Sportn' Life Records
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Sportn' Life Records


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The best kept secret in music


"Blurb from Welcome to Dope Emporium - Dec 6, 2006"

Grynch, Onry Ozzborn of Oldominion, Specs One, Dyme Def, and BeanOne are among the many hiphop artists that will be showing at Dope Emporium, and two of what will be defining indie hiphop labels of 2007 are also taking part: Mass Line and Sportn' Life Records.
While the better known Mass Line mines knowledge rap exclusively, Sportn' Life encompasses an array of hiphop styles. Managed by DeVon Manier, Sportn' Life releases artists that identify with pop hiphop (D.Black), street rap (Fatal Lucciauno), and the backpacker set (J.Pinder). (Fatal's CD drops in late winter and J.Pinder's CD drops in early spring.)
"Integrity and versatility is where we are at," explains Manier. "In my experience with rap labels, people tend to stick to one type of rap. If it is knowledge rap, that's it—that's what they do. If it's gangsta rap, that is what they do. We want to have different things going on. And though we want to go national... [we] think it's better to build fans here first. You know what I mean? If D.Black is being played in Vancouver, BC, then it's easy to get up there and do a show and promote. I think Mass Line has that same attitude, which is why I respect them."
- By Charles Mudede, The Stranger

"Seattle Noise: D. Black - Nov 10, 2006"

WHO: 19 -year-old Seattle hip-hop artist (aka Damian Black)
CAREER DEBUT: Seattle, 1999 (at age 7). D.Black was born into the local hip-hop scene. In the 1980s, his mother, father and uncle were members of pioneering rap groups Emerald Street Boys and Emerald Street Girls. D.Black began working with local hip-hop producer and mentor Vitamin D in the belief that if he produced his own music, performing live would be more satisfying and rewarding. Today, he is co-owner (with CEO DeVon Manier) of Seattle's grass-roots Sportn' Life Records, established in 2001.
SOUND: Inspired by Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Rakim, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and others, Black combines a hard-edged performing style with a deep spirituality that has helped him balance a life of school and live performance. His voice has been described as "a universal smooth sound."
RELEASES: "The Cause and Effect" (debut CD released in July on Sportn' Life Records), "Behind the Dirt" (mix tape) and "Sportn' Life Compilation Vol. 1."
QUOTE: "It's a blessing to know that I carry on a legacy here in Seattle that was started by my parents," D.Black says. "But it's equally as satisfying to be at the forefront of this new movement of hip-hop in our city."
NEXT SHOW: Tonight at 8 (with Common Market, Abyssinian Creole, Silent Lambs Project and DJ Vitamin D), Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St. All ages welcome. Admission: $8. Information:
-- Gene Stout
- By Gene Stout, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"EXCERPT from "We've Got the Beat on Seattle Bands at Mid-year" June 25, 2007 (Sunday Edition)"

..While there may never be another hip-hop act out of Seattle with Sir Mix-size sales, several Seattle acts are talented enough to get national attention, including: Blue Scholars' 2Mass Line comrades Common Market and Gabriel Teodros, Renton boast-rhymers Dyme Def (250,000 MySpace plays) and Sportn' Life Records' acts smooth D. Black — check him at the Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot — and wild-style Fatal Lucciauno.

- By, Tom Scanlon Seattle Times

"EXCERPT from Seattle DJ's pick the up-and-coming, June 25, 2007"

DJ B-Mello and DJ Hyphen, KUBE: Seattle hip-hop station KUBE 93.3 has been playing more local artists than ever, and these two station DJs like this new Seattle wave.
B-Mello e-mailed his might-make-it-big list:
• Dyme Def
• Fatal Lucciauno
• Blue Scholars
B-Mello also spins on KEXP's "Street Sounds" Sunday night hip-hop show, where Fatal Lucciauno "really impressed me with his freestyle a few weeks ago."
Fatal's crazy flow can be heard at
Hyphen's take, also via e-mail: "I think there are a bunch of artists who have a chance to achieve success outside of the NW... Some of the artists that could make some national noise are: Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros, Common Market, D. Black, Dyme Def, Macklemore, Grynch, Vitamin D, Boom Bap Project, Unexpected Arrival, Ricky Pharoe and Grieves."
- By, Tom Scanlon Seattle Times

"My Philosophy, Hip Hop Ya Dont Stop - June 27, 2007"

"Fatal Lucciauno was born Rahmeece Chevosier Howell... he was born in Chicago, Illinois, before he moved to Seattle, Washington... as a child, Fatal dealt with homelessness, drug dealing, and a lot of anger... this is his story... all these events are true... parental discretion advised..."

So kicks off The Only Forgotten Son, the outstanding new album from Sportn' Life's newest face, Fatal Lucciauno. And right off the bat, Fatal connects the dots between his deep street pedigree and an upbringing full of poverty, pain, and disillusionment. It's easy to forget that so-called gangsta rap once provided the most telling commentary in hiphop, but Lucciauno clearly understands the tradition.

Not merely relying on a rep and a sneer, Fatal's confident voice and strident flow (which possesses shades of King Tee) crush a consistently ill sound bed of production from the likes of Vitamin D, D.Black, Brainstorm, I.Am.A.Dot, B.Brown, and Conman. His gangstafied lyrics touch on the expected topics, but with a discriminating eye for detail (check his skewering of corny rap convention on "Who Gives a Fuck"), surprisingly ill turns of phrase ("Rob Zombie sparker/Black Bob Barker") and an intimate understanding of the big picture behind the inner-city violence he willfully immerses himself in (peep the panorama of "Suicide Note"). However, he always makes sure the listeners are with him, often breaking the fourth wall to ask, "Do you get it?"

Fatal—with the aforementioned producers (among others) and a handful of great guest spots (including brilliant R&B performances from Darius Willrich, Zach Bruce, and Marissa)—has crafted an album that is totally absorbing and thoroughly listenable front to back. As the superior follow-up to D. Black's stellar The Cause & Effect, Forgotten Son just bolsters Sportn' Life's already ironclad rep for banging Seattle street hiphop and makes one look forward to their next release (the already buzzing J.Pinder); that's the kind of brand-building the big boys do. I won't even waste my breath telling you not to sleep. Soon you won't be able to. - By Larry Mizell, The Stranger

"Review from April 2007"

“I'll admit that when I first listened to D. Black's album I told myself that it was another case of a local rapper who was better than most of the lyricists in his hometown, but upon repeat listens, I can say The Cause & Effect is a good showcase of production and decent rhyme skills. There were very few tracks on the album I couldn't at least nod my head to, even if I found the lyrics to be cliché. .. “What D. Black’s album proves is that he cares about his music. He allows guest stars on his tracks, but he is never overshadowed by them. If anything, his guests seem to highlight his ability, and we realize he may be the star of his camp. The Cause & Effect is a mix of solid musical choices that seem deliberate and well planned. There’s no skimping on strings, piano and horns and it shows by brightening up what other artists may have turned into a marginal local rapper release. “

3 1/2 Stars. - By Althena Dixon

"Exerpt from: Seattle's Hip Hop Scene comes into its own, April 27, 2007"

“Ambition. Go to any hip-hop show in Seattle these days, and you can smell it. Or find it on your windshield. If you parked your car recently near the Capitol Hill club the War Room, when you came out you would have found a flier on your car advertising one of the city's many hip-hop club nights. Seattle hip-hop is blossoming.”
“…D. Black, 20-year-old co-CEO of Sportn' Life Records, sold more than 4,000 copies of his album hand-to-hand. ..”

"It's not the same town it was 10 years ago," says Jake One, longtime Seattle independent hip-hop producer.

“…Seattle hip-hop will be on full display the next two weeks, first at Swagger Fest, with D. Black and his Sportn' Life Records crew; Dyme Def; the Parker Brothaz; DJ Vitamin D; 8 p.m. Wednesday at Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison, Seattle, $6 (206-324-8000 or”
- By Andrew Matson, Special to The Seattle Times

"Exerpt from Swagger Fest 2007: Seattle's most Flossy and Fly - May 4, 2007"

“If you were in the Emerald City on May 2nd and weren't at Chop Suey for Swagger Fest, I extend my regrets to you, because you missed some of the most dynamic, energy-packed performances Seattle has to offer. With Vitamin D on the ones and twos, Neemah of Unexpected Arrival hosting, and an arsenal of emcees from Soul Guerilla, Sportn' Life Records, and Union Block Teamsters, Swagger Fest did much more than live up to its name. Setting it all off was J. Pinder, from Sportn' Life, who warmed up the young crowd at this all-ages event with tracks from his up-coming album "Back Pack Theory." J. Pinder was followed by a short guest appearance from Live Wire (NYC) of the Hip Hop Project. (If you haven't yet checked a screening of the Hip Hop Project, you can catch it next Tuesday, the 8th at AMC Uptown Cinemas in Seattle). However, things really lit up when Sportn' Life's Fatal Lucciauno hit the spotlight. With his plain hoodie concealing a neck full of chains, and his shouts out to his mama and sister in the crowd, Fatal boasted an irresistible charisma on the stage that was amplified by his power-packed performance. Fatal Lucciauno's debut album "The Only Forgotten Son" hits the stores this summer….” - By, Julie C. for

"Blurb from "Seattle's Spin on Hip-Hop" - February 16, 2007"

A new kingdom

It's been said that Sir Mix-a-Lot is the king of Seattle, and you can debate that from here to the East Coast, but without a doubt there are a whole mess of young'uns ready to create a new kind of kingdom.

Besides Blue Scholars and Common Market, there are guys such as D. Black, who grew up in a household of hip-hop (parents were Emerald Street Boys and Emerald Street Girls) and is now blazing on the Seattle-based Sportn' Life Records label.

I remember Daycamp Garfield to Rainier
when trouble was my first love I was never scared
got my ass whooped for going to school with a gun
that's when I learned that trouble wasn't fun

-- D. Black, "This is Why"
- By Athima Chansanchai, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Blurb from"

There's been a boom in dope street hiphop as of late, and I will be putting you up on it in the next couple columns; first things first is definitely D. Black's The Cause and Effect. Combining Black's hunger with the cream of the NW's production talents, this is an album you have to fuck with if you are checking for that local heat. DeVon Manier's Sportn' Life Records enlisted the trifecta of Bean One, Vitamin D, and Jake One (among others, including Black himself) to lace this long-awaited release.

While adept with the boasts ("Fuckin' with Me") and the narrative ("The Story of Roger") both, Black's best moments actually come when he's at his most candid, such as the heartfelt "This Is Why," where he runs down a formidable litany of obstacles, or the moving eulogy to his mother, "Secret Place." Somewhere in between this vivid reporting and the sneering South End swagger is one of Seattle's best talents—the streets don't lie.

- Larry Mizell, The Stranger


Sportn' Life Records/Albums

2007 "Only Forgotten Son"- Fatal Lucciauno
2006 "The Cause and Effect"- D.Black
2005 "Behind the Dirt Mixtape" - D.Black
2003 "The Sportn' Life Compilation Vol 1."- Various

Sportn' Life Records/Singles

Watch My Back b/w Opportunity- Fatal Lucciauno

This Is Why- D.Black (2006)

Get Loose b/w Get at Me - D.Black (2006)

Something Special b/w Move- D.Black (2005)

Big Boys- D.Black (2004)

You Need a Thug b/w You Need a Thug- D.Black b/w Last Men Standin (2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Currently Unavailable

Sportn' Life Records has been compared to Roca Fella Records, Bad Boy and Death Row.