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Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Soul


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D. Black busts out of the gates on Ali’Yah like a man on a mission. Actually, that comparison is unnecessary; the Seattleite MC isn’t like a man on a mission – he is a man on a mission. Ali’Yah is a major stride and statement for an artist who blends social consciousness with personal reflection.

Lest you mistake D. Black’s capacity for soulfulness and tenderness, Ali’Yah begins with an R&B-flavored intro, “Alter Call.” Are sweet nothings to follow? No, instead it’s the militant urgency of “What I Do,” which brings two keys collaborators into the fold: longtime Pac Northwest luminary Vitamin D working the production and Marissa adding a twist of feminine soul on vocals hooks and harmonies. Maybe she hasn’t quite earned the single-name treatment yet, but after she keeps turning up on the album’s best tracks, it seems pretty clear it’s more than coincidence. It’s not that she steals the spotlight – not at all, actually – but instead just serves as a testament to D. Black’s collaborative strengths. He’s assembled a good crew here, and while Vitamin D and Jake One are the big names on the producer list – and both provide clear highlights (Vitamin D’s “What I Do,” Jake One’s “Wake Up”) – no one dominates the proceedings. Other highlights include the GMK-produced “Bring It Back” and the B. Brown-produced “Let It Go.” The album’s straight-up catchiest track, “Yesterday,” featuring production from D. Black alongside B. Brown. And despite all these hands on deck, the album comes together coherently.

As Ali’Yah unfurls, it shifts from the strident “What I Do” and the sunny-sounding pop hooks of “Wake Up” and “Yesterday” to slower street storytelling like “Sugar” and the salute-to-above “Close To Yah.” Taken individually, these tracks aren’t as immediately compelling, but, afforded a little patience, they become probably even more important to the heart and soul of Ali’Yah. D. Black is a compassionate and charismatic MC who is showing signs of capturing an even more elusive c-word compliment: consistent. Is it too soon to start looking forward to the next album?
- By Adam McKibbin

Despite the untrimmed corners of D’Black’s beard in concordance with Leviticus 19:27 and his divinely titled album Ali’yah, Hebrew for “ascent,” the Seattle native’s sophomore LP for the most part sounds secular. With the exception of such songs as “Close to Yah,” and “Yah Have Mercy,” D’Black is indistinguishable from your run-of-mill conscious peace-and-equality preaching emcee. The contemplative Ali’yah does not merely publicize D’Black’s Messianic Hebrew roots, it comments on our imperfect world with a holy confidence.

But how articulate and/or effective is the message? Well, D’Black’s lyrics tend to wobble on the verbal fortitude meter. In a good shuffle, a line from “Bring It Back” like “We’ve all been affected with a virus known as conforming because we all hide us,” will pop out. In a lazy shuffle, one might hear something like this: “The difference between me and you is like the differences between green and blue.”

Throwaway lines aside, Ali’yah tingles with spiritual production. Vitamin D steps in on the polyphonic “Keep it Going,” an uplifting call to humanity. Fellow Seattle dweller Jake One (whose album White Van Music, D’Black can thank for his first national guest spot) cooks up a thumper on “The Return” along with an anonymous in-your-face female refrain. Yet, more than providing a consistent sound, the production on the album shows how much having many voices in unison can really convey spirituality. On tracks like the intro “Alter Call,” and the transcendent “Touch the Stars,” D’Black does not underestimate the power of a seraphic note or three.

Perhaps Ali’yah is aptly named for the Northwestern emcee, who recently inherited part ownership of the Sportn’ Life record label as a birthday gift from his dad. D’Black is continuing his national ascent, fresh off performances at big-time music festivals like Bumbershoot and The Capitol Block Party. As long as his rhyme game ascends as well, this young man seems skyward bound.
- By Sidik Fofana

“Forget about yesterday, today won’t be the same, and we won’t know, what tomorrow brings…” - Refrain from “Yesterday” by D. Black on Ali’Yah
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the person we once were. We dread to recall the downright stupid philosophies of our youth and the havoc our own actions have wrought as a result. Yet those are the things that made us who we are now, the important mistakes and miscalculations that changed our trajectory in life and served as learning experiences that (hopefully) made us wiser in the end. And so it can be just as hard to imagine life as being lived any other way. Without a doubt Sportn’ Life rapper D. Black doesn’t relish his former self, and though that life plays a key role in the compelling impetus of his second record Ali’Yah, he seems determined to move beyond his youth with purpose.
Talking big and acting big is part of the hip hop game, and D. Black’s early material reflects that expectation, doing his best to amplify the often gritty vision of urban life-as-struggle. For Ali’Yah though, D. Black is done playing that game the same way. Like his labelmate Fatal Lucciauno, he’s made a life decision to control his own path, and not let the expectations or demands of a fickle industry distract him from his true calling as an urban philosopher committed to music. The first song from Ali’Yah “What I Do” lays all of this out literally while in “The Return” he’s bluntly rhymes “I can’t associate with them fake ones/to add to their fake bullets coming out of fake guns.”
Socially-conscious hip-hop isn’t exactly new in the Seattle area, yet in Ali’Yah D. Black takes the road less traveled, earnestly depicting himself, his former life, and his own impact in the context of the real world consequences. And he is thinking about impact, not just getting by by doing what you “have to” do. Interludes typically inhabited by repping or something funny or stupid, are instead setting the tone of challenge on the record just as much as the songs. At the end of “What I Do” the channel changes and a voice pipes up: “The question stands, as a genre that uplifted and inspired so many of us, is it now poisoning itself?” These are hot words for one who is himself trying to gain traction in the hip-hop scene, and some will call him preachy for it, yet the force of his example on this record serves to quash any weak retorts that it’s not so easy to turn your back on the game. Not simply inflammatory words, he’s genuinely attempting to engage a nuanced conversation from the inside.
For Wednesday night’s CD release show at the Crocodile, much of the local hip-hop community was in the house either to take a step on stage or simply to show support for D. Black and his latest effort. Spaceman was hosting, and he was determined to make sure his boy had a great show. Darrius Willrich started the night out at the keys, bringing me back to my Stevie Wonder period in college. Dyme Def then followed They Live! who both put up energetic performances to a slowly warming crowd. Once D. Black hit the stage though, the crowd quickly thickened up front into a sea of swaying hands raised in in the shape of an “L.”
While D. Black may be done playing by anyone else’s rules, he certainly hasn’t turned his back on bringing the energy and performance that’s generally expected of a quality hip-hop show. Fully engaging the crowd, he was all smiles and thank you’s, especially for the night’s DJ and prolific producer Vitamin D, a tireless advocate for local hip-hop artists for years. Grynch, Spaceman and Fatal Lucciauno all reprised the roles they played as guests on the album (much like D. Black’s recent Bumbershoot performance), while Sportn’ Life “princess” Marissa made a late set appearance to provide backing vocals on Ali’Yah’s first single “Yesterday.”
As D. Black did the roll call, “Where my South Enders at? Where my North Enders at? Where my blacks at? Where My Jews at?….” he included every group, and got a loud response every time. This moment demonstrated his wide ranging appeal in a striking manner, yet given the dynamic performance it came as no surprise. The next day Abbey commented via twitter, “I’m going to finally say it out loud — local rockers could learn a thing or two from local hip hoppers in terms of performance.” As I left the Croc that night, I couldn’t help but think exactly the same thing.

- By Josh Lovseth, Sound On The Sound

The personal and musical metamorphosis of D. Black is a revelation around the 206 these days. In the span of time between the rapper’s debut album, The Cause and Effect, and his latest LP, Ali’Yah, a transformation seems to have taken place in the young man’s heart, mind, and soul which has much to do with assuming new grown-up responsibilities (marriage and the birth of a child) and, as Black has made very clear in recent interviews, a spiritual awakening that’s granted him new perspectives and motivations on why he does what he does.
Regardless of what you believe personally, the overarching force that gives Ali’Yah its potency is the same rare phenomenon that provides all great music their particular validations: honesty. On his new record, D. Black believes firmly in what he’s doing, which is making music for his children, family, and community without fear of contributing negatively to the advancement of those loved ones. He wants to make responsible music for the betterment of his people. In this sense then, Ali’Yah is a soaring achievement.
The seeds for this revolution were planted in The Cause and Effect which, for all its boastfulness, negativity, and hurt, still contained glimmers of both optimism and recognition of why the old D. Black was full of so much anger. That album’s best tracks were, by far, the introspective ones (”This is Why”, “Survive”) which seem to have paved the way for Ali’Yah, a record that can literally be played anywhere. I would feel equally comfortable bumping this album in my car, around small children, or even in church.
Positivity is the rule of the day here. There is no cursing. All the references to bullets flying are accompanied by a call to those responsible to put their burners down. Tales of graphic street violence are omitted and, in their absence, Black has put-forth challenges to the community to better itself (”Keep On Going”). Spiritual growth is also a major theme throughout Ali’Yah and, while not overtly preachy, Black isn’t ashamed to show reverence for the most high on “Close to Yah” (featuring Sportn’ Life labelmate, Fatal Lucciauno).
And, while Black doesn’t shy away from braggadocio, here it’s accomplished more humbly, less as a way to inflict gratuitous verbal beatdowns on wack-ass rappers (which, incidentally, isn’t necessary — it’s obvious D. Black is one of the best emcees in Seattle) and more as a way to progress his positive message. “The Return” is an edict that serves to announce his grand re-entrance to the game while simultaneously calling-out those fake studio gangsters that poison the art form and culture of hip-hop.
Musically, there isn’t one track that stands head and shoulders above the rest, which is actually okay. Albums that endure over time often stand on their conceptual completeness, a trait that Ali’Yah possesses. You probably won’t see a hit single come off this album but there is a satisfying cohesiveness that’s absent on most hip-hop records. Overall, the production is soulful, with a lot of sung hooks (local favorite Choklate blesses a track), but not at the expense of traditional boom-bap, which is to be expected from the likes of Jake One and Vitamin D who handle most of the arrangements.
It’s probably unfair to compare The Cause and Effect to Ali’Yah because they’re such starkly different albums, but the association is unavoidable. While The Cause contained all the traditional elements of aggressive, street-oriented rap, a secondary listen today — in light of what Black has accomplished on Ali’Yah — reveals a tired sound, an almost lethargic Black compared to the new version who is so obviously energized and excited about a new direction.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Ali’Yah is that the rapper, even though he has so blatantly eliminated the guns, drugs, and women (aka, the “realness”), has not lost his credibility. In fact, he seems to have gained more of it. The word “ali’yah” means “ascent” in Hebrew. Here, D. Black has ascended beyond what other rappers have not, surpassed expectations built by his first album, and become a torch-bearer for what hip-hop music is truly capable of.
- 206 Up Blog

Ali’Yah holds a number of different meaning, all leading back to a spiritual basis of ascending and rising to the occasion. This title automatically triggers a signal of skepticism in my head. Will D.Black be successful in his presentation of a very personal aspect of his life, or will this be another distasteful attempt from a hip-hopper to be conscious? At least we knew the beats were going to be dope, especially with Jake One and Vitamin D handling the majority of the boards. Whether or not Black would step up to the plate lyrically was still the major question at hand.
With the two opening tracks, “What I Do” and “Yesterday”, it becomes apparent that D.Black has grown a significant amount from his past release, The Cause & Effect. Maturity is by far the standout theme throughout these tracks. With lines like, “New life, new day, new breathe, make moves, get through, do your best” from “Yesterday”, D.Black is no longer looking at his past wrongdoings, but rather the spiritual growth he has encountered in his life and what the future holds. He continues his mature drive, lending an inspirational hand on “Keep On Going”, a wonderful production from Vitamin D that urges the audience to continue to push no matter what obstacles they may face.
Black continues to share his insight on heavy hitting tracks like, “Blow The Trump”, another Vitamin D beat, which is filled with sound bites regarding the many fallacies of the world. While “The Return”, one of the Jake One bangers, gives us our first real glimpse at Blacks real hunger behind the mic, claiming it’s “the return of the great one”. All-in-all, everything seems to be going D’s way on Ali’Yah, unfortunately we do run into a few minor blunders.
While the content and focus definitely has it’s upside, it seems where D.Black lacks the most is within his ability to change things up. Although many of the songs do provide sincerity and acumen, it would have been nice to see Black differ the subject matter a bit more. Along with the inability to switch it up content wise, D’s delivery and flow also seem to lack any real diversity, becoming a bit tiresome by album’s end. It would have also been enjoyable to see a bit more action from Black on the hooks, and a little less from all the different R&B singers that appear. Not saying that some of the songs don’t go well with that sort of chorus, but it seems a tad forced on tracks like “The Return” and “Close To Yah”.
D.Black is by no means a lyrical prodigy, but he did succeed in putting together an album of sincerity and cohesiveness. An album that not only showcased his development as an artist, but his expansion as an individual through a spiritual medium. Now that the content and subject matter seems to be tuned quite nicely for D.Black, one can only hope that he continues his grind and works on the few missteps that were experienced during Ali’Yah.
- Reyn, Potholes in My Blog

The Sportin’ Life record release party for D.Black was the culmination of D.Black’s life’s work, so it seems a bit odd to critique it because it was love on display. The audience was full of friends, family, and fans that came far and wide to celebrate the release of Ali’Yah. D.Black has been fundamental to the Seattle hip-hop community for the past decade, and being in his early twenties, that is quite a feat.
D.Black’s appeal stems from him being an organic person. He puts his heart into what he does without holding anything back. Right now, his heart is about up-rise. Enveloping himself, his family, and his music in spirituality, D.Black is stepping up to make a difference with his music. The underlying tone of Ali’Yah is that it’s time for the community to clean up the content we’re giving our kids. What a powerful message.
D.Black came to the stage guns blazing. He knew that the people in attendance were just as invested in this show as he was, and he gave it his all. His musicality was on point with his vocals and dancing. He and the music were one.
Being a family affair, he brought out the contributors to the album one by one; Spaceman, Grynch, Fatal Lucciauno, Marissa, and more. Each artist performed their contribution on the album. Being driven to make this show an evening where the crowd was stimulated throughout, D.Black assessed the everyone’s energy while performing. If he didn’t feel that the crowd was 100% into the song, he cut it and started a new one. “Are you with me?” he asked. “YEEEAAAH!” the crowd roared back.
At the finale, D.Black brought out the entire Sportin’ Life family including the label producers. Standing in the back of the audience at this point with Geologic of Blue Scholars, Geo stated, “This is beautiful. The entire family is up there. This is beautiful.” If I had to sum up the event in one statement, it would be the aforementioned. It was beautiful. The entire family was up there. It was beautiful.
- By Nikki Benson, Seattle Show Gal

Three years ago, the local scene put its chips on D.Black as the next big thing, the next Sir Mix-A-Lot (in terms of fame), Seattle's answer to Biggie and Jay-Z. There was good reason to believe this would be so. He came from hiphop royalty (both his parents were rappers in prominent crews in the early '80s), he was raised in the Central District (the then-epicenter of local hiphop), and he was well connected and regarded. His debut album, The Cause & Effect, had everything a rapper needs to reach the top of the charts. There was lots of anger, heavy doses of street realism, and tunes that were designed to meet all of the standards of pop hiphop: "Get Loose" (a dance anthem), "About Mine" (a hood anthem), and "Nobody" (a VIP anthem built on soothing 808 cowbells that recalled the black elegance moment in pop music). D.Black did everything by the book, but the world beyond the borders of the Pacific Northwest did not respond.
Three years later, D.Black has returned with an album, Ali'Yah, that is the day to The Cause & Effect's night. Whereas the old record had national ambitions, the new record is aimed at the local. The first looked outside; the new one looks inside. The first was mostly about crass materialism; the new one is mostly about the soul. The first had the hypercapitalism of Jay-Z as its inspiration; the new one is inspired by the mysticisms of Common. Even the two titles express a clear rupture: The Cause & Effect is empirical; Ali'Yah is paradisiacal.
"I just got older," explains D.Black over the phone from his place in Skyway. He is preparing to fly to San Francisco on business for Sportn' Life, the label he co-owns with DeVon Manier and the most important black-owned independent label in Seattle. "During the process of making Cause & Effect, I was 17 and 18. Now I'm 22 and will be 23 in no time. But what is happening now is I was able to pick up more responsibilities. I'm married now. I have a daughter. That was really huge. And also there was a kind of music I was listening to. I was listening to Common and Lauryn Hill's old record. And this is my favorite kind of music. So I started connecting with music that came from the inner being."
Not only are the differences striking, but ultimately, Ali'Yah is a better record. What it has that D.Black's first record lacks is focus. Primarily produced by Vitamin D, Jake One, and B.Brown, Ali'Yah does not contain a variety of tracks with a variety of motives—one that should produce a hit, one that should maintain or reinforce street credibility, one that's just right for the club. Instead, it is unified by D.Black's singular concern with the substance/meaning of his life—a life that is in the mode of hiphop and made up of very close relationships with his friends, family, and community.
"The first record was a release," explains D.Black. "The release of growing up in an environment... But with this record, I wanted to show what was going on in the mind of D.Black. The first record was a crying out to the community. This one is outside and crying into the community. From outside, you can see things, look and see the inconsistencies, the spots, the blemishes. In the first record, I was not outside but in the midst. So that's why you can't tell if the first record is glorifying or hating where it's at. It's like you do what you do, but you do what you do because you love it and you can't help but to love it."
The reason why D.Black feels he is on the outside looking in has much to do with the unexpected fact that he's now following and organizing his life around the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism. "I'm a weird case," says D.Black. "I'm not a Christian and I'm not Jewish. So usually what people call a person like me, or the thing that I do, is Messianic Judaism. I have turned to the God of Israel and the Jewish people. I was raised a Sunni Muslim, and I converted to Christianity at 14. I had my up and down moments. But when I moved out of my parents' place and started living with my lady, I started studying Christianity backwards. I started going back to the root. Where did all of it come from? Why is it like this? You know the church knows Jesus was Jewish. But they do not know he was extremely Jewish."
D.Black now spends a good deal of his time studying the Torah. Nevertheless, Ali'Yah is not at all preachy or about spreading his beliefs. It's not like a Christian rap record (dc Talk and what have you). He is not in the business of converting nonbelievers. The album, which contains no curse words, gang boasting, or misogynistic declarations, is above all about hiphop, the difficulties of the art and the effort/work it takes to become a good artist—"My joy, my pain, my life/My beats, my words, my mic," raps D.Black on "Let It Go." There are tracks that have a religious feeling, such as "Alter Call," which is produced and performed by local jazz pianist Darrius Willrich, and "I Believe," which features Spaceman and Choklate, but nothing - By Charles Mudede, The Stranger

While this Seattle rapper’s debut leaned heavy on street rap, he’s adopted a radically different style and outlook for his superior 2nd album. Mostly produced by Seattle beat wizards Vitamin D and Jake One, Ali’Yah features warm, soulful production, some banging beats and D. Black’s authoritative raps blending social consciousness with spiritual uplift. It all adds up to a powerful listen - By Don Yates, KEXP 90.3FM

Seattle emcee D.Black has performed a transformation other rappers take nearly a decade to realize. Trading in the street hustle demeanor displayed on his 2006 debut album The Cause & Effect, Black treats his latest effort, Ali’Yah, as a sign of growth and maturity.
This is evident on “Yesterday,” a motivational record driven by a soulful backdrop. Urging his listeners to see the importance of their future, D.Black rhymes, “How can you ever see what’s in front of you if always lookin’ back?” Listeners may remember the beat for “Keep On Going” from 50 Cent’s [click to read] record “London Girl.” However, instead of sweet talking the latest European woman, Black uses the Vitamin D-laced production to inspire. Understanding the struggle, D.Black mindfully raps, “No we ain’t gotta be cliché / But we gotta live where we stay / So why can’t we say / That we praying for a better day, today.”

The album takes a more serious tone with tracks such as “Sugar” and “Blow The Trumps.” Despite a repetitive sample on the former record, D.Black pieces together a story of beautiful disaster. Describing the life of a lost child on the streets, Black rhymes, “All his life they just told him how bad he was / So he had figured that’s all that he was / Dysfunctional ‘cause he rejects love / and he doesn’t understand even God accepts thugs.” On “Blow The Trumps,” Black attempts to spell out the ills of the world unsuccessfully through sidebar sound bites, and the beat from Vitamin D ends up being the highlight.

Keeping the album Seattle-centric through his producers and guests, the latter third of Ali’Yah by far features Black’s finest work to date. “I Believe,” a grooving record featuring Spacemen and Choklate, one of Sea town’s leading songstresses, sets the right vibe for a celebration. Shouting out his mentor Vitamin D, Black reflects on his journey effortlessly while paying homage to his hometown. Then there’s the crowd-pleaser “Bring It Back,” which is driven by a high-energy beat courtesy of up-and-coming producer/rapper GMK. In retrospect, the only damper here is that Black gets outshined by his Ballard-brethren Grynch. Finally, the album-closing “Close To Yah” embraces the spiritual theme of Ali’Yah perfectly, from B. Brown’s powerful production to Black’s calm rhymes praising the man above. Where other rappers have attempted and failed with these types of records, D.Black succeeds because of his sincere delivery.

D.Black may not be the best lyricist among his peers, but with a project like Ali’Yah, it’s evident that he’s not only shown progress with his lyrical content, but also as an individual. And just like the title of his album (Hebrew for “ascent”), Black is becoming an emcee who understands his position in the greater scheme of things. With that said, watching his growth will be something to look forward to.
- By Edwin Ortiz, Hip Hop DX

Best Joints: Alter Call, What I Do, Yesterday, The Return, Keep On Going, Blow The Trump, Let It Go, Wake Up, Yah Have Mercy, I Believe, Sugar, Bring It Back, Close To Yah and Touch The Stars

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: D. Black first opened eyes with the song "God Like" off of last year's Jake One presents White Van Music compilation. This album features production by mostly Vitamin D & Jake One and it doesn't have a weak moment on it. It's just a solid ass Hip Hop album. D. Black came with the bars & occasionally even vocals & production. Your head will be nodding throughout the whole album and there's nothing to skip. It rarely gets better than that.

Do me a favor and don't sleep on "Ali'yah" if you consider yourself to be a true Hip Hop head. I give it a highly recommended maybe (it barely missed being a mos def). MYX Music is looking to make some serious noise in the years to come. D. Black's opus "Ali'yah" drops on September 15th.
- By Dart, Poisonous Paragraphs Blog


-Full Length Projects-

The Blackest Brown E.P. August 31, 2010 (Digital Only)
Ali'Yah-Sept 15, 2009
The Cause & Effect- July, 2007
Behind the Dirt (Mixtape) - June, 2005


Yesterday- 2009
The 808- 2008
Swing- 2008
This is Why-2007
Get Loose b/w Get at Me -2006
Something Special b/w Move- 2005
You Need a Thug- 2003



D.Black has emerged as one of the Northwest’s hip-hop elite. The Seattle -based MC/Producer was mentored under Vitamin D and currently serves as the flagship artist for Seattle based Sportn’ Life Records. Most recently recognized for his appearance on Jake One’s White Van Music with the song “God Like”, D.Black’s sophisticated rhyme flow combined with his natural ability to fuse technically with producers sets him apart from his counterparts. D.Black delivers soul music that provokes feeling, thought and conversation. Ultimately, D.Black cares about his craft and it shows in his music.

Born in Seattle and raised in a hip-hop household, D.Black’s parents were in The Emerald Street Boys and The Emerald Street Girls, two of Seattle’s pioneering groups. He began making music at the young age of seven and over the years he gained the experience and tools necessary to maneuver his own career. Growing up with his labelmate Fatal Lucciauno, they both used music as a tool to escape the streets. He’s led an active life since high school, going to school, football practice, hitting the studio, performing live, and still having time for his faith and religion. Black is a firm believer in the Messianic Hebrew roots of Christianity and currently runs his own ministry. At the age of eighteen he was given part ownership of Sportn’ Life Records from his father as a birthday gift.

In 2006 D. Black dropped his critically acclaimed debut CD The Cause & Effect, which was a huge regional success. His music, drive, and dynamic stage show proved him to be an unsurpassed talent and huge factor in the Seattle music scene. Fans have grown and given huge support, and local press has definitely caught on. He was invited to perform at some of the region’s most esteemed music festivals such as Bumbershoot and The Capitol Hill Block Party. D.Black’s stageshow is crazy, and he’s shared the stage with some of raps biggest names such as; Nas, Freeway, Bun B, Clipse, Paul Wall, and The Boot Camp Click to name a few.

D.Black and Sportn’ Life Records have partnered with the Bay Area based MYX Music label and together, they are preparing for the September 15th, 2009 release of D. Black’s highly anticipated sophomore project Ali’Yah. The title is Hebrew meaning “to ascend.” The album is chock-full of superior production from the likes of Jake One and Vitamin D, along with Seattle up and comers B.Brown, Kuddie Mack, GMK and D.Black himself. Ali’Yah is a far departure from Black’s debut as this project showcases a more mature emcee. It’s a very inspirational CD, both musically and conceptually.