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One Block Radius

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Biography

One Block Radius is an alternative rap trio from California who paid their dues for several years before making their major-label debut in 2008. Comprised of Marty James (a singer, songwriter, and producer from Chico, CA), Z-Man (a rapper from San Francisco, born Zamon Christian), and MDA (a DJ and graphic artist born in Indiana), the group cites a diversity of influences including the Pharcyde and De la Soul as well as Sublime and Hall & Oates. The group members began their musical careers individually. During the early 2000s, James employed the alias of Scapegoat Wax, was signed to the Beastie Boys' label Grand Royal for a while, and released a couple albums (Okeeblow, 2001; Swax, 2002) and also a single, Aisle 10 (Hello Allison) (2001). During this same period, MDA worked at Grand Royal and collaborated with James in Scapegoat Wax. Meanwhile, Z-Man was affiliated with the Hieroglyphics collective in the Bay Area and released a couple albums (Anti Nerd, 2003; Dope or Dog Food, 2004) on Refill Records. James, MDA, and Z-Man ultimately befriended one another and began collaborating as One Block Radius, making their recording debut, "Look Out Below," on the Hieroglyphics-affiliated compilation Hiero Imperium Presents the Building (2004). Their full-length album debut, Long Story Short (2005), followed a year later, and they began touring nationally, generally as an opening act. Their breakthrough came courtesy of James, whose contribution to the Federation single "I Wear My Stunna Glasses at Night" (2006), on which he sang the hook, garnered a lot of attention within the rap industry. Soon he had a variety of collaboration offers. Furthermore, One Block Radius was offered a recording contract with Island Def Jam, on which they made their major-label debut in 2008 with the single "You Got Me." The track appeared on self-titled album that followed later in the year.

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Years Active:

'00s

Contemporaries

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