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Describing himself as "a DJ first, producer second, and MC last," Madlib is one of the many aliases of Otis Jackson, Jr., who has become one of the most celebrated, prolific, and eclectic artists in hip-hop since emerging on the scene in the early 1990s. Also known as Beat Konducta, Quasimoto, Malik Flavors, DJ Lord Sutch, and the Loopdiggaz, among his dozens of handles, the unique sound and feel of Madlib's work (created without computers, using old-school recording and sampling gear) has made him a valued collaborator with a number of leading hip-hop performers, and a celebrated figure in the underground rap community.
Otis Jackson, Jr. was born in Oxnard, California on October 24, 1973. His father, Otis Jackson, Sr., was a working jazz and blues musician, while his mother Sinesca was a guitarist and songwriter, and his uncle was the noted jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis. Young Otis first became interested in the workings of a recording studio while watching his father at work, and he grew up soaking up a wealth of musical influences while developing a keen interest in hip-hop. In 1990, Jackson adopted the stage name Madlib when he joined the trio Lootpack with his friends DJ Romes and Wildchild. When rapper King Tee heard the group, Lootpack were invited to make their recording debut as guests on the album 21 & Over by Tee's crew Tha Alkaholiks; Madlib was also credited as a producer on one track. Lootpack had a hard time scoring a record deal, and it wasn't until 1995 that they released their first record on their own -- the Psyche Move EP -- on Crate Digga's Palace, a label bankrolled by Madlib's father. In time, Lootpack would cross paths with DJ and producer Peanut Butter Wolf, who signed the trio to his Stones Throw Records label. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Madlib and Stones Throw, who would release much of his future body of work.
By the time Lootpack released their first album, 1999's Soundpieces: Da Antidote, Madlib was already moving on to other projects; he had produced records for Declaime and O.G.C., remixed material for Peanut Butter Wolf's Definition of Ill 12", and was debuting his Quasimoto persona, in which he delivered weedian verses in an artificially high, distorted voice over spacious beats and cool, often jazz-influenced breaks. After a handful of singles, the first Quasimoto album, The Unseen, appeared in 2000, and in 2001, Madlib would unveil another project, a jazz ensemble called Yesterdays New Quintet, with the EP Elle's Theme. While the YNQ material was credited to a quintet of musicians, with Madlib joined by Monk Hughes, Joe McDuphrey, Malik Flavors, and Ahmad Miller, in fact Madlib performed all the music on their releases himself, showing off his skills on keyboards and percussion as well as producing and sampling. (This would not prevent Madlib from letting his fictive bandmates explore their musical personalities on several "solo" singles and EPs.) The YNQ recordings would lead to a unique project, the 2003 album Shades of Blue, in which Madlib was given free reign to sample and remix material from the archives of Blue Note Records.
Shades of Blue was the first full-length album credited to Madlib, though he'd used the headline for a number of singles and EPs. In 2003, he also reunited up with his former Lootpack partner Wildchild to record the album Secondary Protocol, and teamed up with fellow producer J Dilla for the first of a series of collaborative recordings released under the banner Jaylib. In 2004, Madlib launched yet another collaboration as he and MC MF Doom got together to record under the name Madvillain. Despite this busy schedule, Madlib was also booking more work as a producer, handling sessions with De La Soul, Dudley Perkins, A.G., and Prince Po; he'd go on to produce material for Mos Def, Guilty Simpson, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, Strong Arm Steady, and Erykah Badu, as well as remixing tracks by Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys, and TV on the Radio.
In 2006, Madlib introduced his latest alter ego, the Beat Konducta, on the mixtape Chrome Children, Vol. 2; he quickly abandoned it as a stage name, but used it as the title of a series of albums dominated by short, sample-based instrumental pieces, often built around elements from Indian film scores. 2010 found him announcing a particularly ambitious project -- a series of albums using the blanket title Madlib Medicine Show, which would feature both new mixes and unreleased recordings from Madlib's archives. Madlib intended to release one Medicine Show album per month for an entire year; the first installment was Medicine Show No. 1: Before the Verdict, and Madlib was not only good to his pledge, releasing Medicine Show No. 12: Raw Medicine in early 2012, but he even tossed in an extra album to round out the project, Medicine Show No. 13: Black Tape.
Otis Jackson Jr. (born October 24, 1973 in Oxnard, California), known professionally as Madlib, is a Los Angeles-based DJ, multi-instrumentalist, rapper, and music producer. 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 a myriad of hip hop artists, including 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.
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 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.
Madlib Invazion 
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, Madlib and Freddie Gibbs announced a collaboration for a forthcoming album. Two singles have been released - "Thuggin" (2011) and "Shame" (2012).