric Singleton is called, remembers just finishing the X-Raided when, “I had heard about something that happened about a mile and a half away form my house.” It was the murder of Patricia Harris.
Ced then states that X-Raided came to his house and said, “Im gunna have to get outta town, something happened.” They officially signed contracts, then he was gone.
A few days later on the news, Ced heard that police in Arizona had caught someone wanted for murder in Sacramento. That’s where X-Raided had told him he was going. When Ced Sing put two and two together, he was shocked. The artist he had just signed was arrested for murder. It wasn’t the last time Ced Sing would be shocked by one of his artists.
“The media took off with it, connecting some of X’s lyrics to the killing,” summons Mr. Singleton. Although Ced owned the album, he still had reservations about putting it out. “I was conflicted about it, so I went to the house were she (Patricia Harris) got killed and I went to see Mr. Harris (husband of Patricia Harris). He told me to put out the record, siting that freedom of speech was more important than anything I can tell you.” Strong words, from a strong man, at a trying time.
X-Raided’s “Psycho Active” was a controversial album due to the artist’s alleged participation of Meadowview’s Patricia Harris
“After that, there was nuthin’ anyone could say to me about puttin’ the record out!” exclaimed Cedric Singleton on Fahrenheit Hour. The sound of his voice had stress and experience in it. It was obvious that there was a lot of controversy he experienced with putting out the X-Raided albums. However, getting the blessing from the victim’s husband put his mind somewhat at peace.
Black Market continued to drop X-Raided albums from prison. X-Raided would get a recording device smuggled inside prison, the inmates would keep voices down, and they made hits.
Outside of Sacramento’s borders, X-Raided is a jailed hero. “Free X-Raided”, fans say. However often, the public only hears one side of a story. Within Sacramento’s borders, it is much different story. X-Raided is a controversial figure. Some love him because of his flow, Sacramento rap pioneering, and hard core reputation. Some hate him because of the woman he and his friends were convicted of killing. The woman killed in the home invasion was Patricia Harris, a kind, innocent, Meadowview grandmother.
With Black Market’s push, and a cutting edge flow, Brotha Lynch Hung’s “24 Deep” shocked the country
Sacramento Rap History, Part Seven
“He came to me with 24 Deep before we even had a contract,” Cedric Singleton reflects on Brotha Lynch on Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour.
By this time, it was 1993. Black Market was a well oiled machine. Ced remembers the promotion trail, hitting 22 cities, promoting the Black Market/Sacramento rap movement. “It wasn’t work, it was fun,” describes Ced. Ced Sing and the Black Market crew were traveling the country, getting people on what was going on in Sacramento. Black Market had a serious presence on the road because of the road work they did. First Degree recalls Andre Nickatina once saying, “It was like 94, I was in Pennsylvania. I went to the record store and there was a giant display of Brotha Lynch right in the front!”
“I can remember being at Dr.Dre’s ‘Up In Smoke Tour’ in San Jose. While promoting, I noticed Black Market had 30 people in the front, picketing Brotha Lynch!” reflects First Degree The D.E. on Fahrenheit Radio’s Fahrenheit Hour. Ced then goes on to say they hit the whole tour, all 44 dates across the country. Wow.
All of the grass roots leg work paid off. Black Market dropped Brotha Lynch’s “24 Deep”. It was the first Sacramento rap album to hit the Billboard charts. It debuted at #87. This was a big deal. The combination of Brotha Lynch’s raw talent, sampled beats, and an album cover with him in a casket, made it easy for Ced Sing to promote. “Its all about the artists’ talent, a label can only lead you to the water,” Ced clarifies.
“I can remember going into Black Market back in the day, and everybody was working!” exclaims First Degree The D.E. on Fahrenheit Hour.
The success of Black Market inspired others. It let them know they could do it, too. Black Market’s success lead to the creation of other Sacramento rap labels. The main two labels spawned by Black Market’s success were AWOL Records and Death Trap Records.
C-Bo’s “Gas Chamber” was AWOL’s first big release
Sacramento Rap History, Part Eight
AWOL Records was owned by Freddie T Smith. Freddy and Cedric Singleton were friends. “To this day, Freddie is like a little brother,” reveals Ced Sing. Their artists included C-Bo, Ms. Marvaless, Pizzo, and Lunisicc. Freddie and AWOL Records followed the same blue print as Black Market; grass roots, taking it to the people in their city. Bobby Grey was also a big part of AWOL’s success. He died at a young age from a heart attack. Despite the loss, AWOL was a very successful record label.
“AWOL was able to put out three, four, five C-Bo albums, it was a consistent machinery that was building both the artist and the label.” Ced explains. When speaking on Freddy Smith, Mr. Singleton elaborates, “There was never any animosity, jealously or anything like that. A couple times Freddy went to jail he would call me, and I would do what I could to help him in whatever the situation that he needed.” Black Market and AWOL weren’t competitors, they were an alliance. An alliance with the purpose to nationally represent the Northern California region, and make money doing it. C-Bo’s peak was an appearance on 2Pac’s “All Eyes On Me”, released by Death Row Records. AWOL’s baby brother in the Sactown music game was Death Trap Records.
Death Trap Records’ Be Gee, First Degree The D.E., and owner Dalvin Pipkins at #Be40
Death Trap Records was owned by youngster Dalvin Pipkins. During Be Gee’s recent “Be40” event, Dalvin explained to Fahrenheit Insight that City Hall Records’ Walter Zelnick once called Dalvin, “the youngest in the game.” Dalvin started Death Trap Records at age 22. The Death Trap stable included Be Gee, First Degree The D.E., Phonk Beta, Young Joker, and many more. “Being part of the Death Trap crew, making hits in Davlin’s garage, was a good, pivotal period in time,” comments First Degree The D.E.
“I remember Dalvin and Death Trap. Dalvin was just a cool guy. I never looked at him as competition.” analyzes Ced Sing. This goes back to the mood that all the labels were working together for the sake of their own label, and the city. “My thinking was more like that, if we are able to elevate this region, its better for everybody,” wisely explained Ced Sing. “We were doing interviews with The Source, why?! Because people were curious on what was going on in Sacramento.”
Be Gee’s “Ya Gotta Be Gee”, released by Death Trap Records in 1993, is arguably the best rap album to drop out of Sacramento
However, “Of the labels, Black Market was the most organized. top to bottom,” Ced Sing admits.
Ced sites that the unity was one of the main reasons it was all working. “Following the same stream, you know who your fans are. Theres a familiarity with that old school machinery.”
Sacramento Rap History, Part Nine
Eventually, all of the street buzz Black Market created got the attention of major labels, including Priority Records. Other Sacramento artists, like R&B artists D.R.S. (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and hip hop’s Funky Socialistics had made a name for themselves as well. Black Market had been distributing many successful albums, including Master P’s first group album, “TRU”. “Master P wouldn’t sleep for three, four, five days,” remembers Ced Sing, siting Master P’s motor and mind.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were flying around by this time. The majors, particularly Priority Records, desperately wanted in.
Once the Northern California rap game blew up, the majors wanted a piece of the action. Priority had a strategy, sign all of these Northern California labels to label deals, taking over the competitors. Current Strange Music Vice President David Weiner was working at Priority Records at the time. He is the one responsible for bringing Black Market to Priority Records. It was a game changing event. Sacramento music had hit the national scale. Their first album together was Brotha Lynch Hung’s “Season Of The Siccness”, a raw, horrorcore, gang-banging tour through the streets of South Sacramento. It had a mild sales start, however, it was extremely consistent, selling 5,000 copies a week for several years! Once again, the combination of Lynch’s shocking, real life, meticulous, sick flow, combined with Black Market’s work, was making history. This time on a national level. “Season” hit #26 on the Billboard charts. Season Of The Siccness has since gone platinum, one million units sold.
David Weiner and Priority Records then went to sign J.T. The Bigga Figga of Get Low Records, and Master P of No Limit Records to lucrative label deals, ranging from (tune in to Fahrenheit Hour for numbers!). These deals paved the way by Black Market’s more humble deal.
Brotha Lynch Hung’s “Season Of The Siccness” has gone platinum
During this time, C-Bo and AWOL Records had also reached a national audience. The AWOL sound was hard core , produced by E-40 producer, Mike Mosely. C-Bo, Ms. Marvaless, and Lunisicc were doing the rap game big, 100%. It was fun to watch both Black Market and AWOL Records try to out do each other. It was more like brotherly encouragement, then competition.
First Degree The D.E.’s “Southbound” (cassette version) continued the Death Trap history of hits
Death Trap Records was in full swing as well. Although Death Trap didn’t have the notoriety on Black Market and AWOL, they were gaining ground in the West coast underground. The first Death Trap release was Be Gee’s “Ya Gotta Be Gee (1993)”. Be Gee was one of the champion of the Kennedy rap battle circuit. With Phonk Beta playing live keys, the sound was classic, and the album was a serious hit. It was arguably the best album to come out of Sacramento. The next album was Young Joker “Who’s Laughin At Cha (1994)”, and next was First Degree The D.E.’s “Southbound (1995)”. The combination of live keys, live bass, and a hard-core edge made Death Trap unique, but still Sacramento. A Latin rap pioneer named M Sane was also hitting the scene. It was the best of times.
It is important to mention that there were other labels and artists putting in work in Sacramento at this time. Marv Mitch and Lemay and Out Tha Drout Recordz were putting’ it down. Big Rock and T Nutty were getting themselves situated for their campaign, and from the north side of Sacramento, Hollow Tip, Dangerous Dame and High Side Records were also gaining attention. Gangsta Dre and Big Hollis were making Sacramento rap history as well. There are other house hold rap names that got their start in Sacramento as well.
Sacramento Rap History, Part Ten
Mac Dre, once released from prison, started Thizz Entertainment in Sacramento
Although Mac Dre is from Vallejo, once he got out of prison for bank robbery, he started Thizz Entertainment in Sacramento. “Mac Dre is not from Sacramento, but he was based here in Sacramento. Got got started about the same time we got started. He was in Vallejo when all that stuff happens, but when he was Thizz Entertainment, all that stuff was Sacramento based.” Ced informs. As mentioned, Master P had Sacramento roots as well.
“I remember seeing Mac Dre at my local liquor store, and him tellin’ me I was in his movie (Treal TV)!” First Degree proudly reflects.
Big Lurch, was another Black Market artists that sold a lot of units. He is serving a life sentence for murdering 21-year-old female roommate Tynisha Ysais and eating parts of her body while under the influence of PCP in April 2002. Many Black Market artists have crazy stories. Amazingly, Brotha Lynch Hung would end up being one of Black Market’s most normal stories. Which leads us to Mr. Doctor from the Garden Blocc.
Mr. Doctor was a half Black, half White, young OG from South Sacramento’s Crip lead Garden Blocc. “When we were making the album, Mr. Doctor got shot,” Ed Sing recalls. “We were in the middle of finishing that album up, he ended up surviving, and we went on to finish the album, and that album was an incredible album.” Ced reflects on Mr. Doc. on The Fahrenheit Hour. First Degree The D.E. proclaims that Mr. Doctor’s first solo, released in 1995, was his favorite Black Market album. He asks Ced to give more details.
Garden Blocc’s Mr. Doctor was all about that gangsta life
“What happened with Mr. Doctor, after ‘Setrippin Bloccstyle’ came out, Mr. Doctor was one of those cats that was in these streets bout it bout it, there was no playin’, no fakin’ with that cat.” Ced reflects. “Someone shot his house up. Some guys came out from his neighborhood and shot those guys up, and somebody ended up getting killed. Everybody went to jail, Mr. Doctor was the last one to get arrested,” Ced offers. “People sayin’ that he was a snitch and all that, I don’t know the true about that.” Mr. Doctor ended up spending two years in jail while Black Market Records took care of his family. Once out, Mr. Doctor continued to release albums, “but had lost that edge because he matured in jail,” Cedric Singleton rationalized. Also Brotha Lynch had stopped making his beats. “I think he was scared,” offers Ced Sing.
By this time, deals were being made for hundreds of thousands of dollars. To hear actual amounts, listen to The Fahrenheit Hour #26, coming in August on YouTube.
Ms Marvaless’ first solo “Ghetto Blues”, released by AWOL Records, established her as the Queen of Sacramento rap
Brotha Lynch Hung’s “Loaded” turned the rap game upside down
Sacramento Rap History, Part Eleven
In 1996, the Sacramento sound was played and admired in every ‘hood in America, from L.A. to New York. It was time for a new Brotha Lynch album. Things were on the up, and Brotha Lynch and Black Market signed a lucrative contract for five years. Want to know for how much? Tune into Fahrenheit Hour’s Ced Sing appearances.
By this time, Brotha Lynch had reconnected with producer genius, Phonk Beta. In turn, Phonk Beta brought his long time Death Trap running mate, First Degree The D.E. into the picture. The scene was set for excellence, and excellence happened. With a professional, dark, cutting edge, lyrical, live keyboard, rubber bass sound, Loaded was enjoyed by underground rap lovers world-wide. Some were expecting the more street gang-banging style Lynch displayed in Season, but most were ready for the maturation of their favorite underground artist. Loaded was Sacramento’s rap momentum peak. Many argue it is the greatest piece of art the region has ever produced.
C-Bo’s “The Autopsy” kept the AWOL hits coming
First Degree The D.E.’s “Planet Zero” was Fahrenheit Records’ first official release
After Loaded, it was time for First Degree The D.E. to release an album, “Planet Zero”, which is his most popular to date. Once completed, with help from Phonk Beta and Brotha Lynch, First Degree The D.E. went to long time label partner, Dalvin Pipkins to put the album out. Once Dalvin met with City Hall Records’ Walter Zelnick, it was on, and Planet Zero hit the shelves. However, as soon as Planet Zero was released, Dalvin allegedly got high on drugs and rammed a cop car. Once released, he did it again a few weeks later! He was destined to be locked up a long time after that.
Davlin’s mishaps prompted the birth of Fahrenheit Records. First Degree visited the Sacramento jail of several occasions dealing with contract issues, but eventually got full rights to Planet Zero and has gone on to release over 40 more albums, including D.E.’s next album “Damn That D.E.” and “FU1”. Mr. Pipkins remembers, “Walter said Planet Zero had the most buzz of anything he had at the time!” The Fahrenheit crew included First Degree The D.E., Soupbone, an OG rilla from Freeport rap circles, and M Sane, a terror smashing pimp from the streets of L.A. Like Black Market, Death Trap, and AWOL, Fahrenheit Records had its own, world-wide, cult-like following.
“Does Brotha Lynch real eat scabs” First Degree recalls The Click’s B-Legit once asking him. “And yes, he was serious.” At this time, stars and the streets alike were fascinated with Sacramento music. This was also the time Siccness.net, an underground community based around Sacramento rap started by Roloc, was born.
The History Of Sacramento Rap (Part Three, The Fall) - The Fahrenheit Record Blog
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 nikka 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.
[[IMG]] C-Bo’s Final Chapter was his last with AWOL Records
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 fukk 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.
Written by Jimmy Blog and First Degree The D.E. for SacramentoRap.com