How it all started...
Man...where to begin, where to begin...I guess I'll start at the top.
Before N.O.R.T.H. was N.O.R.T.H., we all had humble beginnings in the Bull City (Durham, NC for those that don't know) at North Carolina Central University. With Leggs staying down the hallway from me around 2002, I started off by shooting beats to him and his #1 partner-in-crime B.O. (Kinston stand up!). The connection was natural because we all pretty much had the same styles and tastes in music. It was effortless.
Fast forward about 1 year and here go me and Leggs goin bar-for-bar in his apartment for well over an hour. It was more of a lyrical exercise than a challenge, but I know that we both wanted to test each others abilities. Homie didn't even know I spit around this time! lol...he thought I was just the beatmaker. But, after that night was done....we knew we had a bond that couldn't be broken.
Break in 2004 and here we are presented with a legitimate shot to sign to a mid-major label, NME Records (now defunct). So, we decided to form a group in an effort to present something new to the game. Enter Joe Blaze & The G.O.A.T.
Homeboys for a few years, Blazer and Goat were already working together on projects -- Blaze being the fire spitter and Goat being the heat supplier. They just added another element to the already budding team, and trust....it was well accepted. If I'm not mistaken....we wrote 3 songs our first night together, so of course that let us know we were on the right path.
So....we decided that the 3 songs we wrote would be the songs that we would take to the audition. Lmao...now that I think about it...we were bold as hell to think we would get signed to a label while performing 3 brand new songs as a brand new group. lmao lmao. But at that time, you couldn't tell us anything!! I mean, it didn't happen, but who cares. We took some valuable experiences from going through that whole process. BUT hold on...let me take a couple steps back, we didn't even have a name when we signed up for the audition! LMAO! I think we signed up initially as "Styles, Leggs & Blaze" but I distinctly remember the event coordinator calling Leggs and asking what our group name was. We told her we'd get back to her shortly once we had one. A few hours later....Niggas Only Respect True Hip-Hop was born.
She didn't like it.
She said the "Niggas"-part was too harsh and that we should consider changing it if we want to be taken seriously. So about 15 minutes later....No Others Respect True Hip-Hop came to life. That would be the name that would stick and forever change the outlook of NC hip-hop.
Although we were already a group and formed an entertainment umbrella, 5950 Ent., with the Young Godz -- even dropped a compilation mixtape titled "The Genesis" in Early 2004 -- we didn't have a place to record and call home. I remember when I copped my first official microphone and recording interface toward the start of 2005....I was sleeping on my best homie's Briscoe couch but had a studio tucked away in the corner. I'm forever grateful for that 2-month stretch because I had nowhere else to go...but that was the mortar for the brick foundation laid earlier that year with Blaze and Leggs. I had a chance to learn some new recording techniques and prepare for the onslaught of recording that was to take place between 2005-2009.
I don't even know how much music we recorded between 2002 and now. I honestly believe over 500 tracks. But because we were so ignorant to small things like backing-up files and routine computer maintenance, we lost ALOT of heat. We had 4 official N.O.R.T.H. houses [the White House (2004), Moline St.(2005), W. Chapel Hill St.(2006), Dogwood Ave.(2009)] over the years where we did NOTHING but make music. Plus we used to travel to Barton College in Wilson, NC with Goat to record over there as well....over 100 tracks were deleted (by another recording engineering student with bad intentions) from there alone!! Smh.
But that all leads up to where we are today....Northern Exposure The Mixtape Series...50 previously unreleased tracks that illustrate who we are from our humble beginings, thru our respective growth processes, to present day. 5 volumes, 10 tracks each the embody progression thru struggle. If you've never had to hustle in your life then you probably won't relate. But, if you know what it's like to make a way out of no way then allow N.O.R.T.H. to express your story thru song...
No Others Respect True Hip-Hop is not a group...but rather a collective way of thinking. Hustle despite your struggle and ride with us. You will not be disappointed.