Life is a journey down a winding path. Despite the path’s many twists, turns, detours and speed bumps, it has a unique way of keeping your passion and dreams in forefront, if you are courageous enough to pursue them. Hip Hop newcomer Li tha Great is testament to this fact. From his beginnings in Portland, to now being mentored by, and working alongside, one of the most innovative producers in music, Li tha Great has followed his path and is now living his dream.
Li’s journey begins in Portland, Oregon where he was born Alijah Tatum, to parents Kristi Danley and Demetrius Tatum. Always the entertainer, Li remembers being the star of the show, even as a young child. “I was always the kid dancing, and making a fool of himself to make other laugh and feel good,” he explains. “Whether is was Michael Jackson, Pharrell, or Charlie Wilson, I just wanted to perform for everyone.” It would be his love for making others “feel good,” and being able to relate to them through his performances that would guide the emcee’s lifelong journey to pursuing his passions within music. At age of nine Li experienced his first major detour when his family relocated to Vancouver, WA. During this time he would develop his interest in music, ultimately finding his way to the microphone. In middle school he began playing the trumpet, and joined the marching band. A musical standout, he was later invited to the jazz band. “Music was a great vehicle for me to overcome the shyness I begin to experience when we moved to Vancouver.”
While he would discover his innate love for making music, he had to overcome speed bumps of doubters. “When I’d say I want to make music, everyone thought it was a big joke,” he explains. It wasn’t until high school where Li would find his voice, and the push he needed to pursue his dream of making his own music. “I had a group of friends through high school, and we would freestyle rap any chance we could. After graduating high school, Li realized his dream of making his own music. “I took a part time job after school working at Albertson’s, and everyday I went to work and made music.” To his pleasure his music received an outstanding response, and he was encouraged to focus solely on music. Li would eventually relocate to Atlanta, but no before leaving his mark on his hometown of Portland, headlining two indie shows that was supported by his growing fan base.