Smoov E aka Eli was born Eli Rafael Meltzer in Summertown, Tennessee on September 26th 1979 to Alan and Lee Meltzer. The youngest of 4 siblings, Eli, his three sisters, mom, and dad moved to Sebastopol when he was 4 years old. It was there that he grew up on the sounds of his parents favorite records by artists such as The Talking Heads, The Police, Whitney Houston and The Pretenders. Along with his new found rap favorites such as Bay Area legends Too Short and Spice 1, Elis passion for music began to catch fire.
By the time he attended Analy High School, Eli started harassing his parents incessantly for a drum machine until his mother finally broke down and bought him one with the stipulation that he not tell his father. From then on E knew he wanted to do dedicate his life to music and spent hours locked in his room mastering the timing and rhythms of his new found calling. He has since described drum machines as his first instrument and clocked more time on them than any other musical tool. His collection of both vintage and modern drum sequencers continues to grow and has been evident in all of his work.
When he graduated high school Eli continued to pursue his musical goals and after making some connections in the local Bay Area hip hop scene he released his self-titled debut under the name Smoov E. While he has since stated that the album isnt his personal favorite, it did establish him as a presence in the underground scene and featured other prominent artists such as Andre Nickatina, X-Raided, and Young Lay.
He went on to release 5 more albums in the same fashion over the next several years including Keep Your Hand Out My Pocket (R.E.A.L. Records/2000), Confessions (R.E.A.L. Records/2001), Assueafatto (R.E.A.L. Records/2003), Long Duck Dong (R.E.A.L. Records/2005), and Sum Young Girl (R.E.A.L. Records/2006). Along the way he continued to expand his audience with each consecutive record showing more lyrical prowess, vocal presence, and musical skill than its predecessor. Not only did E develop as an artist he also forged new working relationships with other Bay Area talents during this period including Dubee aka Sugawolf, Reek Daddy, and most notably the late Mac Dre.
By 2007 Eli had released 6 full-length studio LPs and found his music straying from the synthesizers and drum machines that previously defined his sound. With Larry Dallas (R.E.A.L. Records/2007), Eli moved towards real instrumentation of his sounds playing live drums and piano on much of the album. By the time Rusty Squeezebox (R.E.A.L. Records/2008), was in production Eli had picked up playing the guitar just as both his grandfathers did before him. Es newfound skills with live instruments worked to his advantage while producing the western themed album, which meshed the sounds of classic spaghetti western scores and his own unique style of rap.
During the recording of Sum Young Girl Eli became increasingly interested in video production. After shooting a video for the song Dream Girl he decided to put out his next two albums with accompanying DVDs. These led to his next project, Simply Suggestive (R.E.A.L. Records/2009). The concept behind Simply Suggestive would be to shoot and perform 12 previously released Smoov E songs live in different settings. Doing so would not only provide him a chance to create more videos but also showcase his ever-growing talent on live instruments ranging from guitar, piano, vintage synthesizers, banjos, turntables, and even a typewriter. A twelve track audio CD version was made available as well.
In 2009 Eli released Mr. Biscuits (R.E.A.L. Records/2009), a compilation of B-sides and new tracks heavily laden with vintage synthesizers and drum machines. The album finally provided E with a chance to work with two of his long time favorites Too Short and Brotha Lynch Hung. Following Mr. Biscuits came El Joy Del Sexo (R.E.A.L. Records/2010). The Latin themed record combined elements of live instruments and hand percussion with Giorgio Moroder-like synthesizers and drum sequencers.
If theres one constant that has remained through the last 10 years of Elis diverse career its his racy lyrics paired with a passion for indulgence and infidelity. All of which shine through brilliantly in his work as well as put him on police watch lists and parental radars alike. His live shows are characterized by sensual dance moves and an intense stage presence that was born out of a disdain for the typical rap concert. His view on life can be seen as a rejection of normality and mediocrity in a world that offers so much more to those with the gumption to take it. This is a man that wears sleeveless mesh shirts to five star restaurants and dress shoes when relaxing at home. Eli is a true eccentric in both his art and his life.
As of 2010 Eli has signed with I-Khan Distrubution headed by his friend and mentor Andre Nickatina. In order to represent yet another new direction in his illustrious career he has dropped the moniker Smoov E and is now known simply as Eli. Hes currently putting the rapping aside and focusing his efforts on singing and songwriting. All the elements of Smoov E that define his persona and style are still there, just in a different package. With songs like Cocaine Girls and Dick Like Mine, its plain to see the old Smoov E of dirty raps isnt gonehes just become, as Nickatina put it, The New Face Of Rock & Roll.