Blak Jak grew up in Decatur, Georgia, and learned about hip hop from his cousins, who had formed a group called the Ward Boys. In 2006, he released his first album independently, which included production by Shawty Redd (who had previously won recognition producing for Young Jeezy); the first single from the album, "Ride & Swerve", featured guest rapper Project Pat and became an underground hit in the Southern US. Blak Jak continued to win fans after he released a mixtape with DJ Smallz, Roll da Dice, in the summer of 2006. On the strength of the single, Universal Records offered Blak Jak a record deal, and the independent album was re-released in October 2006 under the title Place Your Bets. The single "Bobbin' My Head" scored radio airplay toward the end of 2006, as did his collaboration with T-Pain, "Ball Out ($500)", in March 2007. In the summer of 2007, Los Angeles Dodger infielder Tony Abreu used "Bobbin' My Head" as his entrance music.