Andre Nickatina first appeared on the Bay Area rap scene in 1993 under the name Dre Dog as a member of the group I.M.P. (Ill Mannered Posse). Shortly after the release of I.M.P's Back in the Days he left to form a solo career. He released two albums under the stage name Dre Dog: The New Jim Jones in 1993 and I Hate You With a Passion in 1995. I Hate You With a Passion peaked at #79 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In 1997, Adams changed his stage name to Andre Nickatina, and released the albums: Cocaine Raps under his own label, Filmoe Coleman Records and Raven in My Eyes, which was released under the Bay Area Independent Rap Label Dogday Records. Unlike his albums released under the name Dre Dog, Cocaine Raps had deeper production values [First Collaborations with Producer Nick Peace]. The album Raven in My Eyes was noted for its production quality and songs that combine "sequencers and keyboards that buzz and whine" with live instrumentation. That year, he founded his own record label, Filmoe Coleman Records. Nickatina explained in an interview with Strivin magazine that his name change was "for the better" and that he raps because he feels that he is talented enough to do so but not for the sake of popularity.
Soon afterwards, his following three albums, Tears of a Clown (1999), Daiquiri Factory: Cocaine Raps, Vol. 2, The Unreleased [Sold Exclusively at shows and appreances] and These R the Tales (the latter three in 2000) gained him notoriety in the West Coast underground rap scene. Mosi Reeves of the San Francisco Bay Guardian noted Nickatina's popularity at a CD release party for another underground Bay Area rapper/producer, Smoov-E; Reeves called Nickatina "a quick-witted rapper who spits as hard as Kurupt does". A combo CD/movie project, Conversation with a Devil, followed in 2003. Lindsay Welnick, a music critic for SF Weekly, regarded the film as a knockoff of the classic gangster movie Scarface. Nate Denver for the SF Bay Guardian praised the album, though. Another album, The Gift followed in 2005, when the newspaper SF Weekly named Nickatina the "Best Local Hip Hop Legend" of that year. That same year, he would collaborate with Ilych Sato, better known as Equipto, for his 14th studio album titled "Horns and Halos", which would be accompanied by two sequels later that year and in the following year. Also, in 2005, Nickatina won the first annual Bay Area Raps Awards for Best Underground Artist. In 2008, he released A Tale of Two Andres with Mac Dre. Although they released only three songs together (Andre N Andre, U Beezy, My Homeboy's Chevy), they were close friends and the album was a tribute to his memory. Nickatina's self-entitled 2013 album debuted at #46 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #12 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, and at a time appeared on iTunes' main albums chart, making it his most successful album to date.