Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Raised King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Resides Seattle, Washington
Nationality Libyan American
Education The Pennsylvania State University
Occupation Hip Hop Recording Artist
Genres Hip hop
Years Active 2011 - Present
Labels Unsigned Independent
Malik Elarbi (formerly known as LRB) is a Libyan American hip-hop artist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known amongst his online audience where he has generated over 250,000 streams and views.
Malik Elarbi was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where he attended Upper Merion Area High School. He went on to attend the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a minor in Supply Chain and Information Science & Technology. Outside of music, he has worked for multiple Fortune 50 companies as a Financial Analyst, most recently relocating him to Seattle, Washington as of August 2016.
2011-2012: Early Career
Elarbi began his music career writing poetry in middle school. By the end of high school, he was known for his clever raps used for school projects and organizations. It was not until his freshmen year of college when he began posting videos of himself rapping in his dorm room that he began generating significant traffic. Remixing songs requested by his fanbase, he quickly gained traction - releasing a new video once a week. He was then scheduled for regular shows in the State College area, most notably as a Finalist during the Penn State Idol competition. From there, he was invited to perform across the United States, with notable performances headlining in Houston, Texas and opening for fellow Libyan American emcee, Kayem (formerly Khaled M) in Baltimore, Maryland.
2013-2014: Leaving the Dorm Room
After posting videos of freestyles and studio sessions for years, Elarbi recorded his first set of singles at Jon Kilmer Studios in New York City, engineered by Tim Sommers of Kinetics and One Love. Shortly there after, he connected with videographer, Miles Cable, to release 8 music videos across 2013 and 2014. Shot between Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston, the project also featured collaborations with Nick Kermelewicz (AKA The President). Songs included remixes (We Are Young, Call Me Maybe, Where’d You Go, Hello) and originals (I Never Made It, Walls, Let’s Go, Starfish). Select tracks were also featured on a joint EP with Kermelewicz entitled “Cheesesteaks & Roast Beef” (paying homage to Philadelphia and Boston where both artists grew up). Elarbi was sponsored by multiple brands including Evolve Clothing, Believe the Hype Apparel, and Bad Publicity. His releases were featured on various blogs including BroBible and Onward State.
2015-2016: Hiatus and Comeback
Originally releasing under the alias, LRB, Elarbi recognized his dual personalities and decided to step away from music. Filling his creative void, he turned to photography where he took on numerous freelance projects and built out a portfolio (available today on his website). He had no plans to return back to music until November 2016 when he met with friend, Adam Jaber, in Seattle, Washington. Elarbi points to this conversation as the reason he came back to music. Jaber encouraged Elarbi to continue pursuing his music career and recorded a video of Elarbi rapping in the car, which he immediately posted on social media. Upon seeing the warm reception, Elarbi shared the same video catapulting him into consistent releases starting in 2017.
2017-2019: It’s Always Sunny in Seattle
Coming back to music with his real name and no alias, Elarbi went back to his roots; releasing behind the scenes videos out of his apartment and showing his organic process of creating a project. Playing on his keyboard and rapping one take live versions of his upcoming songs, he embodied a more wholesome artist concerned purely with the product he was putting out and less with the marketing, image, and brand. He also beatboxed alongside longtime friend, Yousuf Gula, in a few covers which caught traction particularly amongst the Libyan community. In early 2018, he released two singles (Its Always Sunny in Seattle and Never Need To), recorded at Ruby Room Recording in Seattle, Washington. He then partnered with Dylan Fout of The Place for Things to record a music video for Its Always Sunny in Seattle, discussing the struggles of leaving home in Philadelphia and his glass half-full mentality in a new city. His debut EP, Eight Years Later My Bad, is set to release in March 10th, 2019 with cover art by Jessica LaGreca. He is also working with producer, Daniel Gong (AKA Dansonn), and sound engineer, Matt Jacobson (AKA Matty J), on a project to follow the EP release.