Prof, Fashawn & The Breaklites
A longtime friend of Definitive Jux leader El-P, rapper Murs first appeared as a solo artist in 2003, after nearly a decade of working with various groups in the underground. Based in Los Angeles, his first single was released in 1993, and came from a self-released album by his first group, 3 Melancholy Gypsies. The track barely made a dent, but it did catch the attention of indie hip-hop fans in the area. Over time, the group members became friends with Mystik Journeymen, who asked 3MG (their shortened name) to join them when they started the Living Legends collective in 1996.
Between both 3MG and the Living Legends, Murs rapped on several influential indie rap albums, appearing on more than 20 records, EPs, and singles within a seven-year period. When El-P started to pull together his Def Jux label, Murs contacted the producer and told him he would release his solo record for the company once he had the opportunity. His commitments to both the Legends and 3MG often kept him from working on the album, but after a few years of slowly putting together tracks, Murs finally delivered The End of the Beginning in the spring of 2003.
Forged from a history of hardship and partying, Prof’s music and career reflect the dichotomy that his life has been. His music documents everything he has experienced; from adversities as a child, like his father setting fire to their home or sleeping on a bean bag growing up, to his adult diversions, like his love affair with whiskey and women (in that order). Much the same, his career has also seen this duality. After grinding on the Minneapolis hip-hop scene for over ten years with little to show besides a small ravenous fan base, Prof has recently begun to make serious national traction on the back of his unique recordings and must see live shows.
Having shared the stage with rap mainstays like Atmosphere, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne, POS, Brother Ali, Doomtree and Killer Mike, Prof has shown his talent can hang with the best. This talent has been well documented by his critically acclaimed Kaiser Von Powderhorn mixtape series, three full length albums, and his guest appearance on the Atmosphere track “Minnesota Nice”.
Born October 19, 1988 to an absent father and a drug-addicted mother, Santiago Leyva grew up quickly. At age 12 he was living in a group home, but he was also writing his first rhymes, and by 15 he had released his first mixtape. Taken in by his uncle in Fresno, CA, the young MC soon caught the ear of Planet Asia, who was impressed by his rhymes and invited Leyva, who was by then going by the MC name Fashawn, to tour with him. Fashawn jumped on the opportunity, dropping out of high school to join the veteran rapper on the road. A prolific writer inspired by the likes of Tupac, N.W.A., Dilated Peoples, and Public Enemy, Fashawn begin putting out a series of mixtapes, including 2006's Grizzly City and 2008's The Phenom 2 and One Shot, One Kill, the Orisue-sponsored record hosted by Mick Boogie and Terry Urban. The two DJs hit up Fashawn for a verse on their Unbelievable: The Notorious Edition mixtape, as well, and the young MC's The Antidote mixtape the following year, with beats by Alchemist, hit blogs. The hard work began to pay off, and Fashawn began to get recognition on hip-hop sites and magazines, including XXL, who gave a high rating to his full-length debut, Boy Meets World. Produced entirely by Exile, whom he had been introduced to through Planet Asia, Boy Meets World was released in October 2009 on One Records.