Rico Smith was born in 1971 in Columbus, Ohio and moved to Los Angeles in 1988 with his mother and four brothers. His parents divorced a year later and instead of returning with his family to Ohio, Rico elected to remain in California, embarking upon a career in the rap music business. He took up residence with then local D.J. E. Swift and worked for a time, free-styling and performing throughout the Los Angeles area. With the addition of another solo artist by the name of J.Ro, the three formed the group ESP, which shortly thereafter became Tha Alkaholiks. Although they were among the founding acts on the RCA-distributed Loud Records label (with Mobb Deep and the Wu-Tang Clan), Tha Alkaholiks failed to attain chart recognition. In his own words, Smith (who was now going by the moniker, Tash) "was allergic to being broke, " and as late as 1991 was involved in confrontations with the law, ranging from robbery to credit card scams. This ‘affliction' was cured by the time Tha Alkaholiks became the first rap group featured on the alternative/modern rock Warped Tour. The nineties found the trio releasing three albums --21 & Over, Coast II Coast, and Likwidation --- before Tash, J.Ro and E.Swift each stepped up with individual projects in 1999. A movie featuring all three members of Tha Alkaholiks entitled Contents Unda Pressure was slated for release in late autumn 1999.