Suga Free was born in Oakland and raised in Compton, later becoming based in Pomona, California.
He began his professional rapping career working with DJ Quik, with Quik serving as the producer on his debut album, Street Gospel, released in 1997, which reached number 27 on the Billboard R&B albums chart.
He made guest appearances on Xzibit's Restless and Snoop Dogg's Tha Last Meal in 2000, and released a second album in 2004, The New Testament, which peaked at number 23 on the R&B albums chart and number 72 on the Billboard 200. Just Add Water followed in 2006, described by Allmusic: "Just Add Water may not be the complete handbook to being a pimp, but it certainly is a kind of missive on the life of Suga Free."] The album saw Suga described as "charismatic and funny, with a rapid- fire-yet-conversational style" by the Chicago Tribune