D-Sane – “Inception” (2022)
A fully remixed and remastered collection of the first 23 songs D-Sane ever made in chronological order. Featuring early songs from Lil Mafia (Skuntdunanna) and Street Level collaborator, Creep-Lo (RIP)! There’s also a 2022 remix of the 1991 song, “One Time’s Rollin'”.
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I started this project shortly after the COVID-19 lockdowns started in March of 2020. I figured I didn’t have anything else to do with my newly built studio, so I might as well dig out my old 4-track recorder and session tapes, and dump it all into my computer for nostalgia’s sake. Most of it has been edited, remixed, and mastered to modern audio standards. Unfortunately, the beats were all recorded in mono, so we’ll never hear them in their full stereo glory. A few song sessions were lost, and I only had copies of those songs on tape to master. I doubt many people will care about this music, but it’s part of my musical legacy and I thought it would be fun to just put it out into the universe so people can hear where it all started. Originally, I went by the name DJ Dave-D. So, when you hear that name mentioned, that’s ME! There’s a whole story behind that name, but it’s not important…lol. Around 1993 is when I switched over to the name D-Sane, which is the name my homies gave me.
A lot of people think my music career started with the group Full Time Soldiers, but the fact is I started making music many years earlier. Initially, I got interested in DJing in the mid-1980s and started using my allowance to buy vinyl. I had a couple of home stereos that I rigged together to be able to play two records at once, but I couldn’t do much with them. No faders, scratching or pitch adjusting. I also had a cheap Casio keyboard with drum pads that I would use to play along with songs and learn the drum patterns, or sometimes I’d play the keys and figure out how to play the riffs. These two things were the inception of my music career, and I was determined to eventually get some real turntables and music equipment.
In late 1989, I came up on some Technics 1200 turntables and a DJ mixer, which got me DJing for real. The Polaroid picture on the cover is a picture of my first DJ setup in my bedroom in early 1990. By all the pictures on the wall and the records, you can see how into Hip-Hop I was. I soon started meeting other kids that were into Hip-Hop and interested in making music like I was. Eventually, I ended up meeting someone that had a drum machine and he showed me how to use it. I started making beats in 1990, and also produced & recorded my first song that summer. I was 16 years old at the time.
I made my first song with a 15 year old Latino MC named “Rhythmo” who was doing a Spanglish-type thing. Rhythmo had some rhymes he wanted to record, and my friend with the drum machine had enough gear to record a song – a mixer, a microphone, and a tape deck. So, I hooked it up and made it happen! I also had my turntables, which I used to do some scratching while Rhythmo was rapping, and then scratch the “catch me if you can” sample on the chorus. It was hella basic, but we made it work. Since we didn’t have a multi-track recorder, we had to do it all in one take. If I remember correctly, we got it on the 2nd take. Rhythmo jumbled some words while he was rapping, but he managed to make it through without stopping. I still have the original cassette tape that we recorded the song “Catch Me if U Can” on all these years later. I recorded it into my computer and tried to clean it up as well as possible, and that’s what you hear on this album.
Around that same time, I started meeting other aspiring rappers from all over Seattle. One was named Matt from the U-District, and another was named “Lil Mafia” (aka Skuntdunanna), who was from South Seattle. I ended up introducing Matt to Lil Mafia, and Lil Mafia gave Matt the name “MC Payback”. Payback’s mom was a school teacher and was very supportive of the arts, and in early 1991 she was nice enough to buy us a 4-track tape recorder, microphone, and monitor speakers so we could start recording songs. He and I started a group called “Execution Style” that year. A lot of it was West Coast influenced “gangsta rap”, which was popular at the time because of N.W.A and other gangsta rappers, but we were also influenced by East Coast Hip-Hop & lyricism, so it was kind of a hybrid of the two. We also didn’t have much in the way of instruments, so I had to make do. I had an Alesis HR-16 drum machine, Payback had a Casio CZ-101 synthesizer, which I figured out how to MIDI up to the drum machine, and my turntables & records. We didn’t really know about choruses or hooks yet, so a lot of the early songs we made were just me scratching between verses.
Through my travels, I met a talented MC from the Central District named “Base Box”. He was part of a crew called Step One Mobb, which later on in 1997 morphed into the supergroup, Mobb Tyght Hustlers. I was supposed to be the DJ for Step One, but I don’t recall ever doing any DJing for them…lol. Base Box ended up introducing me to another talented Central District rapper named “MC Step”. The three of us ended up making a few songs together, but then either fell out or lost track of each other. For shits and giggles, I decided to make a 2022 remix of our 1991 song “One Time’s Rollin'” and put it on the album as a bonus track.
A notable song on this project is “Devil’s Child”. It was the first time I ever rapped on a song. However, I didn’t write the lyrics (Payback did) and I was reading them off the paper while I was rapping. It didn’t turn out that great, but whatever…lol. It was also one of the first songs Lil Mafia and I made together, and featured our homeboy Creep-Lo, who passed away a few years ago. Creep-Lo was also featured on the F.T.S. – Money Motivated, I.K. – Kash Me Out, and Byrdie – Poetic Epidemic albums. Byrdie knew Creep-Lo and reunited us years later, which I’m glad happened. RIP to Byrdie and Creep-Lo!
The Lil Mafia songs, “411 Rest in Peace”, which was a diss track to another local crew called 411, “Devil’s Child”, and “Neighborhood Menace” were all lost. The only copies I have of those songs were old mixdowns on tape, and thus don’t sound as good as the rest that were tracked out into my computer and remixed.
As the years went by and I got new drum machines or gear, my sound evolved. You can hear the evolution from year to year, from a basic drum beat and simple bassline or breakbeat, to synths and instruments. Another notable song is “Premeditated”. It’s the first song I ever made with a sampler. I think it was an AKAI sampler? Somebody let me borrow it, and I ended up sampling/looping some Halloween Sound Effects CD for the track. It was supposed to sound dark and ominous, which I think was definitely achieved!
One of the last songs on the project is a song called “I Think I’m Bouts to Snap” and it’s the first official song I ever wrote and rapped on. We recorded it in early 1995, shortly before Payback and I fell out because of his drug addiction. He was on meth, drifting away from Hip-Hop and into Rock music, and actually ended up pawning the studio equipment his mom bought us for drugs. It’s a shame because I feel like Payback and I were just finally starting to find our sound. The last song I ever recorded there was a solo song called “Mickey’s Ice”, which was just for fun. Some of my friends have heard the “Mickey’s Ice” song before and have asked me about it throughout the years, so I’m sure they’ll enjoy finally being able to have a copy of it.
Thanks for listening and I hope you get a kick out of the first songs I ever made.
01. Rhythmo – “Catch Me if U Can” (1990)
02. Execution Style – “Murder in the 1st Degree” (1991)
03. Execution Style – ”A Breed Apart” (1991)
04. Base Box & MC Step – ”One Time’s Rollin’” (1991)
05. MC Step – ”S.W.A.T.” (Strictly Wicked and Treacherous) (1991)
06. Execution Style – ”Crazed” (1991)
07. Base Box – ”Slaytime” (1991)
08. Lil Mafia – ”411 Rest in Peace” (1992)
09. Lil Mafia – ”Devil’s Child” (feat. D-Sane, Payback & Creep Lo) (1992)
10. Base Box – ”SPD” (I’m Gone) (1992)
11. Execution Style – ”Don’t Even Try It” (1992)
12. Execution Style – ”Game of Death” (1992)
13. Lil Mafia – ”Neighborhood Menace” (1992)
14. MC Step – ”Peer Pressure” (1993)
15. Execution Style – ”Last Laugh” (1993)
16. Execution Style – ”Here’s 2 U” (1993)
17. D-Sane – ”Blowed Away” (Interlude) (1993)
18. MC Step – ”Life on the Edge” (1994)
19. D-Sane – ”Seattle, WA” (Freestyle Scratch) (1994)
20. Execution Style – ”Die Piggy” (Interlude) (1994)
21. Execution Style – ”Premeditated” (1994)
22. Execution Style – ”I Think I’m Bouts to Snap” (1995)
23. D-Sane – ”Mickey’s Ice” (1995)
24. Base Box & MC Step – ”One Time’s Rollin’” (2022 REMIX)
All songs produced, recorded, mixed & mastered by D-Sane. All scratching by DJ Dave-D
Cover art by BARZ! @dbltakegfx and D-Sane
©2022 Street Level Records