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The self-proclaimed "Underground King" of Miami hip-hop, Michael Garcia, known simply as just Garcia, ascended from underground obscurity to be Miami's most prominent and street credible Latino rapper over the course of the 2000s. Born in Miami but raised in Kendall, FL, Garcia is the son of Cuban immigrants who fled to the U.S. during the military dictatorship of General Batista in the '50s. After penning his first rhymes at age 14, Garcia became extremely dedicated to being a rapper. Not putting much value in diplomas, he only focused on the education necessary to release music when he attended high school and then later college. In 1996, while working at a copy center (which was strictly to be able to make CD sleeve printings), he met DJ EFN, informally known as "Miami's Mixtape King." DJ EFN invited him to be a part of his crew, Da All (aka Da Alliance), and to record for his fledgling company, Crazy Hood Productions. With DJ EFN in his corner, Garcia made tremendous strides forward, earning critical respect in Miami's underground rap scene from several mixtapes and features on Da All recordings. A locally popular record, his first official 12", "None of Dem," hit airwaves in 2003; however, he had recorded another well-received single, "That's Crazy," with Queens rapper Noreaga a few years earlier. In 2004, Garcia released his debut full-length, Anti-Social, on Crazy Hood. A definitively hardcore and underground effort, the LP was a critic's favorite in Miami, winning the Cuban-American MC Best Album of 2004 in the local Miami New Times paper as well as a national and overseas distribution deal with Select-o-Hits. On the brink of local stardom, Garcia's profile continued to rise over the next few years. Universal Latino presented Garcia with a possible recording contract, but he turned it down, rejecting the label's suggestion to convert his sound and image into the latest reggaeton trend. From 2005 to 2007, Garcia's potential star power discarded any notion that the "Underground King" title may have been a frivolous claim. He was enjoying regular rotation on Miami radio and being featured in numerous television and magazine interviews. His 2006 club single "Clap Ya Hands," produced by the Diaz Brothers (Pitbull, Lloyd Banks, Daddy Yankee), dismayed some of his hardcore base but continued to bring the Miami rapper attention. The following year, Garcia issued Life Unscripted, distributed via independent giant Koch Records and executive produced by both DJ EFN and Noreaga. Although the album's sound was more polished than ever before, it was still hard-hitting hip-hop, yet with the inclusion of more Latin/Caribbean rhythms and samples. ~ Cyril Cordor