by Chris Estey
Long-time, legendary, much loved Seattle hip-hop label Sportin’ Life is about to put out D.Black’s second album with the Bay Area-based MYX Music Label midway through this month (September 15 is the exact drop date).
Chatting with inspiring SL founder DeVon Manier at the Capitol Hill Block Party earlier this summer, it seemed his partnering with Damian Black is going to give him plenty to do this season, as a pre-release buzz has been more like a full-on roar of anticipation for Ali-Yah. Catching his talents during the Sportin’ Life set only confirmed it.
Featuring production from Vitamin D and Jake One (White Van Music) D.Black is bold about life changes in faith on new tracks like the deeply impressive “God Like,” which breaks many boundaries of confession and storytelling for a NW hip-hop emcee. Thus the title of the album, which translates to “ascend” in Hebrew (appropriately).
D.Black was born in Seattle and was raised into the art of hip-hop by parents active in the milieu, and his growing legion of followers only amped out with his appearance on the critically-acclaimed White Van Music (which got national distro through Rhymesayers last year). His collaborations with Young Buck and 50 Cent showed how respected his production skills already are, as it all helped to get a San Francisco label with a great rep and a fresh hit (Keelay & Zaire’s Ridin’ High) to co-sign the full-length.
When curious new listeners hear elevated tracks like “Let It Go” and “Closer to Yah,” it will all seem like a master plan. Come hear and see D.Black give a strong message of redemption and rhythm to the crowd at Bumbershoot the night of Sunday, September 6, at 8 PM at the EMP/SFM Sky Church.
D.Black with Grynch performing “Bring It Back”