Real name: Tommy McMahon
Effective period / Period of releases: 2001 - 2017Born in San Jose, CA in 1979, Controller 7 (aka Tommy McMahon) spent his early years spinning G.I. Joes off of his Sesame Street record player, playing in the mud, and falling face first off his bike. After spending some quality time memorizing the lyrics to Run-D.M.C.'s "You Be Illin'," air drumming to mid '80s jams on MTV, and becoming obsessed with dubbing tapes, he started playing the drums in 1988.
Fast forward four impatient years later and the idea of lessons and proper technique have been abandoned for pause tape beats with drums and an out of tune player piano. Two or three years later the obsession becomes making mix-tapes with a belt-drive turntable, a cd player, no mixer, and a broken 8 track cassette receiver.
It wasn't until he was introduced to the Ensoniq EPS sampler that his music materialized into rough demo tapes. Although the tapes were made purely for his own enjoyment, the dream of pressing up a record was there. So when one of those demo tapes fell into the hands of Sole (who was starting the Anticon label) in 1998, things started to take shape. Requests for a beat or two soon turned into a series of budding friendships.
In 1999, while living in Berkeley, Controller 7 started working on the third of those demo tapes. The two week project ended up taking six months to finish, and after squeezing 4 track mix sessions in between classes and homework, "Left Handed Straw" was finally released in the Spring of 2000. A small scale hand-made cd, it was self-described as a mixtape of "soon to be lost beats and records". After receiving great reviews, it was professionally re-released, and helped earn Controller 7 the honor of being one of URB Magazine's NEXT 100 people to watch for the year 2002 (in the company of D-Styles, RJD2, Dabrye, FOG, and others).