The 7 man crew known as the Athletic Mic League came together while still attending high school in Ann Arbor, MI. Buff1, 14KT, Grand Champ, Sunny Star, Texture, and Vital joined forces with DJ Haircut AKA Mayer Hawthorne and after two years of love and support from the local hip-hop community they made it official. Athletic Mic League was out to show the world what their brand of hip-hop was all about.
By 1998 AML had blessed high school talent shows, house parties, and hip-hop nights across Detroit. Following up with their underground classic demo The Thrill is Gone, the buzz grew to deafening levels. In 1999 they settled in Jersey City, quickly building their reputation and skills in the neighboring New York hip-hop scene.
They capitalized on their growing notoriety by dropping their debut album Sweats & Kicks which received rave reviews from the streets and hip-hop tastemakers alike. It also afforded them the opportunity of a lifetime. Their music was heard by Yasser Khan, an upstart manager out of Detroit's Barak Records. He was enthralled by their sound, and immediately set out to find what he knew was a once-in-a-career group. He introduced them to Barak's CEO, RJ Rice. Rice, a well-known record industry executive and the man behind seminal Detroit rap group Slum Village, recognized that AML had their finger on the pulse of what hip-hop needed: an infusion of energy and originality.
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