It takes talent to make the struggle to succeed seem effortless, but that is the gift that separates artists like Brooklyn's John Jackson, aka Fabolous, from the everyday MC. While most rappers spend more and more time convincing the masses of their "hustle," Fabolous lets his work speak for his effort. With two platinum albums (2001's Ghetto Fabolous and 2003's Street Dreams) and one Gold (2004's Real Talk) to his credit, the veteran hitmaker still exudes a rookie-of-the year swagger. After recording for both Elektra and Atlantic Records, Fab is enjoying a home coming with the legendary Def Jam label. His first recorded song was "If They Want It" from DJ Clue's The Professional, which was released by Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam in 1998. Now he is preparing to release his fourth street classic, From Nothin' to Somethin' under the watchful eye of his longtime collaborators. "I had people in my corner already over there," Fab says of DJ Clue and A&R Skane, the Desert Storm duo who discovered Fabolous. "So it wasn't like I was coming to a new neighborhood." While he doesn't site any one reason for his move, Fabolous has learned a lot from his time in the industry and is eager to capitalize on his experience. "I haven't peaked yet," he explains. "I was happy with the past records, but I have some adversity to learn off of for the future."
A member of the hip-hop duo Clipse, rapper Pusha T was born Terrence Thornton in the Bronx but was raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia along with his brother Gene Thornton. With Gene taking on the name Malice, the brothers formed Clipse in the early '90s, quickly forming a relationship with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams and embarking on a career that would include major-label record deals and critically revered albums. In 2010, the duo members announced they were taking a break to focus on solo careers. Pusha would sign with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint and land on his new label boss’ album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that same year. The next year he would release both the Fear of God mixtape and his official solo debut album, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray.