Originally from Liberia but now based in the twin cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, MC and producer EL.i.BE brings a multicultural perspective to his music. His new album, ‘Liberation’, set for release on May 19, is an in-depth look into his mind, and touches on subjects such as friendship, loneliness, and big city living.
EL.i.BE began his rhyming from a young age, and founded the hip-hop group, D-Mine, in 2004. After the group disbanded in 2011, he went solo, and released his EP, ‘Dreams’, with Cherry Sky Studios, of which he is a co-founder. His new album, ‘Liberation’, is a showcase of his skills as a storyteller and lyricist, and reflects on life’s impermanence.
Opening with ‘Come On’, featuring Graydon Francis and Bryan Doe, you realise that ‘Liberation’ isn’t your garden variety hip-hop album. Harking back to his Liberian heritage, EL.i.BE makes use of traditional musical instruments and styles, and layers his rhymes over top, giving the songs a more contemporary flavour. It’s well to describe him as a “lyrical warrior”, as he spits out the words which find their inspiration in being a first-generation immigrant finding his way in urban America.
The album features collaborations with other artists, such as the above Graydon Francis and Bryan Doe, and also Rich Garvey, Artie Earl, Metasota, and O-Lay. ‘Feelin’ Right’ is an eclectic mix of contemporary rhymes layered on top of a base of pipes and other wind instruments. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
Outside of music, EL.i.BE is also an active member of his community and college, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Metro State University. He spent several years working in the finance industry, and brings this experience, as well as his work curating local events to his current work as Marketing Manager, with Cherry Sky Studios.