Ermehn, 'Southside legend' and former OMC star dies

DJ Sir-Vere posted a tribute to rapper and security guard Ermehn (left).
DJ Sir-Vere posted a tribute to rapper and security guard Ermehn (left). Photo credit: Instagram - DJ Sir-Vere

Ermehn, the rapper and former member of Otara Millionaires Club (OMC), has died.

The New Zealand hip-hop legend's death was first reported by RNZ and Newshub has had the news verified from an independent source who had been contacted via family connections.

Herman Joseph Loto Sakaria, often dubbed the Godfather of South Auckland hip hop, was an Auckland-based rapper who performed and recorded under the stage name Ermehn.

He had collaborated with many in Aotearoa's hip-hop scene including Submariner, Chong Nee, Mr Sicc, King Kapisi, Dei Hamo, Pauly and Phil Fuemana, Dam Native, DLT, Ladi6, and Anonymouz.

Tributes to Ermehn have been flowing on social media.

"Always had time for a yarn. Encouraged me back in the day to keep going with music n had me dieing on the mat at his boxfit classes - what a legend. Gutted we didn't get round to that collab. Will be bumping your sounds," one wrote on Ermehn's Facebook page.

"RIP Ermehn. Always looked out for me & my brother in the Seven Bar Days," another tribute said on Twitter.

"Rest in Alofa Ermehn Loto aka Radio Backstab. Otara King, Southside Legend," another simply wrote.

DJ Sir-Vere also paid tribute to the "Otara OG" sharing a picture on Instagram of the pair of them smiling at the Rhythm and Vines festival, where Ermehn had been working as a security guard. 

"I don't really know what to say. Otara OG - glad we got to document your journey on the podcast and RnV won’t be the same without seeing your face on the barrier. Rest easy," he wrote.

In 2014, Ermehn was featured in a star-studded video and song collaboration in an attempt to get Teina Pora's conviction for the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett overturned.

The video, released at the time under the name 'An Artistic Response to the Teina Pora Case', featured an array of local stars including Shortland Street actors, the then-Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, and a string of hip-hop artists including Che Fu, Mareko, Tha Movement, Teva, Devolo, Dok02, Poetik, Laybaq and Mr Sicc.