Although he calls both Compton and Mississippi home, West Coast gangsta rapper Hot Dollar was actually born in Chicago, IL. He and his older brother, fellow California rapper Guerilla Black, moved around constantly to various parts of the country before settling in Hattiesburg, MS. When Hot Dollar was eight, they relocated to Compton; however, at 14, he moved back to Hattiesburg and then returned to Compton at age 20. The incessant moving reflected the ups and downs from his early life, entering in and out of homeless shelters and juvenile detention facilities. His big brother first encouraged him to commit his rhymes to ink and helped bring him up to par in the rap game.
When Hot Dollar offered his first mixtape, Rags to Riches, it was evident that his decidedly West Coast gangsta flair was informed by his growing up in the South, with his steady, syrupy enunciations. After another mixtape and some local hits on L.A. radio, Hot Dollar became a hot commodity. Jermaine Dupri, who had just took up the post as head of urban music at Island Def Jam, acquired Hot Dollar as one of his first signees to the label in early 2007. Now with major-label backing, Hot Dollar issued the 2Pac-invoking street single "Two Steppin' (Streets on Lock)," which became the first for his debut album, My Dreams... A Day in the Life (2007).