Northside was initially released as part of the NPG Music Club Edition # 3 as an mp3 download, credited to the New Power Generation. In 2004, it was included as the seventh track on the compilation album The Slaughterhouse, with no specific artist credit.
While exact recording dates are not known, the track is believed to have been recorded in late 2000 or early 2001. Najee, who plays horn stabs on the song, started working with Prince in September 2000. The track also features Kip Blackshire on background vocals, but other musical personnel are not known. The song may initially have been intended for the New Power Generation's album Peace, announced in March 2000, but this project may have been abandoned by the time the song was recorded.