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Young Zee

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With his charismatic yelp and brash personality, Young Zee is the best-recognized member of the Outsidaz, a large hip-hop crew that became the first act signed to Ruff Life Records. What he isn't always recognized for is his solo career, where he has produced several singles and even released a record in the mid-'90s. He first garnered notice in 1995, when his "Everybody Get" single became the first major release from the Outsidaz collective. Next was an appearance on the Fugees' "Cowboys," one of the tracks on their surprise hit record The Score. This appearance was enough to convince indie label Perspective to sign the rapper for an album, and by the end of the year he had dropped Musical Meltdown. Although the disc made little headway, the Outsidaz's reputation continued to grow in underground hip-hop until they had become one of the most sought-after groups in the East Coast scene. That's when Ruffhouse Records stepped in, signing the collective in 1999. Zee made an appearance on Rah Digga's first solo album around the same time, before discovering that labelhead Chris Schwartz had left Ruffhouse and started Ruff Life Records. Schwartz contacted the group about switching sides, and by the end of the year their contract had been bought out by the upstart label. The Outsidaz released Night Life in 2000, an angry EP that was heavy on bravado and featured battle tracks between one another. Zee began to increase his solo output as well, lending tracks to several compilations in 2001. The next year he reached his greatest exposure yet when his solo track, "That's My Nigga fo' Real," was included on the smash-hit soundtrack to Eminem's film 8 Mile. ~ Bradley Torreano

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s