Although not a huge name in hip-hop, Oakland, CA, gangsta rap outfit Black Dynasty had a regional Bay Area hit when they recorded their 1995 single "Deep East Oakland." Locally, the song became an anthem; just as Boogie Down Productions' "South Bronx" was a favorite in the Big Apple (especially the Bronx) and N.W.A. represented Compton, CA, "Deep East Oakland" celebrated the eastern part of the city that offered everyone from Too Short and Digital Underground to MC Hammer and Oaktown's 357. But Black Dynasty was active in the Bay Area several years before "Deep East Oakland" was recorded. The group actually goes back to the late '80s, when Kariem Abdullah and his brother Dion Stewart started performing together. By the end of the '80s, Oakland had come to be recognized as a major player in the hip-hop field; the X-rated Too Short and pop-rapper Hammer had exploded commercially, and Black Dynasty launched their recording career with a 1990 EP titled 8-Ball in the Corner Pocket (which was released by a small local label called Flammy Flam Records). In 1993, Black Dynasty provided their first full-length album, Asphalt Jungle, which sold about 10,000 copies (mostly in the Bay Area). In 1995, they put out their second album, Deep East Oakland, which sold over 20,000 copies thanks to the title song. It was also in 1995 that Black Dynasty went on tour with Too Short and Compton gangsta rapper DJ Quik, but after that, things went downhill for the group. Stewart was shot and killed by an Oakland convenience store owner during a failed robbery attempt, and Black Dynasty ended up going on hiatus. After Stewart's death, some fans assumed that Black Dynasty was history, but in 2002, Abdullah decided to resurrect Black Dynasty and recorded Reality Check, the group's first album in seven years. Released on the independent Community Musician label, Reality Check opens with "Deep East Oakland, Part II (Reality Check)" -- a sequel to the original "Deep East Oakland" -- and is dedicated to Stewart. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi