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Los Angeles-based alternative rappers Freestyle Fellowship (Aceyalone, Myka 9, P.E.A.C.E., and Self Jupiter) first began slapping together their crazy word salads in the early '90s, resulting in their first record, To Whom It May Concern, which was issued in a limited run (only 300 vinyl copies and 500 tapes) yet managed to produce the seeds of their loyal following. Rising out of the jazz and granola environment of Leimert Park, they remained on the edge of the rap scene that paid more attention to West Coast-style gangsta rap -- a style that was almost the direct opposite of the sound collages and free-associative lyrics Fellowship was putting together. The group released only one more album, 1993's Inner City Griots, before breaking up due to Self Jupiter's incarceration. The band reunited briefly for one show in 1998 and then sporadically in 1999 to produce a few benefit concerts and participate in a "We Are the World"-style single called "Mumia 911," designed to raise awareness and funds for death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal. Their first album was also re-released on CD in 1999, as well as a 12" with rap producer O.D. ("Can You Find the Level of Difficulty in This?"), put out by Celestial Records. Finally, their third album Temptations arrived in 2001, featuring guest spots from Abstract Rude and RBX. (A career-spanning album of remixes, Version 2.0, also appeared the same year.)
Virtually all the members worked on solo projects during the 2000s, led by Aceyalone and Myka 9, but only an EP appeared under the Freestyle Fellowship name (2002's Shockadoom). Then, in 2011, the group released their fourth album, The Promise, on Decon.
Freestyle Fellowship is a rap group from Los Angeles, California. It consists of Aceyalone, Myka 9, P.E.A.C.E. and Self Jupiter. They are part of a hip hop collective Project Blowed.
Freestyle Fellowship's vocal techniques focusing on the method of freestyle rap and their successful infusion of hip hop and jazz established the group as forerunners in the sub-genre of jazz rap and placed them amongst prominent West Coast underground hip hop acts of the early 1990s such as Hieroglyphics and The Pharcyde.
Freestyle Fellowship was formed at the Good Life Cafe in Los Angeles, California during the early 1990s. In an interview, Myka 9 stated that he knew and grew up with Aceyalone and Self Jupiter since elementary school, and he met P.E.A.C.E. in 10th grade. Before Freestyle Fellowship was formed, Aceyalone, Spoon (of Iodine) and Myka 9 had been in a group called the MC Aces in high school.
After releasing the first album To Whom It May Concern..., Freestyle Fellowship became known in tape-trading circles, identified by their range in rhyming, at times bordering on Jazz scat, and Afrocentric messages over jazz inspired beat production. Their second album Innercity Griots is acknowledged by many to be among the best hip hop albums of the 1990s.
In 1993, Freestyle Fellowship went on hiatus due to the four year incarceration of Self Jupiter. After his release, the group reunited to record Shockadoom in 1998. Their third album Temptations was released in 2001. They released the fourth album The Promise in 2011.
All members of Freestyle Fellowship have released solo albums, with Aceyalone and Myka 9 being the most prolific. In addition to their solo works, Aceyalone and Myka 9 have released two albums as Haiku D'Etat with Abstract Rude.
In 1999, P.E.A.C.E. won second place in Scribble Jam to Eyedea.
Freestyle Fellowship is featured prominently in the award-winning documentary This Is the Life, chronicling the music movement that was birthed at The Good Life Cafe in South Central, Los Angeles. The Good Life Cafe is the open-mic workshop where the group first performed in the early 1990s.