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When 2Pac signed to Death Row upon his release from prison, he recruited his step brother Mopreme Shakur and Big Syke from Thug Life. Hussein Fatal, Napoleon, E.D.I. Mean, Kastro, Yaki Kadafi, and Storm (the only female Outlaw) were also added, and together they formed the original lineup of the Outlaw Immortalz that debuted on 2Pac's multi-platinum smash All Eyez on Me. They later dropped the immortal after the untimely deaths of 2Pac and Yaki Kadafi and moved on as Outlawz without the members of Thug Life. When Tupac Shakur recorded "Hit 'Em Up" a diss song towards his former friend and rival, The Notorious B.I.G., he recruited three members from the former group whom he had worked with previously, and was eager to work with them again. Together, with the New Jersey rappers and other associates, they formed the original lineup of the Outlawz. Young Noble was later added and appeared on 2Pac's second Death Row release The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. It was on 2Pac's Makaveli album that Outlawz first came to the greater rap community's notice, appearing on a few songs.
The idea behind the group was for each member to have a rap name coinciding with the names of various leaders who resisted control by the new world order, past and present. Outlawz chose in later years to make a backronym out of the letters of their group name Operating Under Thug Laws As Warriorz although it does not stand for the group's name and is used infrequently.