The six MCs that make up Ann Arbor, MI's Athletic Mic League met each other through high school and basketball courts. Initially rhyming for recreational purposes, Tres Styles, 14K, Buff, Vital, Texture, and Grand Cee began to focus more on rap as a career as the people around them started to recognize the skills they were developing. Utilizing makeshift studios in dorm rooms and basements, they occupied themselves with writing and recording tracks. In the summer of 1999, they made a move out to New Jersey to work with an entertainment lawyer who took notice of them after hearing a demo. While living in the East, they toured, recorded, promoted, and ended up stockpiling enough tracks to make two albums. They then returned to Ann Arbor to drop the Thrill of Victory...The Agony of Defeat LP.