b. Leo Dupree Ramsey Jnr., Oakland, California, USA. A rapper whose depictions of urban reality were addressed with a detached, almost resigned air. He began to freestyle at the age of 10, when his radio first picked up rap on the Californian airwaves. He adopted the style, and wrote his own words to the beats he heard, competing with the neighbourhood boys to perfect his delivery. His principal influences were the political heavyweights Public Enemy and KRS-One. He hooked up with his DJ, Slice (b. Michael Brown, though he was known in Oakland circles as the ‘Beat Fixer’), at a party in Fresno, adding Nate The Great (b. Jonathon Matthews) and Chuck Nice (b. Charles Johnson). As they built a strong local reputation the final jigsaw piece arrived in the shape of producer Lionel ‘The Super Duper Dope Hook Man’ Bea. Through him the group won a contract with Jive Records. Their debut album was premiered by their best-known cut, ‘It’s A Black Thing’, released as a single. Decidedly on the Afrocentricity theme, it was critically well received but afterwards their camp remained comparatively quiet.
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