Otis Jackson Jr., known professionally as Madlib, is a Los Angeles, California-based DJ, multi-instrumentalist, MC, and music producer born on October 24, 1973 in Oxnard, California, United States. Known under a plethora of pseudonyms, he is one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed hip hop producers of the 2000s and has collaborated with myriad hip hop artists, including Tha Alkaholiks, Mos Def, De La Soul, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, A.G., MF DOOM (as Madvillain), and the late J Dilla (as Jaylib). Madlib has described himself as a "DJ first, producer second, and MC last", and he has done several projects as a DJ, mixer, or remixer. Madlib has been an influence on an upcoming generation of producers and musicians, many of whom prefer Madlib's abstract styles.
Early life and career
Madlib was born in Oxnard, California to musician parents Otis Jackson, Sr. and Dora Sinesca Jackson. He was raised in Oxnard, where he began his music career, and currently works in Los Angeles. In the early 90s Madlib began producing hip-hop music with friends that formed a loose-knit collective that came to be known as CDP - rappers that worked with Madlib in his Oxnard-based "Crate Diggas Palace" studio. His first commercially released music was production for the rap group Tha Alkaholiks in 1993. The first commercially released music of his own was with the group Lootpack with the 12-inch EP "Ill Psyche Move," released by Madlib's father in 1995 on a label he called Crate Diggas Palace. This record caught the attention of Peanut Butter Wolf, founder of the Stones Throw Records label, who signed the group in 1998.
Stones Throw, Quasimoto and J Dilla Years
The Lootpack's 1999 debut album, full-length album, ushered in a string of releases on Stones Throw centering around Madlib's production work which would continue for a decade. His first solo work, under the guise of Quasimoto, The Unseen, came in 2000. The album was met with critical acclaim, named by Spin Magazine as one of the top 20 albums of the year.
In 2001, Madlib took a turn away from hip-hop music, beginning a series of releases from Yesterdays New Quintet, a Jazz-based, hip-hop and electronic-influenced quintet made up of alter egos or fictional musicians played by Madlib. Over the next several years, through several record releases on Stones Throw and other labels, the growing number of pseudonyms and fictional players came to be known as Yesterday's Universe. Invited to remix tracks from the Blue Note Records archive in 2003, Madlib released Shades of Blue which included a combination of remixes and newly recorded interpretations of Blue Note originals, many of which were credited to members of Yesterdays New Quintet.
Beginning with the 2007 album The Funky Side of Life] by YNQ-spinoff group Sound Directions, the Yesterdays Universe also began incorporating additional session musicians who were not pseudonyms of Madlib.
Returning to hip-hop music in 2003, Madlib announced two collaborative projects. Working with the late hip hop producer J Dilla, the duo known as Jaylib released Champion Sound. The other was Madlib's collaboration with rapper MF DOOM, known together as Madvillain. The 2004 Madvillainy album was highly anticipated and well-received, topping many critics' year-end lists.
The 2005 Quasimoto album, The Further Adventures of Lord Quas was accepted well and continued the Quasimoto tradition of using vocal samples from Melvin Van Peebles, who is credited on the album liner notes as a collaborator.
Through the rest of the decade Madlib would continue releasing his jazz material simultaneously with the hip hop work: Perseverance with Percee P, Liberation with Talib Kweli, Sujinho with Ivan Conti of [artist[Azymuth, his own instrumental hip-hop series "Beat Konducta", "In Search of Stoney Jackson" with Strong Arm Steady, "OJ Simpson" with Guilty Simpson, and production work for several artists such as Erykah Badu and De La Soul.
In 2010, Madlib announced his own imprint called Madlib Invazion, formed to release a music series called Madlib Medicine Show. The series would ultimately take over two years to complete, culminating with 13 album releases and several vinyl-only EPs, spanning hip-hop, jazz, remixes, and multi-genre DJ mix tapes.
The label has continued to release records outside of the original series. In 2011, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib announced a collaboration for a forthcoming album. Two singles have been released - "Thuggin" (2011) and "Shame" (2012).