Lupe Fiasco discovered Ellis after being tagged on Twitter back in May.
The power of social media cannot be understated. Back in May, Florida-based producer Kaelin Ellis posted a video making beats on lockdown at home. The tweet earned over 2,000 likes. Proud of his work, Ellis wrote “my fav one I’ve done so far. had this bass line come to me in a dream once.”
In the replies, another Twitter user tagged Lupe Fiasco in the replies. “Get this to @LupeFiasco somehow,” he wrote. Surprisingly, the Grammy-nominated MC took notice.
Within 12 hours, Lupe screen recorded the video, exported the audio to Garage Band, recorded a freestyle over it, then tweeted the finished product. “Stop leaving yall beats just laying around,” he tweeted, “it ain’t safe out here.”
Obviously stunned, Ellis replied “Lupe let’s work, this is crazy.” The rest, as they say, is history. On Wednesday, Lupe announced that he’d be dropping a five-track EP with Ellis called HOUSE. The first single, “Shoes,” features Virgil Abloh. On the track, the Off-White founder discusses hypothetically designing the shoes Ahmaud Arbery was wearing when he was murdered.
The EP’s artwork is inspired by Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus album covers. It features a painting by Peter Gellatly, father of Lupe’s friend Sky. Sky eulogizes his father in the album’s liner notes.
Kaelin Ellis has an extensive background in the electronic hip-hop scene. As an associate of producers like Sango, he’s worked with names like Michigan MC Waldo. In 2019, he produced the song “Jekyll” for K-pop supergroup EXO.