Gift Of Gab (Tim Parker) and Chief Xcel (Xavier Mosley) met at John F. Kennedy High School in 1987 in Sacramento, California and formed the group in the early 1990s. They released their first recording, "Swan Lake", on solesides records. The Solesides Crew consisted of the duo, as well as other friends of theirs they had met at University of California - Davis, including DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born and Lateef The Truth Speaker. The single was an underground hit, but label trouble prevented the duo from immediately capitalizing on their fame.
Skillz (formerly Mad Skillz, born Donnie Shaquan Lewis in Richmond, Virginia) is an African-American rapper. Known as a talented freestyle rapper, Skillz has not received widespread acclaim outside of the hip-hop community, but within it is considered one of its best performers. He first made a name for himself by finishing in second place in a national freestyle competition in 1995, which resulted in a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Skillz' Atlantic debut, From Where???, and its single, The Nod Factor, were released in 1996, but sank without a trace.
Mr. Lif (born Jeffrey Haynes) is a Boston rapper who is currently signed to New York independent label Definitive Jux. Besides his solo career, Lif is also a member of the hip hop group The Perceptionists with long-time friends and collaborators Akrobatik and DJ Fakts One. Mr. Lif grew up in the neighbourhood of Brighton in Boston, MA. For two years he attended Colgate University, dropping out after becoming enamored with the hip hop music being produced at the time.
The Coup is a political hip hop group based in Oakland, California. It formed as a three-member group in 1992 with rappers (Raymond) Boots Riley and E-Roc along with DJ Pam the Funkstress. E-Roc left on amicable terms after the group's second album, but appears on the track "Breathing Apparatus" on The Coup's third album, Steal This Album. The group is now a duo. The Coup, part of the sub-genre of political hip hop, is politically radical and Marxist in their music, and align themselves with other radical hip-hop groups like dead prez.
Scratch is: 1) Scratch (born Kyle Jones) is an American rapper. He is a hip hop MC who specializes in beatboxing or vocal percussion. He is probably best known as a member of Grammy Award-winning band The Roots. 2) A rockband from Gothenburg 3) A progressive/grunge band formed in the West-Midlands. Fronted by lead singer/rythm guitar Tom Clements, backed by Austin Tomlinson on lead guitar, Aaron Tomlinson on Bass and Gareth Walley on Drums.
Blu is definitely a leader in the new school of Los Angeles emcees. His presence is undeniable, while his music captivates audiences regardless of race, class, and gender. His delivery flows flawlessly, while his content reflects the joy and pain of working class youth everywhere. Exile is a producer, DJ and occasional emcee previously known for being a member of the duo Emanon, along with Aloe Blacc. His style of production is known for its "laid back soulful vibes" and is influenced by such producers as J Dilla and Madlib.