Claude Kelly was born to Jamaican immigrants in the 1980s. He began playing the piano at the age of 2 and by middle school mastered the flute. After high school, Kelly attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and after graduation in 2002 returned to Manhattan. Through networking and word of mouth, Kelly met as many producers as he could, and by 2002 had written a song that ended up a compilation by the Japanese clothing line A Bathing Ape. "It was a lucky break," he said.