This one’s really nice. Substantial is an MC from Maryland and this was his first album, a collaboration with Japanese producer Nujabes. Here’s something from his Bebo profile:
When Substantial was recording his debut album, ...To This Union a Sun Was Born, he was driven by adversity. The Maryland native was struggling to balance school with a budding music career, was homeless at times and still reeling from having buried more than ten friends and family members.
The resulting album—produced by Nujabes and Monorisick of Hyde Out Productions and released in October 2001—earned Substantial international critical acclaim and a particularly devoted following in Japan, where it was recorded and distributed.