In 2003, twin brothers Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan, now known as the production duo Christian Rich, got their first placement on a Lil Kim record. That was when they were both Speech Communication majors at the University of Illinois in Champaign, a couple of hours south of their native Chicago. That same year, they gave beats to Clipse and Foxy Brown. 

Those placements were hooked up by New York producer EZ Elpee, an NYC fixture in the '90s, behind Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s "Get Money," Nas & The Bravehearts "Oochie Wally," and Shyne's "Bad Boyz," to name a few. He connected with the Hassan bros while he was visiting Chicago, looking for bright young producers to sign to his label, Paperchase Records. 

Their breakout year would prove to be more prolific than the few that followed. While on Paperchase, they remotely produced a few more decidedly East Coast tracks, for Roc-A-Fella duo Young Gunz in '04 and Raekwon in '06. They also started a band, which they called Christian Rich, that became their primary creative outlet. Taiwo sang, and both he and Kehinde, alongside a rotating cast of their talented friends, blended their productions with live instrumental improvisations. At the same time, they both picked up investment banking jobs in New York. Music was a passion, but not necessarily a viable career path.