Marcus Ramone Cooper Sr. was born in 1984 in Florida. His father left before the boy was born, and Cooper was brought up by his mother. Marcus faced problems of living in a bad neighborhood rather early. He tried hard to avoid unfortunate influences and became interested in music. The young man took singing lessons and performed with the school choir.
Cooper attended many local talent shows. At one of them, he saw the performance of the band Pretty Ricky and became a big fan. The aspiring singer’s uncle helped him contact the group’s manager. The manager appreciated Cooper’s talent and his wish to perform. Soon he invited Marcus to meet the group members and offered him a spot as a vocalist. At the same time, the artist adopted a pseudonym, which stemmed from his “pleasant” voice, according to the other band members.
In April 2005, Pretty Ricky released a single "Grind with Me", which immediately climbed to the sixth spot of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart and came in 7th on Billboard Hot 100. The song earned impressive popularity among the listeners of a Miami radio station Power 96. The program director Ira Wolf sent the recording to a representative of Atlantic Records. He came to Florida to listen to the group perform. After a short audition, Pretty Ricky signed a contract with the label.