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The Sport-N-Life Compilation Vol. 1

Sportn’ Life Records launched in 2002 with a two-song, twelve-inch rap single. The A-side was called “We Are” by Last Men Standin, and the cut lyrically served as a rectangle-sticker-on-their-chest introduction to the group and the label. The single’s B-side was by Danger, later known as D. Black and now Nissim Black, and titled “You Need A Thug.” Both tracks were produced by Vitamin D of Tribal Productions fame. Sportn’ Life co-founders Devon Manier, Emery “Slim” Buford, and Jamal Henderson quickly began to attract talent, and in 2003 the label put out a massive collection of Seattle hip-hop called The Sport-N-Life Compilation Vol. 1, containing twenty one tracks.

Let me apologize ahead of time to some of the fine artists that I will not have time to mention, there are too many tracks here to cover them all. Danger and Fatal Lucciauno start things off with their excellent “Make A Change.” Both performers have an economic way of rapping, using supply and demand to create phrases, sentences, and verses of extreme value.

The aforementioned Vitamin D carries some weight on Compilation Vol. 1, producing four cuts on the CD. Besides the two songs from the 2002 Sportn’ Life single which both appear here, Narcotik’s easy-paced Seattle classic “Chips To A Cell” from the group’s 1995 album Intro To The Central is also featured. Vitamin’s own track “Pimp Of The Year,” is yet another example of his talent both in the booth and twisting the knobs.

Producer J Bellamy gets flutey on J. One’s pop-sounding “Tonight,” featuring a short rap by Wojack and vocals by Sophia. “No Ordinary” by Footprints is one of my favorites of the whole set. “The rumor is I’d make a million overseas. America, she’s so hard to please,” is one of Proh Mic’s effortless lyrics. Mall Saint also entertains with “Caught In The Red,” showing off his very unique, speedy rapping style.

Three huge names finish the long compilation, Silent Lambs, Fleeta Partee, and Candidt. Sportn’ Life managed to accomplish so much with this ambitious CD. The thoughtful project brought together artists who may not have otherwise appeared together, which added so much character to the listening experience. I would be remiss if Bean One did not get a shout out too, for producing over a dozen beats on Compilation Vol. 1. Written by Novocaine132

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You Need A Thug / We Are

Seattle’s Sportn’ Life Records publicly launched in 2002 with this historic twelve-inch release. Trivia fact, the undulating Sportn’ Life logo was designed by none other than Bean One. This is a monster record! The two songs are top notch, which is no surprise because both beats here come courtesy of Seattle legend Vitamin D.

Side A is “We Are” by Last Men Standin. The group consisted of two rappers, Fleeta Partee, and Jamal “Hectik” Henderson. “From a G to a key, it’s about to get to cracking as soon as I count to three,” begins this hot track. Hectik is a little more laid back in his delivery, while Fleeta’s voice is higher and his lines are served with a little more heat. The two MCs complement each other well, seamlessly combining two different vibes. Unfortunately this was the only single released by Last Men Standin, but fans can still follow Hectik and Fleeta in their solo work.

“You Need A Thug,” by Danger is the B-side. Under the song title, his alternate name “D.black” is printed in parentheses. D Black’s dad is Captain Crunch from Emerald Street Boys, one of the first rap groups in Seattle. “You Need A Thug” is basic yet effective, and even at a very young age, D Black had an uncanny grasp of how to put a catchy verse together. He seems like he is just hanging out with you in a car or on the couch, but the wordplay and delivery is all professional stagecraft.

The year after this single, the label dropped The Sport-N-Life Compilation Vol 1 with classic tracks from stars like Fatal Lucciauno, Silent Lambs, Candidt, Narcotik, and many others. Both members of Last Men Standin had cuts on the 2003 compilation, Hectik gave us “Haters,” and Partee dropped “Sincerely Yours.” In the years that followed, Sportn’ Life became one of the most successful Seattle rap record labels ever, truly a force to be reckoned with. Written by Novocaine132

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