N2Deep is a rap group from Vallejo, best known for their 1992 hit single “Back To The Hotel.”
Formed in 1989, by Johnny Z (John Zunino), Jay Tee (James Trujillo), and TL (Timothy Lyon). While attending college in Sacramento Johnny Z began producing hip hop music and after graduating and moving back to Vallejo, TL referred Johnny to an inspiring rapper, Jay Tee (James Trujillo). The three began writing and recording hip hop demos and performing live shows originally as 3DEEP. Before long, Johnny Z decided to work strictly behind the scenes and on the music and production end, while Jay Tee and TL performed the vocals and live shows.
In 1990, the group now known as N2DEEP released an up-tempo single on vinyl record and cassette titled “Work That Body” on Rated Z Recordz, a label and production company started by Johnny Z. The single saw some club play and opened the doors for more live shows throughout the Bay Area. By 1992 the group and Rated Z prepared to release an EP, titled Back At The Hotel. Just before the cassette tape and vinyl record were to be released, Johnny decided to send the tape to Cory Robbins of Profile Records. Cory then contacted Steve and offered a production contract to Rated Z for the group. By May 1992 the first single, now titled “Back To The Hotel,” was released on Profile Records. The full length album with the same title was also released, both to eventually receive RIAA certified gold records for sales of over 500,000.
The group enjoyed much success from the single and album and toured the country performing numerous live shows, including KMEL’s Summer Jam on more than one occasion.
In 1993 N2DEEP signed with management company Bust It, and began recording their sophomore album. But before anything from the album could get released, Profile Records was sold and the group was dropped from the label. Bust It quickly released the second album, 24-7-365, with some radio success but never reaching the sales of the previous album.
In 2008 Jay Tee and TL reformed N2Deep and started performing with long time friend Lofty (Joe Battle) followed by local Vallejo artists Mike Mekhalian (Big Mike) – guitarist/ music composer, Andrew Fox – drums, and Gregory Holben – bass (Later to be replaced by Ray B. Williams on bass). The group successfully started performing shows across the Bay Area to promote their upcoming new album titled The Movement. The album was released on November 18, 2008 on Jay Tee‘s own label 40 Ounce Records. For almost two decades Johnny Z aka JDeville, Jay Tee, and N2Deep have remained an underground presence in Northern California and The Bay Area rap scene, releasing several group and solo albums on their respective independent labels.
On Saturday, January 22, 2011 while visiting with friends and family, Lofty (Joe Battle) and his wife, Tamera, were killed in a motorcycle accident in Vacaville, California.