A childhood friend of Busta Rhymes while the two were growing up in Brooklyn, Rampage again hooked up with his old pal in the Flipmode Squad, the loose collective of rappers (also including Spliff Star, Lord Have Mercy, Rah Digga, and Serious) centered around Busta Rhymes for his first solo album, 1996's The Coming. When the album proved a hit, Rampage earned his own solo deal the following year. The two had begun playing music together while listening to Rampage's musician-father, and though Busta later moved out to Long Island and formed Leaders of the New School, the pair remained friends. Rampage gained his own record deal with Rowdy Records in 1994, releasing his debut album, Ramp Sack, but later leaving the label for their lack of hip-hop how-to. Later that year, both Rampage and Busta Rhymes contributed to the legendary 1994 remix of Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear" (which broke the Notorious B.I.G. and re-launched LL Cool J), also appearing together on four tracks from Busta's The Coming. After signing with Elektra/Asylum, Rampage released Scouts Honor...By Way of Blood, in July 1997, with several tracks including the Flipmode Squad. ~ John Bush
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