Custom Made (also known as C-Made) is an American hip-hop group from Los Angeles, CA known for their hardcore reality based mixtape series, Street Cinema. They were key players in helping to establish a mixtape scene in Los Angeles during the early 2000’s. Diverting from the G-funk blueprint followed by many West Coast rappers, the music Custom Made creates is more inspired from the cold, grimy soundscapes of East Coast groups like Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang Clan, mixed with the in-your-face brashness of N.W.A. The group was created in 2002, by emcees Lavi Bluff, Scavie Scoobs, EL-K!NG (formerly known as Element Rhymes) and Sinister Six while attending high school together in LA. School quickly became an afterthought and a career in music became their main focus. Due to Six being incarcerated for the majority of their career they were ultimately forced into becoming a trio. In 2004, Scoobs founded Custom Made Recordings as an outlet for the group to release their independent albums and mixtapes. The label is currently distributed by The Orchard, a division of Sony Music. That same year the group released their first straight-to-street album, LA State of Mind, which was well received by both critics and underground hip-hop fans alike. This led to the beginning of their Street Cinema mixtape series which would end up becoming their trademark staple. During the next few years they released a barrage of mixtapes, quickly moving over 100,000 units on the streets independently. By 2006, their relentless grind and hustle was beginning to attract attention from numerous record labels, both major and independent. Brushing off the majors, the group decided to sign with the indie NYC powerhouse hip-hop label Babygrande Records. The label released Sidewalk Mindtalk (2006), a synopsis of their best previous mixtapes. Their proper debut album was intended to be released shortly after their signing, but was delayed for a few years because Sinister Six received a four year prison sentence for counterfeiting and drug sales. That material was then converted into Truth Be Told, which was released by the legendary hip-hop label Rawkus Records in 2007.
That same year Element joined The Bronx rap group Street Disciplez, who would become the NYC extended family of Custom Made. Their official Babygrande debut LP, Original Dynasty, was finally released in 2008. In 2009, the group left Babygrande and continued to release projects via their Custom Made Recordings imprint. Element became the first group member to release a solo album with his classic LP, Great Expectations. In 2010, they signed a one album deal with NYC hip-hop label Coalmine Records for the release of their LP, Hi-Def. In 2011, Bluff was indicted on fifteen counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Bluff was placed on house arrest for an entire year while he was fighting his case which halted his ability to continue his position in Custom Made. A year later he was sentenced to twelve months in federal prison for his role in the wire fraud scheme and upon his release he eventually served another year in prison due to parole violations. With the group down to two members, Element and Scoobs used this time period to focus more on their respective solo careers and both began releasing numerous albums and videos. Element collaborated with Custom Made producer Abstrakt Soundz for his second LP, A Long Story Short and on his third, crowned KING. Scoobs kicked off his solo career with his debut LP, Trap Star Volume One, which was followed by the EP, Yola King. In 2013, Scoobs joined forces with fellow LA rapper Woozy Medz to create the duo Go Up Boyz and dropped their EP, Dealer // Druggy. Woozy Medz was a founding member of the popular LA underground group Brothaz Bent and The Arch Druids, who had been affiliated with Custom Made since the early 2000’s. Coincidentally, Scoobs was also dealing with numerous legal issues of his own and ended up spending the majority of that decade in and out of jail on various charges related to drug sales. Two months after the release of Dealer // Druggy, Scoobs himself was sentenced to a year in jail behind charges for drug sales. The constant legal issues surrounding Bluff, Scoobs and Six during these years made it extremely difficult for any consistent recording or promotion of new Custom Made material to happen. Element was already an avid battle rapper and began focusing on his standing within the battle rap world. Before long he became a regular in the professional rap battle scene. To date he has dueled with many of the most well known emcees in the rap battle circuit across the United States.
By 2016, all four original founding members were once again united and they finally started recording the first new Custom Made records since the release of Hi-Def in 2010. Sinister Six also started the gangsta rap duo, Guda Gang, with fellow Watts rapper Black Johnson. The founding fathers of C-Made being united wouldn’t last long as in 2019, Six received a thirty five year prison sentence for manslaughter and weapons charges. Eventually his sentence was reduced upon appeal and he is currently eligible for parole in 2028. Since then, Element and Scoobs have continued to release more solo projects and Scoobs opened up Custom Made Creative, a full service recording and production studio with locations in Inglewood and Downtown Los Angeles. They currently have a slew of new albums from the entire group waiting in the wings to be released for the fans. Overall, the story of Custom Made is a true LA hip-hop story unlike any other. The beauty of the group has always been their diverse subject matter and the fact that each member allows the others to be themselves artistically and individually. The music they make is much deeper than your average gangsta rap records. Their music is reality based at its core, but they have never been afraid to touch on any topic whether it be socially conscious issues, their extensive partying in the Hollywood club scene, their time spent incarcerated or just vivid storytelling about life growing up in Los Angeles. They have never allowed the industry to place them in stereotypical boxes or be defined by one specific style of hip-hop. The simple fact that they have spent their entire careers refusing to be restricted or tied down by any constraints reinforces that as artists; they are truly Custom Made. The route they decided to follow has been far from easy and perfect, but it has resulted in some of the most classic hip-hop music to ever emerge from Los Angeles. Doing things their way and staying true to themselves has always been a main focus of their artistic approach and throughout the years of trials and tribulations, that same determination has never wavered. Custom Made is a brotherhood originally formed by street kids over their love for hip-hop that has evolved and grown into a brand known worldwide.
Besides the original founding core members the Custom Made Crew is also a collective of Los Angeles and New York hip-hop musicians made up of rappers Aneek, Lavi Bluff, EL-K!NG, Paradox, Skitzo, Scavie Scoobs, Sinister Six, Lexus, S-Mak, Woozy Medz, Ei8ht, Panama Gold and producers Abstrakt Soundz, THX Beats, Finesse, and Jayem. Members from the crew have appeared on every Custom Made release since LA State of Mind.