Artist

Strong Arm Steady

To introduce themselves to the world, the members of Los Angeles-based Strong Arm Steady -- Xzibit, Krondon, Phil the Agony, and Mitchy Slick -- didn't stick to the usual technique of releasing an album.

Instead, in 2004 they issued a DVD of clips from performances, recording sessions, and the band hanging out, although thanks to their mixtapes, they were already known in the L.A. area. In 2005 their debut, Arms & Hammers, was set to be released on Xzibit's Columbia imprint, Open Bar, but when that fell through, Strong Arm Steady -- minus Xzibit, who declined to give his reasons for leaving the group -- signed to Talib Kweli's newly formed Blacksmith Music. After a handful of singles on the label, the group would sign with underground imprint Stones Throw and hook up with in-house producer Madlib for the well-received In Search of Stoney Jackson. Their 2011 release, Arms & Hammers, was a more traditional hip-hop album with various producers and names like Too Short and the Game on the guest list. Flipping the script yet again, Stereotype from 2012 was considered a sequel to Stoney Jackson, with East Coast producer Statik Selektah taking the place of Madlib and producing the album in total. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi

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