D. Black, aka Damian Black, was born into a family of late-'70s/early-'80s hip-hoppers. His father and mother were members of the Emerald Street Boys and the Emerald Street Girls, respectively, who are locally recognized as being Seattle's first hip-hop groups. Raised in South Seattle, Black first went by the stage name Danger when he began recording rhymes in his preteens. When Black was about 13 years old, Seattle DJ/producer and local mainstay Vitamin D moved his studio into his stepfather's basement, which presented Black the opportunity to develop skills in production. Some of Black's first official releases were produced under the Seattle veteran's tutelage. In 2004 when he was only 18 years old, Black was named CEO of Sportn' Life Records by his stepfather. As he built the label's roster, Black established his reputation in the city with popular underground mixtapes and singles, such as "You Need a Thug" and the Jake One-produced "This Is Why." His hardcore posturing and graphic portrayals of his upbringing definitely stood out, since Seattle's growing hip-hop scene was heavily geared toward alternative rhymesayers like Blue Scholars and Gabriel Teodros. Still in his late teens, Black solidified his fan base with his highly in demand debut album, The Cause & Effect (2006), which boasted production from Seattle's top beatmakers: Jake One, BeanOne, and, of course, Vitamin D.