Jersey City rapper Randy Nichols, better known as Ransom, was originally born in Brooklyn, NY in September 1980. His father's slaying and mother's serious illness forced Nichols to stay in foster care a few years, but he and his mother eventually relocated to Jersey City when he was about eight years old. A lifestyle of selling drugs, which landed him in and out of jail as a teen, ensued; however, the young rapper wanted out. In 2000, he and his friends put up money to buy a recording studio, which initiated Nichols' rap career under the moniker Ransom. Not long afterwards, he teamed up with fellow rapper Hitchcock to form the A-Team.
Known for their Hardhood Classics street albums, the two became staples on the mixtape circuit in New Jersey, but barely dented the scene in neighboring New York. After a deal with Def Jam didn't pan out, the two went their separate ways around 2006. Ransom did not lose much momentum, constantly appearing on DJ Clue mixtapes as well as shelling out his own, including the Best in the Cityvolumes and Ransom Note. In 2007, Ransom received some press over traded lyrical barbs with Joe Budden, also a Jersey City native, who included a verse from Ransom and Hitchcock on his Mood Muzik 3 mix album, claiming a reunion by the defunct A-Team. Later that year, Ransom geared up to release his Street Cinema mixtape, distributed via N.Y. indie Babygrande.
Statik Selektah, is an East Coast-based DJ, producer and CEO of Showoff Records (www.showoffhiphop.com). Statik Selektah was introduced to music at a young age, experimenting with his parents eight-track machine, cassette recorders, and turntable. By middle school, he was already DJing school functions, but he was inspired to be a true wheels-of-steel artiste after hearing DJ Premier & Funkmaster Flex scratch and mix records on Hot 97fm in New York City.
Statik began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy’s WPEA, where he also occasionally DJ’ ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. Naming himself DJ Statik, (the "Selektah" came later after hearing a local reggae artist say it unconsciously) he began to start to DJ at clubs and private parties up and down the New England Coast.
In 2000, Selektah moved back to Massachusetts from New Hampshire to pursue an audio production degree at Boston's New England Institute of Art. Around this time, Statik started to put out his own mixtape series titled "Spell My Name Right." In 2003, Statik created ShowOff Marketing, which has had clients such as Reebok, G-Unit Records, Virgin Records, Capital, Universal Records, Diddy’s Vote or Die campaign and many others. In 2006, Statik Selektah made Showoff into a record label and put out Termanology’s Out the Gate as the labels first release.
In 2007, Statik released his first LP, titled Spell My Name Right, and came out with a second Stick 2 the Script in 2009. In 2010, Statik Selektah dropped another album100 Proof: The Hangover which reached 37 on Billboards Heatseeker Albums Chart. Besides dropping his own albums, he also has produced on many other artist's projects. Statik currently has a show on Thursday nights Eminem’s Shade 45 XM/Sirus Radio Station.
In 2010, Statik Selektah was featured as a DJ on GTA IV's hip hop radio station The Beat 102.7.
While recording with rapper Freeway on Ustream he announced a song off his next album, Population Control, called "Groupie Love" which features Mac Miller. This track was included on the final release of Population Control in 2011.
Black Milk, is a hip hop producer and MC from Detroit, Michigan. In 2004, he formed B.R. Gunna, with Young RJ, and Fat Ray, and together they released Dirty District: Vol. 2, a follow up to a compilation released in 2001 by Slum Village, which he had contributed production to.
Black Milk released a solo album, Sound of the City, Vol. 1, the following year and in 2006 he signed a record contract with Fat Beats Records (Fat Beats is currently distributed by Koch Entertainment, the largest independent distributor in the U.S.). In the fall of 2006, he released an EP, entitled Broken Wax. March 13, 2007 he released a second album, Popular Demand.
In addition to Slum Village, Black Milk has worked with J Dilla Elzhi, Phat Kat, Frank-N-Dank, Lloyd Banks, Canibus and Pharoah Monch, and handled most of the production on T3's Olio mixtape of 2006.
Black Milk released an album with Fat Ray entitled The Set Up on March 4, 2008 and his third official solo release "Tronic" on October 28, 2008. He also handled the majority of production on Elzhi's album The Preface, released August 12.
Elzhi's "The Leftovers Unmixedtape" was released on December 11, 2009. Black Milk produced four of the tracks on it.
On December 25, 2009, he leaked the first single from his upcoming album Album of the Year. The song is called "Keep Going". He also released two more singles named "Welcome (Gotta Go)" and "Deadly Medley" featuring Royce da 5'9" and Elzhi.
On August 22, 2010, he released the music video for "Deadly Medley". The video features Black Milk, Royce da 5'9" and Elzhi.
Album of the Year was released on September 14, 2010 through Fat Beats and Decon. Black Milk has announced he has already started work on his 5th studio album which he aims to finish and release some time in Summer 2012.
In March 2011, Black Milk released a 7" single entitled "Brain". The single was the result of a collaboration between, Black Milk and his band (AB, Daru Jones and Malik Hunter) and Jack White of the White Stripes. A B Side, entitled Royal Mega, was also released. He plans on releasing his new album in October called "No Poison No Paradise" with guests such as Black Thought, Dwele, Robert Glasper & Quelle Chris.
Pusha T was born in The Bronx, New York City but soon relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia where he and his brother were raised. In 1992 Terrence and his brother Gene formed the duo now internationally known as Clipse. With help from Pharell Williams the group eventually signed to Elektra Records in 1997 and released Exclusive Audio Footage, their only album under that label.
Of the two brothers, Terrence was more open to features, appearing on Kelis' 1999 single "Good Stuff" and Nivea's 2001 single "Run Away (I Wanna Be with U)", respectively. In 2004 he and his brother launched their label Re-Up Records and formed hip hop group the Re-Up Gang along with rappers Ab-Liva and Sandman. After four albums as the Clipse, under various record labels both Malice and Pusha T announced that they were taking time off from the duo to focus on their own respective solo projects.
Meek Mill, is an American hip hop recording artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was briefly signed to Atlanta rapper T.I.'s label Grand Hustle Records and in February 2011 signed to Miami-based rapper Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group. He released his debut album Dreams and Nightmares in 2012 and it debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. Career beginnings with The Bloodhoundz
Meek Mill, along with three of his friends formed a rap group called "The Bloodhoundz". The group lasted long enough to release four mixtapes.
2008-2010: Mixtapes and Grand Hustle
In 2008, Meek Mill released his fourth mixtape, Flamers 2: Hottest in tha City, which spawned promotional singles, "I'm So Fly," "Prolli," and "Hottest in the City." Upon release of Flamerz 2, it caught the attention of Charlie Mack, founder and President of 215Aphillyated Records. Mack was so immediately impressed with Mill, that he signed him to his management company. During that same year, Meek Mill also met the founder and owner of Grand Hustle Records, T.I.
The Atlanta-based rapper was also so impressed by Mill's lyrical ability that he offered him an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, to meet with him along with Warner Bros. Records; within one week both record companies offered him a deal. Although he was offered other record deals, Mill felt collaborating with T.I. was an opportunity of a lifetime and chose his label. Just when things were starting to look up for Mill, a record deal and the chance to work with T.I., a setback occurred. He was arrested, charged with a crime and order to serve seven months in jail. Mill was then released during the early portion of 2009. Due to label boss T.I.'s and Mill's respective legal troubles, Mill was never able to release an album under Grand Hustle and they parted ways in 2010.