He belonged to the Bani Amir, a division of the tribe of the Hawazin. In his younger years he was an active warrior, and his verse is largely concerned with inter-tribal disputes. Later, he was sent by a sick uncle to get a remedy from Muhammad at Medina and on this occasion was much influenced by a part of the Koran. He accepted Islam soon after, but seems then to have ceased writing. In Umar's caliphate he is said to have settled in Kufa. Tradition ascribes to him a long life, but dates given are uncertain and contradictory. One of his poems is contained in the Mu'allaqat.
His muruwwa (virtue) is highlighted in the story that he vowed to feed people whenever the east wind began to blow, and to continue so doing until it stopped. Al-Walid 'Uqba, leader of the Kuffa, sent him one hundred camels to enable him to keep his vow.
In an elegy composed for Nu'mh Mundhii, Labid wrote: