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Born Giovanni Marks, Subtitle spent the early years of his life in L.A.'s tough Compton and Lynwood neighborhoods. When he was 14, he moved north to Camarillo, attending school in nearby Oxnard (where Madlib and other members of Lootpack hailed from), and soon he started writing rhymes, digging, and trying to educate himself as much as possible on West Coast underground hip-hop. After he moved to Los Angeles, his brother took him to the famed Project Blowed workshop, and in 1997 he and his crew, the Library, performed there. Soon after, Subtitle left the group to focus his time on the West Coast Workforce, whose members included Radioinactive, Anti_MC, Xololanxinxo, Premonition, and DJ Memorex (the last two of whom were also in the Library).
A few years later, however, Subtitle left the Workforce to collaborate with the Shapeshifters, work in record stores, tour with the Mars Volta as their DJ, and record material with Lab Waste, his side project with Thavius Beck, as well as for his own first full-length. Unfortunately, a computer crash during the final mix of the album, called I'm Always Recovering from Tomorrow, led to the loss of the songs and a delay on its release. His actual full-length debut, titled Young Dangerous Heart, many of whose songs were from his first attempt (re-recorded, of course), finally came out on Gold Standard Labs in 2005. After issuing Terrain to Roam, which featured a selection of guest producers, including Nobody, Dntel, and Madlib, on Alpha Pup in 2006, Marks declared that that album would be Subtitle's last release, though he would still continue to record under his birth name as well as with Lab Waste.