“Once you choose hope anything’s possible”- Christopher Reeve
The idea of making a way out is a common one but, everyone has to realize that making a way out does not happen unless you create it for yourself. Artist El Rell did this by realizing he no longer wants to be a part of the system that people around him may have become a part of.
El Rell is from the Southside of Chicago. While living on the Southside, he attended John Fiske Elementary and King College Prep High School. At John Fiske Elementary El Rell played basketball. Going to these schools allowed El Rell to see his teammate become enemies and numbers in the system. This made him decide to either find a way to make a life for himself or get it by any means necessary. It is upsetting but empowering at the same time because El Rell became an example that younger Black men can look to. Once El Rell realized he didn’t want to be a part of that system he became a first-generation college student and is currently attending one of the Top 20 Universities in the country (the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign).
Before El Rell was known as El Rell people knew him as Elvin Shields. Elvin started rapping at the age of 7 which led him to write raps with his father. Due to his father’s writing raps with him, it created a foundation for the talented rapper we know today. Other than writing with his dad Elvin became good with words and fell in love with poetry, rapping plays. This love led to his love of storytelling that he provides in his raps. Because of this love, he began to take rapping seriously which allowed him to think of artists that influenced his art. Artists that have influenced him are Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Meek Mill, Herb. Current artists that are influencing his art now are Polo G and Roddy Ricch with the help of local rappers; Ryxn, Dojo, Ausar, and more.
As Elvin grew into El Rell he acknowledged that he had to be taken out of his comfort zone. According to El Rell, the project that made him step out of his comfort zone was Versatile simply because this led to the beginning of him releasing his music. He creates music that allows people to reflect on life and T’ Up music. El Rell’s top songs that he’s made are “Finessin”, “Same Shit”, “Gets your love”, “Idfwu (jungle remix)”, “2 Fingers Freestyle.”
El Rell’s love storytelling impacts the message he wants to portray with his music. Whether it’s a turn-up song like “2 Fingers Freestyle” or a thought-provoking song like “Gets your Love” he still wants to give people the message that there is hope with his music. He does this with his music and his actions. With that being said you should know whatever advice he has to give is valid. El Rell would give to new artists, “is to focus on your process and journey. It’s easy to compare yourself but understand everyone is different, stay true to yourself, focus on your craft, honor the craft, and you’ll see results. Always remember one faithful listener is better than 20 dry followers.” El Rell is always on the move. He has a music video coming out with Sk Da Sensei to their song “Cappin” which is on all streaming services. Next week on June 3rd he will have a two-song project coming out called Lovers and Friends. To stay updated with El Rell you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @aye_thats_rell.