Mike Ellison fuses traditional African music with modern hip hop, with a purpose

Jul 8, 2015

Mike Ellison says he was transformed into an artist in Detroit
Credit Chris White

Mike Ellison says while he was born in Ethiopia, he was transformed in to an artist in Detroit. You can hear that fusion of cultures in his music. A lot of it combines traditional African music with modern hip hop. He uses his music and performances to raise awareness for causes both in Ethiopia and in Detroit.

Ellison spoke with Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox about how he uses his music as an education and community outreach tool. He gave his perspective on Africa and how it helped shape his identity, and also spoke about current racial issues in the U.S.

Ellison will be performing as part of Detroit’s Concert of Colors music festival Thursday night. His latest hip hop album, called Flytanium, will be fully released this year.