Childhood & Early Life
He was born Tramar Lacel Dillard on September 16, 1979, in Carol City, Florida, US, as the only son of his parents among eight children.
A music enthusiast since childhood, he got a feel of real music through his brother-in-law who was associated with the local rap group ‘2 Live Crew’ as hype man.
While in his ninth grade he became a member of the amateur rap group ‘GroundHoggz’. Other three members of the group were his friends from the apartment complex he lived. The four members of the group worked together for eight years.
He completed his high school studies in 1998 and enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ to study international business management, only to drop out after two months.
He also had a stint at the ‘Barry University’, however as his heart yearned for music, he left it after a couple of months to take forward his passion for music.
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His association with his brother-in-law led him to work as hype man and back-up rapper of Fresh Kid Ice, a member of ‘2 Live Crew’. He toured along with Ice in such capacity and went on to feature in many tracks of the latter’s album ‘Freaky Chinese’ (2004).
His work with Ice drew attention of Jodeci member DeVante Swing and even though he came under guidance of A&R, he strived to associate with a good label and faced rejections from major record labels.
In 2000 he signed with the American hip hop group ‘Hot Boyz’
In his struggling days he did several odd jobs to take his musical passion forward, strayed in motels and even on streets sometimes. After getting a call from a representative of American record label ‘Poe Boy Entertainment’ (presently ‘Poe Boy Music Group’), he went back to Florida. He signed with the label in 2004.
The track ‘Birthday’ featuring Rick Ross that later found place in his debut album ‘Mail on Sunday’ marked his first major release.
The song ‘Bitch I'm From Dade County’ from the 2007 album of DJ Khaled titled ‘We the Best’ featured him in guest appearance for the first time along with Rick Ross, Dre, C-Ride, Trina, Brisco and Trick Daddy.
On October 9, 2007, he released his first single through ‘Atlanta Records’ titled ‘Low’ that found place in his first studio album ‘Mail on Sunday’. The song written by Tramar Dillard and T-Pain, also featuring the latter was incorporated in the American blockbuster dance film ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’ (2008).
‘Low’ emerged as a huge international hit climbing atop several national and international charts including US Billboard Hot 100, US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard), US Rhythmic (Billboard), the ARIA Charts and Canadian Hot 100 among others.
His debut studio album ‘Mail on Sunday’ released on March 18, 2008, generated three singles including ‘Low’. The other two "Elevator" released on February 11, 2008 and ‘In the Ayer’ released on May 20, 2008, also made to different charts including peaking at #16 and #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 respectively.
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Many of the tracks of ‘Mail on Sunday’ featured guest artists including Lil Wayne in ‘American Superstar’; Timbaland in ‘Elevator’; will.i.am in ‘In the Ayer’; and Sean Kingston in ‘Roll’ among others.
In 2008 he also featured in albums like ‘The Fame’ by Lady Gaga, ‘Gutta’ by Ace Hood and ‘We Global’ by DJ Khaled; and guest performed in singles like ‘Running Back’ by Jessica Mauboy and ‘Move Shake Drop’ by DJ Laz.
The second studio album of this ace rapper, ‘R.O.O.T.S (Route of Overcoming the Struggle) released on March 31, 2009 debuted at #8 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It recorded a first week sell of 55,000 copies and went on to become the eighth best selling rap album of that year.
‘R.O.O.T.S spawned six singles ‘Right Round’ , ‘Shone’, ‘Sugar’, ‘Jump’, ‘Be on You’ and ‘Available’ and went on to earn a nomination for best rap album at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
The lead single of ‘R.O.O.T.S titled ‘Right Round’ was released earlier on January 27, 2009. It climbed atop the US Billboard Hot 100 and US Billboard Pop 100 charts and held the position in the former for six successive weeks.
Many movies like ‘Rush Hour’, ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Pitch Perfect’ among others used the single ‘Right Round’.
He guest featured in British recording artist Alexandra Burke’s song ‘Bad Boys’ that released on October 12, 2009, and debuted at #1on the UK Singles Chart.
‘Only One Flo (Part 1)’, his third studio album released on November 30, 2010, couldn’t garner much success as its predecessors and marks his least successful release till present.
He founded his own label ‘International Music Group’ in December 2010 which has so far signed with Git Fresh and Brianna.
His fourth studio album ‘Wild Ones’ that released on July 3, 2012, made its debut at #14 on the US Billboard 200 and topped the US Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard). Its debut single ‘Good Feeling’ that he dedicated to late Etta James ranked at #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The other three singles of ‘Wild Ones’ out of a total of six namely ‘Whistle’, ‘Wild Ones’ and ‘I Cry’ that charted within top ten of US Billboard Hot 100 clinched the 1st, 5th and 6th spots respectively.
On April 7, 2015, he released his EP ‘My House’ that made its debut at #14 on the US Billboard 200. It had a streaming count of more than 5 million.
He is presently working on his upcoming fifth studio album ‘The Perfect 10’ which probably would include his February 17, 2017 released single ‘Game Time’ as its lead single.