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In 2001, bass player Tim Ricketts met spoken word artist Derrick Harriell in a class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After class one day, Harriell invited Ricketts to sit in on a studio session with Harriell's hip-hop trio, Black Elephant.

A year later, a Ricketts-led group of musicians joined Black Elephant's three vocalists - Harriell, rapper Dameon Ellzey and singer-songwriter Element Everest, raising the profile of one of Milwaukee's most celebrated hip-hop bands.

When Black Elephant broke up in 2007, the instrumentalists continued on asCigarette Break, performing at festivals and clubs around the city.

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