Rick Rock doesn't have a marquee name like Dr. Dre, Timbaland, the Neptunes, or Scott Storch, even though he was one of the most reliable and employed West Coast rap producers of his time. Based in the California Bay Area and aligned closely with E-40, Rock began earning major credits in 1996, when he contributed tracks to both 2Pac's All Eyez on Me and 40's Hall of Game. In the years to follow, he cranked out productions mainly for West Coast rappers like Keak da Sneak, Spice 1, and Xzibit; however, he also worked with mainstream artists like Will Smith, Fabolous, and Method Man. He eventually signed a contract with Virgin Records to present a group of his own, Federation. The group debuted in 2003, releasing the single "Hyphy," whose title would soon become the common stylistic tag for Bay Area rap of the E-40 variety.