While many students were relaxing over Penn State’s winter break, student Malik Elarbi (sophmore-finance and French) spent the holiday season in Chicago, filming four original music videos over a six-day period.
“I went completely blind,” Elarbi said. “I didn’t really know anything about the music video process.”
Elarbi, a performer who goes by the stage name LRB, picked up the process quickly and after the first night, the first music video was finished. The next five days were spent shooting the rest of the videos while editing the finished products.
Elarbi noticed a friend of his was putting out high-quality music videos. The friend put him in contact with producer Miles Cable. Elarbi and Cable instantly hit it off and began talking about setting up a time for Elarbi to come to Chicago.
“It was definitely mind-blowing,” Elarbi said. “We did more in six days than we have for the last six months.”
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Elarbi has always been interested in rapping. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2011, though, that he started thinking seriously about rapping as a career.
He began making weekly videos on his Youtube channel to get his name out there. BAD Publicity, a public relations firm in State College, picked up Elarbi after he proved himself to them.
He draws inspiration from his own life experiences for his music. His first EP entitled “Baggage” is “emotionally-driven,” Elarbi said.
Instead of dwelling on the past, he took the problems he was facing at that moment in his life and wrote about it in his music. At the time that meant music that dealt with his freshmen year of college and everything in between.
Elarbi produced an EP with Jon Kilmer, a well-known music producer in New York City. Kilmer has worked with the likes of Eminem, B.o.B., and Nicki Minaj.
The EP is yet to be released, but Elarbi hasn’t stopped putting out new music. Not wanting to release a mix tape that goes unnoticed, he is releasing music videos throughout 2013 on his channel giving each song its own recognition.
“[The new music] is a lot more upbeat, fun-filled with a spring and summer vibe,” Elrabi said.
Elarbi said he wanted to produce music that people would want to listen to on repeat. He is focusing on making music instead of raps.
“I think people will be very impressed with the new [music] that’s coming out,” a friend of Malik, Phil Constantino (sophomore-broadcast journalism) said.
The first music video was released yesterday and can be viewed on his Youtube channel. Elarbi said the plan is to release a new video each month in 2013. Compared to past videos, they are a higher quality than anything else he has released before, he said.
“It’s something that you wouldn’t expect a full-time college student to be able to produce,” disc jockey Casey Flynn (sophomore-division of undergraduate studies) said.
As for school, Elarbi said he works hard to keep his grades up because he realizes the importance of having a diploma and uses his music as motivation to do well. His musical inspirations, like Hoodie Allen and Mike Stud, went to college and graduated with degrees that helped them to become successful in the industry.
“Everything I learn in the classroom affects my music [career],” Elarbi said.
Even now as his Youtube channel has hit 60,000 views and his career is gaining momentum quickly, Elarbi is thankful to everyone who has helped him get to where he is today.
“Last year, I was just sitting in my dorm in East Halls and now everything is really starting to build and click,” Elarbi said.