One-half of the hip-hop group Micranots, I Self Devine spent most of his childhood in various neighborhoods in Los Angeles. His mother, an artist and social worker, gave her son a copy of "Rapper's Delight" for his seventh birthday, and he soon found solace in rhyme. At 13 he began freestyling, and in 1989, after he and his mother had moved to Minneapolis, I Self began trying to start his own band. Eventually, the Micranots were formed with Truth Maze and Kool Akiem , and soon they had put out a few albums on cassette. In 1994 the group, sans Truth Maze, moved to Atlanta, where they released more albums, eventually getting signed to New York's 3-2-1 Records.