Growing up, Janelle MonŠe (born Janelle Robinson) felt constrained by the limited resources offered to her in her greater Kansas City, Kansas home. When she finished high school, she moved to New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with the intention of pursuing musical theater, but in 2004, after performing in a couple of off-Broadway shows and realizing there weren't roles available to her that she wanted, she moved to Atlanta to try her luck there. She soon joined a band and began touring the local college circuit, where she eventually got in touch with her future partners in Wondaland Arts Society (a collective/label that looked to promote experimental arts) as well as OutKast's Big Boi. The rapper was so impressed by what he heard that of her he put two of her songs on his 2005 compilation Got Purp?, Vol. 2. MonŠe also showed up on OutKast's 2006 soundtrack, Idlewild, even appearing in the video for "Morris Brown."