Regarded as the most successful hip-hop group to hail from Indianapolis, Indiana, the Mudkids have received steady underground support nationwide and lots of hometown love since the late 1990s. The outfit has constantly had two members at its core: Russ Johnson, the MC (a.k.a. Rusty, Choc Soreel, Dangeruss, Rusty Redenbacher), and Tyler Knapp, the DJ (a.k.a. Elp-Mass). Their style is reminiscent of old-school pioneers like Pharcyde, Tribe Called Quest, Main Source, etc., where heavy wordplay is just as important as obscure sampling. Their first CD, "4-Track Mind", was released in late 1998, followed by "Upward" in 2000, what many consider to be their best CD - both released locally. "Upward" featured a minor college-radio hit, "The Ecosystem (Balance Of Nature)". They hooked up with Stray Records in L.A. after that to release "Higher", their third CD in 2001. After a five-year hiatus from recording, the Kids returned in late 2006 to release "Basementality", with some help from newest Mudkid Skittz (a.k.a. Brian Philps). Their live shows have been the stuff of local legends, nowadays joined by DJ Helicon. Rusty himself is an Indy legend, holding down numerous jobs: working at Northside News in Indy's Broad Ripple district, VJ for IMC (Indy's Music Channel - local TV), sometime DJ for Hot 96.3 FM, clerk at Rockin' Billy's Music, club DJ at various Indy clubs... When it comes to regional hip hop, the Mudkids have the Hoosier State locked.