The Alchemist is a renowned DJ, record producer, and rapper hailing from Beverly Hills, CA. His collaborations have resulted in various projects alongside Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Curren$y, Action Bronson, Fashawn, Domo Genesis, Durag Dynasty, Kempi, Boldy James, and many others.

The producer, born on October 25, 1977, as Daniel Alan Maman, teamed up in 1991 with Scott Caan, who at the time went by “Mad Skillz,” to form the Whooliganz. When Tommy Boy Records shelved the group’s debut in 1993, the Alchemist began to focus on producing beats. In the late ‘90s, through a friendship with Evidence, the beat Maker became one of the primary producers for Evidence’s group, Dilated Peoples.

During this time, Maman began producing for another prominent hip-hop group, Mobb Deep. For the group’s 1999 album Murda Muzik, The Alchemist produced “Thug Muzik” and “The Realest.”

After prominent production work with rappers like Nas, Fat Joe, Ghostface Killah, and Prodigy the producer finally released his rap debut in 2004, 1st Infantry. The album contained the single “Hold You Down” featuring Prodigy, Illa Ghee, and Nina Sky which broke into the Billboard 100 at #95. The album, Chemical Warfare, followed in 2009 featuring collaborations many of raps finest including Snoop Dogg, Prodigy, and Pusha T. Russian Roulette was released in 2012 and featured samples of Soviet music with sparse verses from Action Bronson, Danny Brown, and Schoolboy Q. A year later, Alchemist linked with Prodigy to release Albert Einstein.

In 2016, he teamed up with the other half of Mobb Deep, Havoc, for The Silent Partner album. He is also slated to produce the rapper’s upcoming solo effort.

A Tribe Called Quest is a Platinum-selling, Grammy Award-nominated hip-hop group that originated in Queens, New York comprised of Q-Tip, the late Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White (who left the group after their first album but re-joined later on). ATCQ is known for their thought-provoking lyrics and socially-aware topics, ranging from misogyny to consumerism. In high school, childhood friends Tip and Phife began cutting demo tapes and rapping around the neighborhood. Oftentimes, Ali would join Tip on songs, and they formed the duo Crush Connection. With the addition of White later on, they decided to add Phife and make it a full group, adopting the name Tribe Called Quest after Tip’s high school classmates the Jungle Brothers came up with it. At the time, ATCQ, the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul had founded a collective named Native Tongues, as they all had similar goals to bring abstract and open-minded lyricism to the mainstream. The group signed a demo deal with Geffen Records in 1989, but the label ultimately decided to pass on them. After fielding multiple offers, ATCQ signed with Jive Records, and their debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, was released in 1990. It has since been certified Gold by the RIAA. After five successful albums, the group split in 1998—ignited by losing a considerable amount of unreleased material due to a studio house fire—though they briefly reunited for a tour in 2006. It was revealed upon Phife’s death from diabetes in 2016 that a sixth album was already in the works. We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service was completed by the other members after Phife’s passing, and debuted at Number One upon its release in November 2016.

Apollo Brown began his career in music as a bedroom producer in his teenage years growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While he spent years crafting beats, fine-tuning his eclectic ear, and honing his technical skills before hitting the legal drinking age, it wasn’t until he relocated to Detroit—after graduating from Michigan State University—that his real story began. Following the release of two beat tapes, Skilled Trade (2007) and Make Do (2009), Brown went on to take home the grand prize at the Detroit Red Bull Big Tune Championships, leading him to sign with Mello Music Group in 2009. Interestingly enough, he was laid off from his job as a property inspector a week after inking his deal, further proving that the beatsmith was destined to earn his living through his passion—something that he reflected upon in his reactionary track “Beautiful.” With his musical inspiration balancing smooth various rock groups (Seals and Crofts, The Carpenters, Journey) with beloved hip-hop Golden Era heavyweights (Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Gang Starr, Black Moon), Brown’s signature creativity behind the boards not only knows no bounds, but also allows him to work with a growing list of artists. With a diverse collection of work and collaborations with the likes of Skyzoo, Hassaan Mackey, Big Pooh, Oddisee, Sean Price, Boog Brown, Guilty Simpson and more, Apollo Brown has come a long way since making beats using the now-obsolete Voyetra audio software.

Aesop Rock (born Ian Matthias Bavitz) is an emcee and producer from Northport, Long Island, who currently resides in Portland, Oregon and calls Rhymesayers Entertainment his home. Originally studying art in college, Aesop gravitated towards pursuing rap music as more than just a hobby, following meeting future collaborator, Blockhead, while attending Boston University. When graduating in 1998, he had already recorded several projects, including 1997’s Music for Earthworms, helping lead him to securing his first record deal in 1999 with Mush. Shortly after the release of his first major album, Float (2000)—which featured Slug, Vast Aire and Dose One, as well as production split by himself and Blockhead—he gained the attention of Def Jux, signing to the label and releasing Labor Days a year later (2001).

Following the success of these early projects—with Labor Days becoming the first to appear on the Billboard Independent Charts (peaking at 15) and his track “Labor” being featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4—Aesop began building a name for himself. His recognition grew steadily with each release. As he added to his discography in the early aughts, Aesop found himself being commissioned to create a 45-minute instrumental track for the Nike+iPod running program. He then collaborated with artist Jeremy Fish, with Fish creating album artwork for Aesop’s fifth full-length, 2007’s None Shall Pass and Aesop crafting a song, “Tomorrow Morning” to partner with Fish’s gallery Show in San Francisco.

After a four-year hiatus, Aesop went on to create a joint album with anti-folk singer, Kimya Dawson, and make his Rhymesayers debut as a solo artist in 2012, with the release of Skelethon. With the release of his seventh studio album, The Impossible Kid, in 2016, many fans have held Aesop Rock in high regard as an artist who is not only getting better with age, but also consistently reinventing his sound and fostering his creativity.

AZ

Anthony Cruz (bka AZ) was born and bred in the New York borough of Brooklyn. Since his debut album Doe Or Die in 1995, he’s released a total of eight albums and become synonymous with the boom bap movement that flourished in New York during the mid-‘90s.

AZ’s appearance on Nas’s classic album Illmatic marked the beginning of his career for many. Through a visit at the studio sessions for Illmatic, the rapper wrote the hook for the album’s staple cut “Life’s a Bitch.” The street buzz from that track led to AZ signing with EMI for the release of Doe or Die. The single “Sugar Hill” was a crossover hit, peaking at #25 on the Billboard Chart and #3 on the Rap Charts.

Two years after his debut, he teamed up with Nas, Foxy Brown, Nature, and Cormega to form The Firm. The collective released their self-titled album to commercial success with a #1 debut on the Billboard chart. The release of AZ’s sophomore solo effort Pieces of a Man was met with less commercial success, yet just as much critical acclaim and paved the way for a catalog that would show the rapper’s growth over the years. His subsequent albums 9 Lives, Aziatic, A.W.O.L., The Format, Undeniable, and Legendary have solidified AZ as one of hip-hop’s premiere veterans.

In 2017, he released a song with Raekwon and the late Prodigy called “Save Me. The rapper plans to release Doe Or Die 2 at the end of 2017, calling it the last album of his career.

Chad Bromley, better known by his moniker Apathy, is a rapper/producer from Willimantic, Connecticut. His uncle first exposed him to hip-hop when he was five, inspiring him to write his own rhymes as he grew older. He landed his first feature and official entry into the rap game in 1997, contributing verses to three tracks on Jedi Mind Tricks’s debut album, The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological, and Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness. He then released several loose singles on Bronx Science Records, a move that eventually led him to linking with Ceph Titled. The two ultimately founded the infamous rap outfit Demigodz crew. Along with the group’s initial members, 7L & Esoteric, El Fudge, Louis Logic, Open Mic and Rise, they released their first EP in 2002, The Godz Must Be Crazy. The project garnered attention from major labels, with Apathy signing a solo deal with Atlantic Records. However, disagreements over his debut album’s direction resulted in the project being delayed and Apathy releasing a slew of mixtapes while his conflict with the label progressed for years. He released his debut studio album Eastern Philosophy, in 2006 via a distribution deal with indie label Babygrande. Apathy left Atlantic in 2009, and that same year formed the Get Busy Committee, with Styles of Beyond’s Ryu and producer Scoop DeVille. Together, they released one album Uzi Does It in 2009, before refocusing on their solo careers. After releasing Wanna Snuggle? (2009) and Honkey Kong (2011) as a solo artist, Apathy returned to the Demigodz in 2013 with Killmatic. Most recently, Apathy released an instrumental project, Dive Medicine, Chapter 1.