Born February 12, 1955 in Salem, Illinois and raised in Albion, Michigan. He was married to Ethiopian singer Ejigayehu Shibabaw alias Gigi.
Laswell ranks among the most prolific of musicians, being involved in hundreds of recordings with many musicians from all over the world. Laswell's music draws upon many different genres, most notably funk, various world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles. He has also played or produced music from the noisier, more aggressive end of the rock spectrum, like hardcore punk and metal.