The 'Godfather of South Auckland hip hop' and Samoan Aotearoa hip hop pioneer & legend, Ermehn has died.
Herman Loto-Sakaria grew up in Otara, South Auckland and performed & recorded under the name Ermehn.
He grew up in Otara and in the late 80s started out under the name Radio Backstab with Jeremy To'omata aka DJ Payback. One of the songs they released 'Based on a Lost Cause' was featured on the 'Proud' compilation.
He shared in the OMAC 30/30 series (below) how he and his friends started out in music thanks to the Fuemana family and hanging out at OMAC taking inspiration from what they heard there to make their own original music.
He was one of the original members of OMC (Otara Millionaires Club) but had left to go solo before Pauly Fuemana blew up with the hit track 'How Bizarre'.
Ermehn released his debut solo album in 1998 titled 'Samoans Part II' and it featured previously released singles 'Walls of Steel', 'Don't be late' and 'Stranded in the City'.
He was notorious for playing live dressed in a lavalava and waving a machete over his head. Ermehn's Samoan heritage was represented not only by the track content but also by the cover which showed Mau leader Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III.
Ermehn's 'Don't be late' music video off the 'Samoans Part II' album
His follow up album 'The Path of Blood' was inspired by is own lived experiences with gang life.
Ermehn's gangsta life took over after his debut album dropped.
"I fell into the pitfalls of the hood and ended up hustling and put my music aside and just embraced the darkness. I came out of it a few years later and I thought I'd do an album." he said in an interview with Deep Grooves
"I had the money at the time and I thought, well NZ On Air aren't going to give me the money, so I funded the album on gangsta money - so it is a pure gangsta album ... With this album, if I was to perform it, it would probably be at a nice dodgy club - I don't think I'll be getting asked to perform at Pasifika any time soon."
One of the more well known songs off the album was the track 'Silver and Gold' (music video above) which featured Otara based singing group Cydel.
Fun fact: The music video itself was directed by Oscar Kightley and shot by 'Red, White and Brass' & 'Inky Pinky Ponky' director Damon Fepulea'i.
He later made a break from gang life and became heavily involved with Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing running his own gym in Whangaparaoa.
His released his third and final album 'Trained to Kill' in 2012 produced by Anonymouz and featured a number of Aotearoa hip hop artists including Tha Movement, PNC, Mr Sicc, Chong Nee, Teva and more.
Ermehn is survived by his wife Merisa and his children Lukhan, Rhyme, Cash and Aqualei.
We caught up with Ermehn who was training his son Rhyme 'The Rage' Loto in 2017 prior to him and his family moving to Perth.
Tributes have poured in from both the NZ Hip Hop & MMA communities to the late rapper and MMA trainer -
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