Biblically, the number seven represents completion. For Se7en Eli (pronounced EL-E), the number has popped up repeatedly – his apartment number growing up, his high school football jersey number, and a symbol for the positive light he’s looking to bring to music. Born in Washington D.C raised in MD, Se7en has begun to make his own mark on the underground hip hop scene. Inspired by Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and his personal favorite – Schoolboy Q, Se7en says, “I like intelligence on the track -- even if that’s your only way of showing it.” He also likes Jay Electronica (“Lyrically, he’s like crazy”) and Dom Kennedy and Chance the Rapper (“I try to follow some of the independent artist movements”). 
    Se7en Eli began his career in a rap collective known as Bunkeridge but as time went on, the group members branched out in different directions. Now a solo artist, he says it’s his content that sets him apart. “It’s conscious rap, but it’s also still very hip and current,” he adds. Through his lyrics, Se7en looks to inspire young men to do something positive – beyond music. Se7en Eli’s new project, Progress Report, was released on Jan 7th and has garnered over 1500 streams and downloads across all major music platforms. He says the content will attract more seasoned listeners, and its hip flair will draw in the younger crowd. “The whole project is basically my view of the world,” he says. The lead single, “Tango” is carefree and catchy, seamlessly blending traditional Latin music with go-go.  
    Now gaining traction with his following, Se7en is focused on the marketing and branding aspects of his artistry. “I’m understanding now the importance of numbers,” he says. “Your following dictates what types of conversations you can have with people and what you can leverage.” Team in place and ready for the next level, Se7en Eli is gearing up for major moves. Notably, he recently moved to the West Coast to advance his business endeavors. Poised for change, Se7en wants to continue his community service efforts (such as the PB&J Fest and DC Public School donation drive he hosted in the District of Columbia a few weeks ago). A long-time advocate for youth, Se7en has started a non-profit organization (BR Foundation Corp.) that tutors and empowers students by helping them balance what they like to do -- merging arts and athletics -- with their academics.

Written by Mercia Williams-Murray DCTOP20