Born Chad Bromley to teenage parents in a working-class area of Connecticut, rapper Apathy first discovered hip-hop at age five when his uncle played him Chaka Khan's 1984 cover of the Prince song "I Feel for You," which featured Melle Mel rapping. Instantly hooked, Apathy began listening to rap incessantly, soaking up the sounds of Gang Starr, Jay-Z, Nas, and Organized Konfusion, among others, as well as writing his own rhymes. He made his debut on Jedi Mind Tricks' 1997 debut LP, The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological, and Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness, adding verses to three tracks. Shortly after, he was releasing singles on Bronx Science Records. It was through that label that Apathy met up with Celph Titled, the producer/MC originally from Florida who had worked for Bronx Science's distributor. The two founded the Demigodz crew (with 7L & Esoteric, El Fudge, Louis Logic, Open Mic, and Rise as the other initial members) and in 2002 they released their EP The Godz Must Be Crazy. The EP was enough to gain attention from major labels, including Interscope, which wanted to sign Apathy and Celph, and Atlantic, which was more interested in Apathy as a solo artist. Eventually, Apathy chose the latter, and soon began recording tracks for his debut. However, disagreement over the direction of the album would delay progress considerably. After a few years, the rapper signed a distribution deal with indie label Babygrande, which helped release Eastern Philosophy in 2006 (many of the other tracks that he had already written for Atlantic ended up on the mixtapes It's the Bootleg, Muthafuckas!, Vol. 1 and Where's Your Album?!!) while negotiations for the major-label debut — which was tentatively titled Bearer of Bad News — continued (despite the drawn-out process, Apathy would leave Atlantic in 2009). To appease fans during the period of label limbo, Apathy released yet another mixtape, Baptism by Fire, which came out on the Demigodz Records.