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Side by side with companion Seattle-based rap groups Common Market and Boom Bap Project, the Blue Scholars led the charge in proclaiming the Pacific Northwest as a breeding ground for "true school" hip-hop. Perceiving themselves as blue-collar intellectuals, DJ/producer Sabzi (born Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi) and MC Geologic (born George Quibuyen) used their music as a vehicle to promote their socially conscious objectives and to build a hip-hop scene in Seattle, WA, and its surroundings. The two first met on the University of Washington campus as students in 1999, but formed the group in early 2002. They bonded more strongly as a formidable duo during the course of doing numerous live shows. Avoiding the bureaucratic red tape of record labels, they took the D.I.Y. approach and self-pressed their debut LP, Blue Scholars, in early 2004. Sabzi drew on his Persian/Iranian heritage, classical piano training, and affinity for jazz to compose light and breezy beats to complement Geologic's enlightening rhymes. The album's widespread reception exponentially increased their demand for live shows and performances, something the progressive duo didn't anticipate. They also didn't expect the Seattle Weekly to name it Album of the Year, which helped push the album to be picked up for national and international distribution in 2005. Instead of recoiling from the spotlight and the local fame, Geologic and Sabzi were bent on cultivating a movement. Sabzi teamed up with another former student of UW, RA Scion, to form Common Market in 2005. In summer 2006, they established the independent imprint and multimedia company, Mass Line Media, with MC Gabriel Teodros (of Abyssinian Creole).