Art thrives on new voices. Music, in particular, tends to take major steps forward when emerging acts arrive on the scene with a fresh perspective. Emerging from Jackson, Mississippi is a 23-year-old rapper wise beyond his years, whose fresh, positive, and inspiring outlook on life provides the basis for a soundtrack with a remarkable vibrancy.
“It’s a young world,” E.L.I. says. “It’s about being young and enjoying life. Right now, our world is so down and so negative because of what’s going on. My world is the opposite of that. In my world, everything is on the up and up. I am appreciative of everything that I have and everything that I’ve gone through in order to make it to where I am today. The world needs an outlet and the kids need an outlet to be happy. I feel like I can do that with my music.”
With new music coming out this fall, E.L.I. feels his new project, Harry the Pothead and The Sorcerer Stoned will provide his fans with an inside look to the feelings and experiences that he has undergone.
Although, many rappers are unwilling to put their personal pain, frustration, and anger on display, E.L.I. believes that doing so makes him a more genuine artist. “If I’m going to try to hide who I am in my music, then there’s no reason for me to do it,” he says. “I can be the player, but I can also be the person who got played – and that’s something everyone can relate to. Everybody tries to act like they’re only a player and that’s not true. I feel like being vulnerable is a good chance for people to be like, ‘He’s real.’ Right now, people want to hear real music and people want to hear what’s real.”
By bridging the gap between the urban, funk, and hip-hop worlds, E.L.I. is indeed set to conquer all three realms. In fact, he imagines himself following in the footsteps of another trailblazing artist whose distinctive style has led him to his success. “I look at myself as a modern day MOS Def,” E.L.I. says. “When MOS Def came out in New York, he was different from the normal New York sound, but he fit in perfectly. Everybody loved him. He was a real lyricist. That is what he represented. I feel like I can do the same thing.”
E.L.I.’s intelligence, verbal skill, and keen eye for social observation has made him a future spokesman of the new hip-hop generation who appeals to people from all walks of life.
My work is a reflection of the human condition,” E.L.I. says. “I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to mislead people. I want to tell the truth. All my songs are not happy, some of them are even aggressive—some may say they’re ‘mean’ but we all experience these feelings in life. I’m just being honest about what I feel and what sounds and ideas were motivating me at the time.”
E.L.I. says his passion is simply to make good ass music and to convey a message (whatever that message may be) through his music.