The duo formed in 1993 when Esoteric DJed a hip hop show at a college radio station north of Boston. 7L, a DJ and producer who listened to the show, contacted Esoteric in the interest of collaborating. The two found they shared a common love of the golden age of hip-hop and decided to form a group.
After performing for some time in the Boston/Cambridge underground, the duo released their first single in 1996 as God Complex with MC Karma. The B-side, "Secret Wars", gained a lot of attention as Esoteric paid tribute to the heroes of Marvel Comics in rhyme form. This led to the release of the Rebel Alliance LP, featuring acts such as Virtuoso, Mr. Lif, and Force Five. Also at this time, the two dropped the God Complex moniker and became known as simply 7L & Esoteric.