Mthembeni Ndevu was born in the mid-sized town Matatiele, situated in the Eastern Cape, a coastal province in South Africa. He grew up in Rockville, Soweto, a major township in the Gauteng Province. In an interview on South African channel ANN7, eMTee claims that he wanted to be a musician from first grade in primary school. He performed on stage for the first time at the age of 9, at a Yeoville primary school talent show.
At the age of 17, eMTee started making money from his musical efforts. He became the youngest choir conductor at Barnata High School, and won many provincial competitions as a member of his school's marimba band.
eMTee kept working on his music throughout his late teen years, opting to not repeat his final year although his pass was not good enough to enter him into the major universities in South Africa.
In 2010, emTee collaborated with South African rapper Maraza on a song titled "In It To Win It". They appeared on Channel O's show "HeadRush".